LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) unveiled the line-up of the world’s best-ranked nations that have qualified for the first-ever “Premier 12” — the new flagship pro baseball world championship that will feature the National Teams from baseball’s 12 highest-ranked nations and become baseball’s highest-ranked international competition, awarding US$ multi-millions in prize money.
The Top 12 nations that have secured a place in the inaugural Premier 12 in 2015 is headlined by No. 1 Japan, No. 2 USA, No. 3 Cuba, No. 4 Chinese Taipei, No. 5 Netherlands, No. 6 Dominican Republic, No. 7 Canada, No. 8 South Korea, No. 9 Puerto Rico, No. 10 Venezuela, No. 11 Italy and No. 12. Mexico.
WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari celebrated baseball’s first-ever collection of Premier 12 nations.
“WBSC congratulates the 2015 Class of Premier 12 nations,” Fraccari said. “These nations represent baseball’s best that will unite and deliver an exciting – and unmatched competitive parity – at the inaugural Premier 12. Any one of these elite nations can come out victorious in 2015 and leave The Premier 12 as the reigning World Champions.”
The unveiling of baseball’s most powerful bloc of nations follows the end-of-the-year calculation of the Official 2014 WBSC World Baseball Rankings, as the final standings of the rankings in the year preceding The Premier 12 serve as the exclusive qualifying method into the international baseball showcase. (See Complete/Final 2014 WBSC World Baseball Rankings.)
The release of the 2014 WBSC World Baseball Rankings also marks the historic rise of the Japanese National Baseball Team, Samurai Japan, which for the first time ever is the world No. 1, surpassing 2013 leader USA.
The inaugural Premier 12 participants will represent a global spread that includes the entire western hemisphere — North-, Central- and South America, and the Caribbean — Asia, and Northern and Southern Europe. Oceania’s No. 14 Australia, which had been ranked as high as No. 10 in 2012, was just 8.96 rankings points behind No. 12 Mexico.
The Premier 12 logo, and 2015 tournament dates, are expected to be unveiled at an upcoming press conference.
Following the 2015 Premier 12, the world championship platform that unites the world’s 12 best nations will be rolled out every four years.