we were talking about this at Yuda's and the consensus among us there was that the Dominican Republic is the head-and-shoulders favorite, followed by the US, Mexico, Puerto Rico ,and Venezuela(not in any particular order)
Wow, the Cubans weren't given any consideration at all in the discussions? They have got to at least considered a wild card to win or at least play in the final. Have they gotten that bad that they wont even be in the top five?
the cubans may not play at all.
and if they do, they'll be bringing their own homegrown team, and none of the Defected Major Leaguers (like Livan) will likely play for them. I'd imagine they'd play for the US.
and the Cubans, while being a major force in International baseball, have never had to go against teams comprised almost solely with Professionals and MLBers(remember, it was amateurs-only in International Play). The Cubans are used to beating up on College Players.
the other team besides the aforementioned to look out for is Japan, if they play. Their Players' Union hasn't announced support of this yet.
the WBC is gonna be a whole new ballgame.