One team has stood out in the World Baseball Classic since 2006. That team would be two time champion Japan. The Japanese national team is a fantastic team. They have always been. Of course, in the past they have had Ichiro Suzuki, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Yu Darvish. This year, of course, they have none of those guys. In fact, they have no Major League players on their team. So far, that hasn’t mattered. Obviously it is still early on, but they’re already looking like strong contenders. I wrote about their chances to three-peat, but I wasn’t sure how that would pan out once the World Baseball Classic started. So far, they have started just about as good as any team would like. So far, they’ve beaten a really tough Brazil team, and they beat China.
Right now, Japan is looking at a 2-0 start to the World Baseball Classic and are looking like a really good team. Japan does have former major leaguer Kazuo Matsui, but without any active major league players on their roster, some believe Japan will fall short in its attempt at a three-peat. I don’t believe they will fall short. I think they could go all the way and take the World Baseball Classic championship for the third time in as many years.
One of Japan’s biggest competitors are in the same pool and that is Cuba. The Cubans put a a nice beat down on China and are also looking like strong favorites early on. Knowing how Japan is, they’ll be bringing a lot of intensity in the games they play in this tournament. As long as their pitchers keep performing, and the batters back them up, Japan will be able to a go long way in this tournament. Early on, Japan sure is looking like contenders. I am interested in seeing how Japan will continue to play.