clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Going over rules for World Baseball Classic

We take a look at the format for the World Baseball Classic tournament.

Infielder Munetaka Murakami #55 of Japan reacts after hitting a three run home run in the first inning during the World Baseball Classic exhibition game between Japan and Orix Buffaloes at Kyocera Dome Osaka on March 7, 2023 in Osaka, Japan. Photo by Kenta Harada/Getty Images

The 2023 World Baseball Classic will get started on Tuesday, March 7 and will run until Tuesday, March 21. Major League Baseball instituted several new rules for the upcoming season, but this is a global tournament. As such, we go over the rules of the tournament, the format and then the respective team pools.

2023 World Baseball Classic Rules

All teams will have a Final Roster of up to 30 players with at least 14 pitchers and two catchers. Overall, the rules are very similar to MLB, with a few caveats. Here are some of the most notable playing rules:

  • Pitchers must face at least three batters. This was implemented a few years ago by MLB, and will be enforced in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
  • The Designated Hitter will be used in all games. The “Universal DH” has been implemented by MLB, so there’s no surprise that the WBC is using it.
  • Defensive shifts are allowed. MLB banned the shift for 2023 and beyond, but that won’t be the case in this World Baseball Classic.
  • No pitch timer, no larger bases. More changes made by MLB this season, but the WBC won’t adopt either of these.
  • Pitcher limitations. Pitchers can’t throw more than 65 pitches in a pool play game, 80 in the quarterfinals, and 95 in the championship game.
  • Mercy rule. Applies to only to pool play. If a team is winning by 10+ runs after seven innings, they will be awarded a victory. If a team is winning by 15+ runs after five innings, they will be awarded a victory.
  • Extra inning runners. Similar to the MLB in recent seasons, each team will begin its at-bat with a runner on second base.

2023 World Baseball Classic Format

The tournament is separated into two stages. In pool play, the 20 teams are divided into four groups of five teams. The five teams in each pool will play each other, with the pool winner and runner-up advancing to the quarterfinals. Then, the global tournament becomes single elimination as we progress through the quarterfinals, semifinals and eventual championship.

2023 World Baseball Classic Bracket/Pools

Pool A — Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, Cuba, Italy, Panama
Pool B — Japan, Korea, Australia, China, Czech Republic
Pool C — USA, Mexico, Colombia, Canada, Great Britain
Pool D — Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Israel, Nicaragua

A bracket including dates for each round of the tournament can be found here.