World Baseball Classic 2013: Teams We're Most Excited to Watch in Tournament

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2013

LOS ANGELES - MARCH 22: Jimmy Rollins #1 of the United States smiles as he walks off the field during the semifinal game of the 2009 World Baseball Classic against Japan on March 22, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Regardless of your feelings on the World Baseball Classic, it provides fans a chance to see the biggest stars in baseball playing competitively a month earlier than usual.

This year's tournament proves that the event keeps getting better as the rosters continue to be full of elite major league talent.

Of course, not every squad will be a main attraction. Squads like Brazil and Spain might be great at soccer, but they are likely to have an early exit in the WBC.

However, these are the teams that will be a thrill to watch over the course of the championship.



When this event first started, Venezuela provided a terrifying pitching staff that included Johan Santana and Carlos Zambrano in their prime.

While Felix Hernandez still holds down that part of the roster, the infield is the real strength of this team.

Miguel Cabrera is coming off an incredible season where he won the A.L. MVP and Triple Crown, proving that he is the best pure hitter in baseball. He will have plenty of support in the lineup from Pablo Sandoval at the other corner infield position.

In addition, Venezuela will have two of the most exciting defensive players in the sport in Asdrubal Cabrera and Elvis Andrus. 

If this is not enough, Carlos Gonzalez anchors the outfield as one of the most underrated players in the majors. He does a little bit of everything well, and he will be a big reason part of the team's success this year.


United States

Although the pitching staff is missing a few big names like Justin Verlander, the country's depth is shown on this year's team.

Gio Gonzalez accepted a late invite for the team, and he will join Ryan Vogelsong and N.L. Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.

Hitters are rarely completely ready to hit in March. It will be almost impossible for them to try to hit the dancing knuckleballs that Dickey throws.

On offense, the Americans have some big hitters in David Wright, Mark Teixeira, Ryan Braun, Adam Jones and Giancarlo Stanton.

Amazingly, the defense is even better. Adding in Joe Mauer, Brandon Phillips, Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, the roster has Gold Glove winners at almost every position on the field.

Hopefully, this team will be able to host the championship round in San Francisco according to plan.



Unlike many other teams in the classic, Japan's roster is not filled with major league players. Although it will not give fans a chance to see the players on their favorite teams, it could allow them to see the future of the sport.

The club has won each of the previous two World Baseball Classics in 2006 and 2009, proving that not every great player is in the majors.

Daisuke Matsuzaka was dominant in each of these tournaments, earning him quite a bit of money when he eventually came over to the Boston Red Sox.

Unfortunately, the country's biggest stars like Ichiro Suzuki and Yu Darvish will not participate, but it will leave room for the next generation of players to shine.

Pay attention, because these stars could end up playing in America very soon.