U.S. World Baseball Classic Win Doesn't Alter WBSC Rankings
The new World Baseball Softball Confederation men’s baseball rankings have been released in the wake of the World Baseball Classic, but there’s no change at the top.
Japan remained in the top spot of the WBSC rankings after its third-place finish in the World Baseball Classic while the U.S. remains second in the rankings after winning the tournament. When it comes to international success over the past four years (the timespan that these rankings reflect), the U.S. has been objectively better than Japan in international baseball competitions. But the WBSC rankings reward consistency of participation as much, if not more, than tournament success, which is why Japan ranks ahead of the U.S.
The U.S. won the 2017 World Baseball Classic. They also won both the 2015 and 2013 18U tournaments, the 2015 and 2013 12U tournaments and finished ahead of Japan in the 2016 Premier 12 and the 2014 15U tournament. The U.S. has won five world-wide international tournaments that count in WBSC rankings over the past four years. Japan has won one. Japan finished ahead of the U.S. at the 2016 15U tournament (Japan finished second and the U.S. finished third). But the difference is largely based on the fact that Japan won the 2016 U23 tournament that the U.S. did not send a team to and Japan finished second in the 2014 U21 tournament that the U.S. did not participate in.
The biggest riser in the top 12 is Australia, which climbed two spots to eighth, while Canada fell two spots to 10th. Israel moved up 22 spots to 19th thanks to its second-round appearance in the World Baseball Classic. The Dominican Republic slid three spots to 16th despite a second-round run in the World Baseball Classic. The D.R. does not participate in a lot of international tournaments and its first-place finish in the 2013 World Baseball Classic is no longer counted in the standings.