World Baseball Classic: Four reasons why the Dominican Republic was eliminated from the WBC early

In the spring, the Dominican Republic was considered one of the favorites to win the 2023 World Baseball Classic. Their formidable roster included the likes of Manny Machado, Juan Soto, Julio Rodriguez and other formidable forwards reminiscent of an All-Star starting nine. However, after losing 5-2 to Puerto Rico on Wednesday night, the Dominican Republic was eliminated from the WBC after playing just four games. Pool D will ship Venezuela and Puerto Rico instead. who won in a bittersweet fashion as Edwin Diaz was injured in the post-game celebration – to the quarter-finals.

What went wrong in the Dominican Republic? Here are four factors that led to their earlier-than-expected departure.

1. Bad Consistency

In general, at the team level, the Dominican Republic played well. Need proof? They ranked third in the ERA for pitching lineup and ninth in the OPS for lineup. The catch is that they didn’t get as many points as one would expect based on the second part as they registered in 12th place in that category.

By comparison, each of the eight teams with higher OPS than the Dominican Republic scored at least 23 points. Meanwhile, DR only scored 19 points. Could four more races change the situation? Well, it wouldn’t hurt. The Dominicans lost four times to Venezuela and three to Puerto Rico.

In addition, the Dominican Republic squad left 20 runners on base in two losses. If they had won a few more times, they might have been able to advance to the next round. They didn’t, so they won’t.

2. Hard pool

We’ve highlighted some of the Dominican Republic’s statistics above, so it’s only fair if we print more numbers to illustrate the strength of the D pool.

Namely, the pool had three of the 10 highest OPS in the 20-team tournament between Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico finished fourth in points scored and fourth in ERA. Venezuela finished ninth in points scored and second in the ERA. Factor in that the Dominican Republic finished third in the ERA and there were clearly three deserving teams in the division.

To the chagrin of the Dominican Republic, they ended up with a short straw.

3. Compromised composition

To be honest, almost every WBC team has lost one or two players to injury. The composition of the Dominican Republic was no different, as it was weakened by untimely ailments. First baseman Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. was forced to pull out in the spring with a knee injury, and pitchers Jose Leclerc and Yarlyn Garcia also pulled out.

Would Dominicans be happier if these three were available? Impossible to say. Jamer Candelario, replacing Guerrero, did a really good job, but it’s easy to underestimate the importance of having two other quality major league pitchers to turn to in a tournament with strict usage rules.

Note that before the tournament, Soto dealt with his own calf injury. However, he still played well, which makes this a moot point.

4. Structure of the ACA

Let’s face it, strange things happen in baseball because of small samples. In other words: the smaller the sample, the greater the error. Last season alone, the Pittsburgh Pirates won five of the six games they played against the powerful Los Angeles Dodgers. It didn’t mean the Pirates were good, and it didn’t mean the Dodgers were bad. It was just baseball.

At the same time, the Dominican Republic played four games and lost two of them. Both of these L’s came against teams that were out of their pool. Who knows if the Dominican Republic got a three-game set against each or a best-of-seven streak? Maybe the Dominicans will come.

Alas, the WBC is not the length of the Major League Baseball regular season. It’s not even about the length of the postseason. It’s just organized chaos disguised as baseball, a short sprint of pool followed by a series of knockout games. The last team standing becomes the champion, but it’s not necessarily the best team – it was just the team that survived the best.

This year it was not the Dominican Republic.

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