Israel baseball players at World Baseball Classic.
(photo credit: HOWARD BLAS)
Israel made the biggest jump in the World Baseball Softball Confederation World Rankings in 2017, advancing from No. 41 to No. 19.
The blue-and-white defeated four Top 10 nations – Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Korea and Netherlands – in its World Baseball Classic debut in March of last year.
Team Israel ended the WBC with a 4-2 record, reaching the last eight of the tournament. Israel registered three consecutive victories in Pool A in Seoul, South Korea to advance to the second round in Tokyo.
The blue-and-white then beat Cuba, before losing to the Netherlands and Japan, who both went on to progress to the semifinals.
Elsewhere, first-time winner of the World Baseball Classic, the United States moved to within 321 points of top-ranked Japan, cutting the lead by 450 points. USA Baseball National Teams are the current title holders of three WBSC World Championships: U-12 Baseball World Cup, U-18 Baseball World Cup and World Baseball Classic.
The absence of the US in the first two editions of the U-23 Baseball World Cup (2014 and 2016) has been significant, with Japan, the current U-23 world champion, maintaining the No. 1 ranking by earning 1,236 points in these two events.
Baseball’s world rankings weigh a country’s national team performance in WBSC-sanctioned international competitions (from U-12 to Professional) over a four-year period. Points earned from the 2013 WBC have expired.