Breaking News

World Baseball Classic format, explained: How pool play, standings will work at 2023 WBC

With a bigger field than ever, the 2023 World Baseball Classic promises to bring some of the most exciting baseball the international event has to offer.

For the first time, pool play is going to be four groups of five rather than four groups of four, raising the number of teams to 20 from 16. The three favorites: The United States, the Dominican Republic, and Japan, are all in different pools as well, meaning we could end up seeing an utterly stacked semifinal round.

However, to get there won’t be a cakewalk. They must first take one of the first two seed in pools and then win a quarterfinal round. With all of the talent playing in this year’s World Baseball Classic, there are numerous obstacles on the way to Miami.

Here’s how the World Baseball Classic will work in 2023, as it’s a bit different than previous years.

MORE: World Baseball Classic schedule 2023: Dates, times, channels for every game

World Baseball Classic 2023 format


16 teams automatically qualified for this year’s World Baseball Classic, and four got in through qualifiers. Those four are Nicaragua, Panama, Great Britain, and the Czech Republic.

Qualifiers took place in September 2022, and all 16 teams who participated in 2017 automatically qualified. Qualifiers were played in two pools: Pool A in Germany and Pool B in Panama. The top two teams from each pool got in after surviving double elimination.


Pools will begin March 8 in Chinese Taipei and conclude March 15, which will also mark the first day of quarterfinal play.

In pools, teams will each play four games round-robin style. The top two nations from each pool will go on to quarterfinals. Pools are being played in Chinese Taipei, Japan, and the United States.

Pool tiebreakers

Because each team plays each other once, ties in the standings will simply go to the winner of the head-to-head matchup. There will be no tiebreaker games or questions of runs per game. However, if three teams end up tied, the following criteria are followed:

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


This is where things are changing. Instead of pools resulting in Pools E & F being formed, the quarterfinals will kick off a tournament-style bracket.

In the quarterfinals, which will be played in Tokyo and Miami, the first seed from Pool A will play the second seed of Pool B, the first seed of Pool B will play the second seed of Pool A, the first seed of Pool C will play the second seed of Pool D, and the second seed of Pool C will play the first seed of Pool D (in variable terms: A1 vs. B2, B1 vs. A2, C1 vs. D2, and D1 vs. C2). Pools A & B will play in Tokyo, and Pools C & D will play in Miami.


From here, the tournament will move to Miami’s LoanDepot Park for good. In the semifinals, the winners of quarterfinal Game 1 and quarterfinal Game 3 will play, and the winners of quarterfinal Game 2 and quarterfinal Game 4 will play.

Game 1 is A1 vs. B2 and Game 3 is D1 vs. C3. That will be the first semifinal. Inversely, the second will be Game 2, or B1 vs. A2, vs. Game 4, or C1 vs. D2.


The finals, also played in Miami, will be the winners of the semifinals.

List of World Baseball Classic pools for 2023

The initial games of the World Baseball Classic are broken into four five-team pools. They’re as follows:

Pool A — Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium (Taichung, Chinese Taipei)

  • Chinese Taipei
  • Netherlands
  • Cuba
  • Italy
  • Panama

Pool B — Tokyo Dome (Tokyo, Japan)

  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Australia
  • China
  • Czech Republic

Pool C — Chase Field (Phoenix, Arizona)

  • USA
  • Mexico
  • Colombia
  • Canada
  • Great Britain

Pool D — LoanDepot Park (Miami, Florida)

  • Puerto Rico
  • Dominican Republic
  • Venezuela
  • Israel
  • Nicaragua

World Baseball Classic 2023 bracket

Here’s a look at the full bracket:


World Baseball Classic 2023 standings

This section will be updated once games begin. 

World Baseball Classic 2023 schedule

Here’s the full list of WBC games in 2023.

Pool A (Chinese Taipei)

Date Time Matchup Channel
March 7 11 p.m. Cuba vs. Netherlands FS1
March 8 6 a.m. Panama vs. Chinese Taipei FS2
March 8 11 p.m.  Panama vs. Netherlands FS2
March 9 6 a.m. Italy vs. Cuba Tubi
March 9 11:30 p.m. Cuba vs. Panama FS1
March 10 6 a.m. Italy vs. Chinese Taipei Tubi
March 10 11 p.m. Panama vs. Italy FS1
March 11 6 a.m. Netherlands vs. Chinese Taipei FS2
March 11 11 p.m. Chinese Taipei vs. Cuba FS2
March 12 7 a.m. Netherlands vs. Italy FS2

Pool B (Tokyo)

Date Time Matchup Channel
March 8 10 p.m. Australia vs. South Korea FS1
March 9 5 a.m. China vs. Japan FS2
March 9 10 p.m. Czech Republic vs. China Tubi
March 10 5 a.m. Korea vs. Japan FS2
March 10 10 p.m. China vs. Australia FS2
March 11 5 a.m. Czech Republic vs. Japan FS1
March 11 10 p.m. Czech Republic vs. Korea FS1
March 12 6 a.m. Japan vs. Australia FS1
March 12 11 p.m. Australia vs. Czech Republic FS2
March 13 6 a.m. Korea vs. China FS2

Pool C (Phoenix)

Date Time Matchup Channel
March 11 2:30 p.m. Colombia vs. Mexico Fox
March 11 10 p.m. Great Britain vs. USA Fox
March 12 3 p.m. Great Britain vs. Canada FS1
March 12 10 p.m. Mexico vs. USA FS1
March 13 3 p.m. Colombia vs. Great Britain FS2
March 13 10 p.m. Canada vs. USA FS1
March 14 3 p.m. Canada vs. Colombia FS2
March 14 10 p.m. Great Britain vs. Mexico FS1
March 15 3 p.m. Mexico vs. Canada FS2
March 15 10 p.m. USA vs. Colombia FS1

Pool D (Miami)

Date Time Matchup Channel
March 11 12 p.m. Nicaragua vs. Puerto Rico FS2
March 11 7 p.m. Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela FS1
March 12 12 p.m. Nicaragua vs. Israel FS2
March 12 7 p.m. Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico FS1
March 13 12 p.m. Dominican Republic vs. Nicaragua FS2
March 13 7 p.m. Israel vs. Puerto Rico FS1
March 14 12 p.m. Nicaragua vs. Venezuela FS2
March 14 7 p.m. Israel vs. Dominican Republic FS2
March 15 12 p.m. Venezuela vs. Israel FS2
March 15 7 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic FS2

MORE: 2023 World Baseball Classic: 10 pitcher-hitter matchups we can’t wait to see


Date Time Site Matchup Channel
March 15 6 a.m. Tokyo  Pool B runner-up vs. Pool A winner FS2
March 16 6 a.m. Tokyo  Pool A runner-up vs. Pool B winner FS2
March 17 7 p.m. Miami Pool C runner-up vs. Pool D winner FS1
March 18 7 p.m. Miami Pool D runner-up vs. Pool C winner Fox


Date Time Venue Matchup Channel
March 19 7 p.m. Miami Quarterfinal 1 winner vs. Quarterfinal 3 winner FS1
March 20 7 p.m. Miami Quarterfinal 2 winner vs. Quarterfinal 4 winner FS1


Date Time Venue Matchup Channel
March 21 7 p.m. Miami Semifinal 1 winner vs. Semifinal 2 winner FS1


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *