World Baseball Classic WBC 2023 format, rules, teams, matches list, prize money pool

World Baseball Classic WBC 2023 format, rules, teams, matches list, prize money pool

The 2023 World Baseball Classic makes a return this year since the last edition in 2017 after the 2021 WBC got postponed due to the pandemic, check out the format, full schedule, dates, rules, and more

This year, the WBC will take place across four locations from March 8-21, while the final Championship Game will take place on March 21 at the loanDepot Park, home of the Miami Marlins.

World Baseball Classic WBC 2023 format, rules, teams, matches list and prize money pool

The WBC serves as a platform to showcase the world’s top baseball talents in a best-on-best tournament. It is part of the MLB’s efforts to grow the much-loved game on a global scale.

World Baseball Classic 2023

Japan won the inaugural WBC held back in 2006 and then the next WBC in 2009. They are currently the only nation to have own twice. Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic won the 2013 WBC, while the United States won the 2017 WBC. Japan have the best record having never finished lower than third place in all the four previous WBCs.

2023 World Baseball Classic WBC format and tiebreakers

The 2023 World Baseball Classic WBC format will begin with the pool play round, where each team will play against the other four teams in their pool once each. The two teams with the best records will advance to the Quarterfinal Round. The WBC will not feature any tiebreaker games.

Teams that won the head-to-head game will advance if a tie arises. Meanwhile, the WBC will rank teams using these tiebreaker criteria in ties between three or more teams:

  • Lowest quotient of fewest runs allowed divided by the number of defensive outs recorded in games between the tied teams
  • Lowest quotient of fewest earned runs allowed divided by the number of defensive outs recorded in games between the tied teams
  • Highest batting average in games in that round between the tied teams

If the teams are still tied, Organizers will draw lots.

This year, with the expansion to 20 teams, the tournament will feature a relegation system. The four last-placed teams in each pool in the Pool Play round will get relegated. Relegated teams have to play in a qualifier tournament to play in the next WBC. On the other hand, the top four teams in each pool will receive automatic spots for the next WBC.

This means that teams still have to play well in the remaining pool play games even if they cannot advance to the Quarterfinal Round. Following the pool play round, two teams (Eight teams in total) from each pool will advance. The remaining two rounds will be a single-elimination eight-team bracket.

As per the WBC 2023 format, each team will get to play at least four games. The last two finalists will each get to play seven games. In total, the WBC will feature 47 games.

2023 World Baseball Classic WBC full schedule

The WBC 2023 will feature three rounds: the Pool Play, the Quarterfinal Round, and the Championship Round.

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Given below is the full schedule of the Pool Play round and the four pools:

Pool A  Pool B  Pool C Pool D
Dates March 8-13 March 9-13 March 11-15 March 11-15
Location Taichung, Taiwan Tokyo, Japan Phoenix, Arizona Miami, Florida
Teams Chinese Taipei Australia Canada Dominican Republic
  Cuba China Colombia Israel
  Italy Japan Mexico Puerto Rico
  Netherlands Korea USA Venezuela
  Panama Czech Republic Great Britain Nicaragua

Here is the WBC 2023 Quarterfinal Round and Championship Round schedule:

WBC 2023 Quarterfinal Round

Game Location Date Teams
Quarterfinal 1 Tokyo March 15 Pool B runner-up vs. Pool A winner
Quarterfinal 2 Tokyo March 15 Pool A runner-up vs. Pool B winner
Quarterfinal 3 Miami March 17 Pool C runner-up vs. Pool D winner
Quarterfinal 4 Miami March 18 Pool D runner-up vs. Pool C winner

WBC 2O23 Championship Round

Game Location Date Teams
Semifinal 1 Miami March 19 Quarterfinal 1 winner vs. Quarterfinal 3 winner
Semifinal 2 Miami March 20 Quarterfinal 2 winner vs. Quarterfinal 4 winner
Championship Game Miami March 21 Semifinal 1 winner vs. Semifinal 2 winner

Rosters and eligibility

All the teams announced their official WBC rosters back in February 9. Each team will have a 30-man roster, and feature a minimum of 14 pitchers and 2 catchers.

