Entering the 2023 World Baseball Classic, the Dominican Republic might feature the greatest roster ever assembled in tournament history. From top to bottom, it is difficult to find a team as loaded with superstar talent as the Dominicans entering this year's iteration of the WBC.
However, the hype train is based solely on the roster's look on paper. One of the most exciting things about baseball is its unpredictability. Even though the Dominicans may look invincible heading into the tournament, any team can win one game on a given night, which is why the World Baseball Classic is so compelling.
"Joey Bats! The World Baseball Classic is gonna be electric," Talkin' Baseball tweeted.
While the Dominican Republic enters as one of the favorites to win it all, several other countries will field rosters as strong or stronger. The United States, Puerto Rico and Japan have legitimate shots to take the fifth-ever World Baseball Classic Gold Medal.
Depending on which site you look at, the United States has the best odds of defending its 2017 WBC title. Some of the MLB's biggest stars have committed to the USA for the tournament, including Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Clayton Kershaw.
"Mike Trout: Anything short of WBC title would be 'a failure' for Team USA," LA Angels Baseball News tweeted.
Here is a deeper look into the strengths and weaknesses of the Dominican roster to determine how they can succeed and what may hold them back from the gold medal.
Strengths of the Dominican Republic's WBC roster entering the tournament
During the 2023 WBC, the Dominican Republic will field arguably one of the greatest baseball teams ever assembled. The team will feature some of the best hitters in the MLB, including Jose Ramirez, Juan Soto, Manny Machado and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. They will also have an incredible advantage over other teams with the electric Julio Rodriguez projected to bat ninth.
"The Dominican Republic @WBCBaseball rotation could be headlined by Cy Young winner @sandyalcantar22, Luis Castillo, and Framber Valdez. Rodney Linares spoke with me about the keys to managing such a talented staff," baseball insider Jon Morosi tweeted.
While the Dominican batting lineup may draw the majority of the attention heading into the tournament, their pitching rotation may be equally as imposing. The rotation could feature the likes of Sandy Alcantara, Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and Luis Castillo.
Weaknesses of the squad heading into the WBC
Upon researching the roster, there is one glaring weakness for the Dominicans. However, in comparison to other countries, it isn't even that bad. The weakest part of the roster is the catcher position, with Gary Sanchez and Francisco Mejia poised to call games.
Aside from the United States, who will roster J.T. Realmuto and Will Smith, the combination of Sanchez and Mejia might be one of the best duos in the tournament. However, in comparison to the rest of the team, the catcher position is noticeably weaker than the rest of the Dominican Republic's roster.