Netherlands is the only worthy team in this Pool. They have 3 of the best defensive shortstops in the MLB headlining the team in Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons, and Xander Bogaerts. Jonathon Schoop and Jurickson Profar will take the back end of the double play at 2nd base. And, not to mention, arguably the best closer in the game in Kenley Jansen. Of the last 3 World Baseball Classics Netherlands has improved every time. In 2013 they made it to the semi-finals. This team includes a lot of players from the Caribbean Sea where more and more major league scouts have fled to for talent over the years.
Predictions: Netherlands (3-0), Israel (2-1), Korea (1-2), Chinese Taipei (0-3)
Japan and Cuba should easily be the 2 teams coming out of this pool. Japan’s team consists of all NPO players except Nori Aoki, however, as seen is recent years, the talent level of NPO players is so high that it is attracting MLB teams to scout over in Japan more often. But, other than Japan, Cuba is also crawling with major league scouts year round as Cuba may be the most exciting team to watch during the Classic, as they poses power on both the pitching side and hitting side.
Predictions: Japan (2-1), Cuba (2-1), Australia (1-2), China (1-2)
Possibly the most competitive Pool of them all. Other than the star studded USA squad, the Dominican Republic is just as stacked. However, Columbia and Canada may shock the world and take one of those 2 spots out of the Pool. Canada consists of a few top prospects like Josh Naylor and Tyler O’Neill, and a couple former big league stars like Ryan Dempster and Eric Gagne. But, the matchup that everyone will be longing to see between Columbia and Canada is Freddie Freeman vs Jose Quintana.
Predictions: USA (2-1), Columbia (2-1), Dominican Republic (1-2), Canada (1-2)
This racially diverse Pool futures some delicious talent. The two youngest, yet most talented players in this Pool are possibly on the Mexican squad in Julio Urias and Alex Verdugo. Italy has some spicy talent in the names of Gavin Cecchini, Francisco Cervelli and switch-pitcher Pat Venditte. But, as far as golden defense goes, Puerto Rico is incredible. Imagine Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa and Yadier Molina in the same infield. What about Jose Altuve, Alcides Escobar, Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera in the 1, 2, 3, and 4 spots in a Venezuelan lineup?
Predictions: Venezuela (3-0), Puerto Rico (2-1), Italy (1-2), Mexico (0-3)
Predictions: Netherlands (2-1), Cuba (2-1), Japan (1-2), Israel (1-2)
Predictions: USA (3-0), Venezuela (1-2), Puerto Rico (1-2), Columbia (1-2)
Prediction: USA defeats Cuba
Prediction: Venezuela defeats Netherlands
Venezuela defeats USA