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2023 World Baseball Classic: Positive & Negative Impacts (Fantasy Baseball)

by Matthew Buss
Mar 5, 2023
World Baseball Classic

For the first time since 2017, the World Baseball Classic is back. This long layoff, caused by the cancelation of the 2021 WBC, has invigorated global baseball fans and sparked the most hype since the tournament’s inception in 2006. The increased fanfare also comes from the addition of extra participating teams, raising the previous total from 16 to 20 for 2023. While fans eagerly await the first pitch between Cuba and the Netherlands on March 7th, there are several things to consider about the positive and negative impacts of the World Baseball Classic.

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Positive & Negative Impacts of the 2023 World Baseball Classic

Positive: Competitive Baseball Earlier Than Usual

One of the more considerable positives of having the World Baseball Classic in March is that fans get competitive baseball earlier than usual. Spring Training can sometimes be enjoyable to watch, but nothing beats a playoff atmosphere, something the WBC has proven it can deliver. While fans love any opportunity to watch meaningful baseball, the players also have reasons to get excited. There are financial incentives for players just qualifying for the tournament and increased incentives for each time they advance.

Negative: Injury Risks for Players

While there are risks for players participating in Spring Training, the intensity is different in the World Baseball Classic. Players are usually less likely to push themselves in a meaningless spring game than when potentially winning a championship for their country. Injuries have occurred during the World Baseball Classic in the past, and MLB teams have hesitated to let some players participate, hoping they can better ensure their health for the regular season. The World Baseball Classic has also taken steps to limit the participation of players that they feel are injury risks, deeming them uninsurable in some cases. It is important to mention that injuries also occur during Spring Training, such as the recent season-ending injury to shortstop Gavin Lux of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Positive: Extra Exposure for Young Players and Free Agents

There is no better opportunity for baseball players not affiliated with a Major League team to show their talents than in the World Baseball Classic. Whether they are free agents, players with full-time jobs besides baseball, or unproven prospects, this is a perfect chance to showcase their talents. As a potential plus for prospective Major Leaguers without teams heading into 2023, there have been instances of free agents being signed after their WBC performance, including three players for the 2017 Netherlands team alone. Former MLB starters, such as Gary Sanchez and Jurickson Profar, are current Free Agents hoping the World Baseball Classic lands them their next roster spot.

Negative: Less Time for Players with Their MLB Team

Some players, such as Kodai Senga, have decided to sit out of the World Baseball Classic to ensure they have more time with their current MLB organization. This is an understandable drawback for players joining new teams that may have participated in the WBC otherwise. While it may not factor as much for hitters, pitchers getting used to their catchers may benefit from having the spring together to get on the same page.

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