2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers

We were asked on Twitter whether we knew about teams, host sites, and possible expansion for the 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers. Plenty is already known and more can be surmised from previous qualifying rounds.

The four nations that finished last in their pools and will have to qualify are Taiwan, China, and Canada, Mexico. Taiwan and Mexico are certain to host rounds as they have multiple stadia suitable for international tournaments. There are 11 teams that have appeared in the WBC qualifier every time in addition to the above four: Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panamá, Philippines, South Africa, Spain. Between the two teams that have appeared once, it is likely to be Pakistan over Thailand for the final spot.

The only possible expansion is to add one more team to each bracket, in which case four teams would join. There is a big gap between the above 16 and the next tier of national teams, but possibilities are Thailand, Russia, Argentina, Indonesia, or an African team if countries like Ghana, Kenya, or Uganda make huge strides. All are extremely unlikely and our guess is expansion happens in 2024, which is too far away to prognosticate.

In regards to brackets, it seems feasible that Taiwan would host a bracket with China and the Philippines. New Zealand could go there, but our feeling is that MLB wants them to host. Problem is, aside from them, the fourth team in that pool would be either a European team or South Africa, which does not make much sense logistically. If New Zealand did host, they might very well have South Africa in their bracket as two southern hemisphere teams with historical (British Empire) and sporting connexions (rugby). As a side note, it would be very interesting to have GB and Canada in this bracket, but the logistics suggest that would not happen.

México will have either Nicaragua or Panamá unless MLB decides Panamá should host again, which would make sense. Brazil would likely be in a bracket that either hosted. Those four would be a brutal bracket by themselves (Nos. 6, 13, 15, 18), so that will not happen. We are guessing Panamá gets the bid and draws Brazil and, perhaps, Spain, while Mexico repeats the 2016 bracket with the Czech Republic and Germany.

We are guessing Canada again does not get to host and is either in an American bracket or at a European site (Germany or the Czech Republic), though they did not respond well to being sent to Germany in 2013. A pool of Canada, Great Britain, South Africa, and another European team (our bet is France) could be interesting.

There will be plenty of discussion of teams, hosts, and brackets before 2019, but our conclusion is that expansion will not be part of the official decision by the WBSC.

UPDATES (30-01-19)
1) In retrospect, we overlooked one factor in our first edition of this post: namely, that China and Taiwan cannot be in the same bracket as both were relegated from the main tournament. It would be interesting to see if China might host a bracket, with the other option likely being to go to the Americas, which seems unlikely. If both China and Taiwan are hosting, then New Zealand will go to one or the other. It seems quite likely that they would go to Taiwan along with either the Philippines or Pakistan.

2) South Africa would likely be at one of the two Asian countries if there are that many hosts, but otherwise, has a slim shot at hosting. The country does have international standard fields.

3) Sources have since indicated that Canada chose not to host a qualifying round for the 2013 edition or main tournament in 2017 and are unlikely to decide to host a 2020 qualifier.


About Gabriel Fidler

Extra Innings UK covers baseball around the world, focussing on the sport at the national team level, with features on prominent players, scouting reports, and occasional breaking news. We are fully credentialled by MLB and have covered the World Baseball Classic, continental championships, and the U.S. minor leagues.
This entry was posted in Africa, Argentina, Asia, Central America, China, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, North America, Panama, Russia, South Africa, South America, Spain, Thailand, Tournaments, Uganda, World Baseball Classic. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers

  1. Robert Price says:

    Each group can only have 1 team from the main tourney so Taiwan and China can’t be in the same group.

  2. Steve Desio says:

    Canada could host the Wualifier at BC Place in Vancouver since it has a retractable roof.
    Olympic Stadium in Montreal is finally geyting a retractable toof put in at Olympic stadium for the 2026 doccer eorld cup. But i dont think it will be done by 2021
    Of course Canada could host in totonto at rogers centrr

    • Thanks for the subscription! All are excellent choices and it would be nifty to see Vancouver included. Canada, however, does not seem to be interested in hosting qualifiers and has turned down the opportunity the last two WBCs. Have a feeling that will be true again in 2020, but do not know why (to be fair, hosting is a serious cash investment and, although it is possible to turn a profit, Baseball Canada may not want to risk it).

      • Steve Desio says:

        Ya i can see that in some parts of Canada. Toronto has and would host games for the WBC at Rogers centre as they have done in the past.
        But for qualifier….
        Idk if Vancouver has ever been approached or not in the past.
        Montreal for sure would host any baseball big league type event. With the Fifa World cup coming in 2026. Montreal & Olympic stadium has been chosen as one of the North American sites.
        So Olympic stadium will FINALLY be getting a proper retractable roof. But unlikely it will be done by 2020

  3. Our understanding, corroborated from quite a few sources, is that Toronto does not have a desire to host WBC or WBCQ games in the near future. Part of the problem is the empty seats for non-marquee games they feel is negative for Baseball Canada. The commonality to all those sites, however, is that it is not they who would host, but Baseball Canada, and the federation has turned down the opportunity several times. I hope for a change of heart as it would be great to see international baseball in Montréal and perhaps helpful for luring MLB back to the city.

    • Steve Desio says:

      I agree you pretty much nailed it.
      For Toronto if its not MLB, NBA, NHL, or MLS ( or some big FIFA Soccer event).
      Toronto wants no part of it. Even the Buffalo Bills NFL series BOMBED OUT.
      CFL Argos Toronto proper population these days dont care.
      Idk what Vancouvers thought process id out on the west coast.
      NHL obviously huge. NBA was short lived. Junior Hockies Western Hockey league is huge inVancouver , souuronding area, in BC, across the boarder into Us states psrticular Washington. Like Toronto MLS & FIFA BIG time events are popular.
      Baseball seem sa though the proximety to seattle fills there baseball fix.
      NFL Fix & Cfl a bit less not as bad as Toronto tho

    • Steve Desio says:

      Montreal however is dying for MLB level baseball. Problem is Olympic Stadium roof has been a mess. With WBC Being in that Feb March time of yr an indoor facility is needed in Canada.
      As Montreal got a bid to. be a host city for 2026 FIFA WC. the Big O will finally be getting and installing a proper rectractabe roof. By maybe 2022

      • I am afraid the situation is as you describe it. Although the quality of Baseball Canada is high and slowly increasing further, there is just not much public demand for it outside of Toronto and Montréal. I wonder if the latter might lobby BC quite hard once the roof is installed. We would certainly like to see more premier baseball events there.

      • Steve Desio says:

        Absolutely. Once Olympic stadium in Montreal has that proper roof in place. No doubt that the Montreal faction who are dying to see TOP MLB Players come to Montreal be it the WBC. With Canadas top players hosting the best from other countries. I have no doubt

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