Players need to fulfill certain criteria to be eligible to play for WBC teams. These criteria can also extend beyond citizenship. Given below is the criteria for a player to play in a WBC team:

  • Was born in the country, holds citizenship, or has a permanent residence in the country
  • Has documentation showing he is eligible for citizenship in the country if he applied
  • Has at least one parent who was born in the country or holds citizenship
  • Previously represented the country in the WBC

MLB teams cannot have more than 15 players selected to the WBC. Teams also cannot have over 10 players on their active roster or injured list last August 31, without club approval. This year, the Angels are sending an MLB-high of 19 players to the WBC, while the Rangers are sending the fewest with just three players. MLB teams also have the power to block players from the WBC under certain injury conditions.

Each WBC team can make roster substitutions following injuries, paternity leave, etc. Every team has an Available Player List of approved extra players from where they can replace injured players. Only players replaced for paternity or bereavement leave can rejoin their WBC teams in the tournament, the rest cannot return.

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Moreover, each WBC team has a special Designated Pitcher Pool with a maximum 10 pitchers who can join the roster. Two pitchers can join after each round for any reason, but pitchers who are dropped cannot rejoin later on.

Pitcher usage limits

Since the WBC takes place in the middle of spring training, there are heavy concerns about pitchers usage. As such, the WBC has included various strict rules on pitcher usage given below:

  • Maximum 65 pitches per game during Pool Play
  • Maximum 80 pitches per game during the Quarterfinal Round
  • Maximum 95 pitches per game during the Championship Round
  • Minimum four days of rest after a 50-pitch outing
  • Minimum one day of rest after a 30-pitch outing
  • No pitching back-to-back-to-back days at any point

Pitchers have a long history of getting hurt during the WBC and players also get hurt in spring training too. As such, the WBC have decided to enforce strict rules to protect pitchers.

WBC 2023 Rules

Apart from pitcher usage limits, the WBC largely mirrors MLB’s rules. The major rules for the WBC are the three-batter minimum, the universal DH, an automatic runner at second base in extra innings, and replay review.

As for the replay review, each team receives one challenge each, per game, during the Pool Play and Quarterfinal Rounds. Meanwhile, teams will get two challenges per game during the Championship Round.

However, there are two key differences between the WBC and MLB’s rules this year:

  • The WBC will not enforce the MLB’s new rules that add a pitch clock, a ban on extreme infield shifts, and larger bases.
  • There will be a mercy rule during the Pool Play round. The umpires can end the game if teams are leading with 10 or more runs after the seventh inning, or 15 or more runs after the fifth inning.

MVP and All-WBC Team

Following the final Championship Game, the organizers will  select a WBC MVP and an All-WBC Team. So far, Japan’s Daisuke Matsuzaka is the only player to have won it twice, having won the WBC MVP in 2006 and 2009. Robinson Canó of the Dominican Republic won WBC MVP in 2013, and USA’s Marcus Stroman won WBC MVP in 2017.

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Given below is the 2017 All-WBC Team:

Filed positions Player Country
Catcher Yadier Molina Puerto Rico
First base Eric Hosmer USA
Second base Javier Báez Puerto Rico
Shortstop Francisco Lindor Puerto Rico
Third base Carlos Correa Puerto Rico
Outfield Carlos Beltrán Puerto Rico
Wladimir Balentien Netherlands
Christian Yelich USA
Pitcher Kodai Senga Japan
Marcus Stroman USA
Josh Zeid Israel

Up until now, Japan’s Matsuzaka (2006 and 2009) and Puerto Rico’s Molina (2013 and 2017) are the only players to feature in multiple All-WBC Teams. Moreover, Japan and Puerto Rico are also the all-time leaders with nine All-WBC Team selections each.

WBC 2023 Prize pool

The WBC 2023 offers a mouthwatering prize pool, where more wins equal more money. The total prize pool for this year is $14.4 million and teams will split 50/50 between players and their federations.

Given below is a breakdown of the prize pool:

Rounds Prize No. of Teams Total
Qualify for WBC $300,000 20 $6 million
Pool winner $300,000 4 $1.2 million
Quarterfinalist $400,000 8 $3.2 million
Semifinalist $500,000 4 $2 million
Championship Game $500,000 2 $1 million
Championship Game winner $1 million 1 $1 million

Each team already gets $300,000 for just qualifying and the WBC champion can win a total of $3 million. While half of it goes to the federation, the other half gets split among the players. Each player in a 30-man roster has the potential to receive $50,000.

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