2023 World Baseball Classic Pool D Odds, Teams and Predictions

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

March 8, 2023 07:41 PM

Pool D features Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Israel and Nicaragua

This pool is stacked. Israel and Nicaragua will play a championship game against each other to see which team goes 1-3 and which team goes 0-4. Being in a pool with Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic is just unfair. These games will be played in Miami, so there will be a home-field element for Puerto Rico, but this is going to be some thrilling baseball.

Odds are posted for Group Play and also the overall tournament winner at DraftKings Sportsbook, so let’s look at those and also some info on the teams.


Odds to Win Pool D

Dominican Republic -300

Venezuela +350

Puerto Rico +450

Israel +6500

Nicaragua +10000

Team Dominican Republic Roster

The Dominicans, who beat two-time runner-up Puerto Rico in 2013 for the title, have maybe the best lineup I’ve ever seen. There are superstars all over this roster and that is why the Dominicans are the overall tournament favorites, even being in the toughest group to advance from. On the infield, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Manny Machado, Rafael Devers, Wander Franco and Jeremy Pena are just some of the star-studded names on the roster. The outfielders? Reigning AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodriguez, Eloy Jimenez, perennial MVP candidate Juan Soto and Teoscar Hernandez.

The pitching staff is also loaded with filth, led by reigning NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara. Other starters include Johnny Cueto and Cristian Javier, with relievers like Rafael Montero, Gregory Soto, Diego Castillo, Camilo Doval and a bunch of other high-leverage MLB arms.

As another fun fact, Nelson Cruz is serving as player/general manager.

Team Venezuela Roster

Like the Dominican team, the Venezuelans are loaded with MLB talent. Venezuela has always produced quality big leaguers, but it seems like the country has done a really good job in recent years, as guys like Andres Gimenez and Luis Arraez will be anchors on the infield alongside Jose Altuve and Eugenio Suarez. The problem on the infield for Venezuela is that there aren’t enough spots to fit everybody.

The starting outfielders look to be Ronald Acuna Jr., Anthony Santander and David Peralta, though Eduardo Escobar and Luis Rengifo can play OF. The Venezuelans also have three veteran catchers in Salvador Perez, Omar Narvaez and Robinson Chirinos to backstop a pitching staff loaded with upside. Luis Garcia and Pablo Lopez look to be rotation anchors, but the roster also included Martin Perez, Eduardo Rodriguez and Jesus Luzardo. The bullpen is the only place that looks a little suspect for this squad, but there are a lot of starters and swingmen that can go multiple innings.

Team Puerto Rico Roster

The reigning two-time runners-up don’t have quite as strong of a roster as the Dominicans and Venezuelans. It doesn’t help that Carlos Correa opted out of the WBC because his wife is due to give birth soon. It also doesn’t help that Javier Baez is coming off of an atrocious season. What does help is that Francisco Lindor is back to lead the team and this is one of the best catcher groups in the tournament with Christian Vazquez, Martin Maldonado and MJ Melendez.

Lindor and Baez will make a fun defensive duo, but the infielders are light on proven hitting talent beyond Lindor. Kike Hernandez is likely to play in the outfield, where the Puerto Ricans are a little thin beyond Eddie Rosario. Fortunately, this is a strong pitching staff. Marcus Stroman, whose mother is Puerto Rican, goes from being the WBC MVP with Team USA in the 2017 championship year to being on this roster. The strength of this team is the bullpen with Edwin Diaz, Jorge Lopez, Emilio Pagan and other proven relievers. It’s just a matter of how many leads they have to protect.

Team Israel Roster

The magical run from Israel in the 2017 WBC was one of the most impressive things we’ve seen in international baseball. They beat South Korea, Taiwan, Netherlands and Cuba before getting eliminated two games later. There are a smattering of current MLBers on the roster, including Joc Pederson, Dean Kremer and Robert Stock. 

The Israelis also have several prospects on the team, including Oakland’s Zach Gelof and the Cubs’ Matt Mervis. Jacob Steinmetz and Josh Wolf are notable names to watch on the pitching side.

Team Nicaragua Roster

Nicaragua lost 4-1 to Brazil, but then beat Pakistan, Argentina and avenged the loss to Brazil to qualify for this year’s tournament. The draw is obviously brutal and they are a long shot to win a game, but Jonathan Loaisiga and Erasmo Ramirez are the leaders on the pitching staff side. There have only been 15 Major Leaguers from Nicaragua. Cheslor Cuthbert hasn’t played in MLB since 2020, but he’s the most notable position player on the roster.

Nicaragua, Great Britain and Czech Republic are the first-time teams in the tournament.

World Baseball Classic Pool D Prediction

I hate to be boring and take chalk in what looks like a thrilling pool, but the Dominican Republic gets a huge scheduling advantage here. They open against Venezuela on Mar. 11 and then play Puerto Rico on Mar. 15. That means their games in between are against Nicaragua and Israel. Their best pitchers should be fresh for the game against Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, Venezuela opens with the Dominican Republic and then faces Puerto Rico the next day. Keep in mind, these games are highly emotional. International baseball is way different than the subdued, mechanical nature of MLB.

With that scheduling advantage, I like the Dominican Republic at -300 to win the pool.

How to Watch the World Baseball Classic

All games streamed on Fox Sports App. All games will be televised on either Fox, FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes or Tubi.

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