The World Baseball Classic is back—or it will be this spring, with the fourth installment of the international baseball tournament scheduled to kick off on Mar. 6 and the championship game slated for Mar. 22 at Dodger Stadium.

The United States team enters the upcoming tournament still searching for its first World Baseball Classic title.

In fact, it has yet to finish higher than fourth, with that result coming back in 2009. It also has an eighth-place finish in 2006 and a sixth-place finish in 2013 to its credit.

Japan claimed the first two WBC titles, with the Dominican Republic besting Puerto Rico last time around to give the tournament a new defending champion.

So what will it take for the U.S. team to come out on top?

Convincing more of the country’s elite-level talent to participate would be a good first step.

That strategy is already off to a rocky start, though, as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were both left off the preliminary 50-man roster and appear unlikely to participate, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

However, there’s still a wealth of talent that could find its way onto the Team USA roster, and what follows is one attempt at assembling a U.S. team capable of winning it all.


Note: The 2013 U.S. team featured 15 pitchers (four starters and 11 relievers) and 13 position players (three catchers, six infielders and four outfielders). While those roster parameters are not a requirement, they were used as a blueprint in the following exercise.

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