With the 2013 World Baseball Classic right around the corner, it is a good time to look at some of the top baseball countries from around the globe. Not all of these nations' stars will be participating in the big event, but a number of the favorites are sending some of their best talents.
There are a number of countries that are known for producing big MLB stars. This ranking will look at current players in the MLB and the nations that they are from. The countries are not ranked in any particular order.
Top Hitters: Mike Trout, Buster Posey, Ryan Braun
Top Pitchers: R.A. Dickey, David Price, Justin Verlander
It should come as no surprise that there are a number of talented baseball players from the the United States. The game is known as America's pastime, and the MLB is based mostly in the U.S.
A number of the game's biggest stars are from the States, and in the past year, both Rookie of the Year winners, Cy Young winners and the National League MVP were Americans.
Top Hitters: Albert Pujols, Edwin Encarnacion, Robinson Cano
Top Pitchers: Ivan Nova, Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto
One of the countries with the largest number of players in the MLB outside of the United States is the Dominican Republic. The country may only have around 10 million people, but they are still baseball crazy.
Some very impressive names pop off the list of major league players from the Dominican Republic, including some of the game's best power hitters.
Top Hitters: Miguel Cabrera, Jose Altuve, Elvis Andrus
Top Pitchers: Felix Hernandez, Anibal Sanchez, Johan Santana
It can certainly be argued that Miguel Cabrera was the best player in baseball in 2012. His Triple Crown season was very impressive, and he was deserving of all the praise that he received.
In addition to the top-flight hitters from Venezuela, the nation could also put together an incredibly impressive starting rotation.
Top Hitters: Joey Votto, Justin Morneau, Brett Lawrie
Top Pitchers: Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, John Axford
Even though the weather is cold in Canada, that has not prevented the country from producing a number of talented baseball players over the years.
Among the elite MLB players from the Great White North are two very talented first basemen who have both won the MVP award in their respective leagues.
Top Hitters: Yoenis Cespedes, Yonder Alonso, Alexi Gonzalez
Top Pitchers: Aroldis Chapman, Livan Hernandez, Jose Contreras
While there are a number of talented players in Cuba, many of them never reach the MLB because of their difficulty coming to the United States. However, the ones who do have blossomed into stars.
In addition to the Cuban players who are currently in the league, both Jorge Soler and Yasiel Puig are top young talents in the minor leagues.
Top Hitters: Ichiro Suzuki, Norichika Aoki
Top Pitchers: Yu Darvish, Hiroki Kuroda, Daisuke Matsuzaka
As the only team to win the World Baseball Classic, it is not surprising that Japan has a number of talented players in the MLB. They also have a number of very good players in the NPB, the nation's own league.
A number of Japanese players have been able to have a major impact on the major leagues over the past few years. Ichiro is likely the biggest name that has come to the MLB, and he could be a Hall of Famer.
Top Pitchers: Yovani Gallardo, Jaime Garcia, Joakim Soria
While soccer (or futbol) may be the most popular sport in Mexico, there are still a number of people in the country who chose to play baseball.
A few of those players have reached the upper echelon of the MLB. The number of Mexicans in the MLB might not be large, but there are certainly a few impact players.