If it weren’t for a couple of stars under-performing, USA would’ve cruised to the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
But those players didn’t live up to expectations and the United States was nearly eliminated from contention—which would’ve forced them to play in the qualifying round at the next WBC.
Thankfully, players like David Wright—who went 5-for-11 with four runs and five RBI in three games—stepped up when his team and country needed him, leading USA to victory against Canada on Sunday. Things won’t get much easier as the second round of competition is bound to be more competitive.
USA will be playing in the Miami, Florida bracket with Italy, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. In order to advance to the semifinals, USA will need more help that some players provided over the last week. If that happens, there’s no reason why the United States can’t go all the way to win its first WBC.
But for that to happen, here are the players that need to play considerably better going forward.