This spring, a collection of Major League Baseball's best players compete in the World Baseball Classic before returning to their teams. But what if they didn't return? What if the stars of Team USA -- or the Dominican Republic -- stayed with their national teams for a 162-game schedule? What would happen? How would they fare? Let's test them against the defending world champs, the Chicago Cubs.
Given this scenario, players in the WBC will play out the season for their international squads, so the Cubs lose Javier Baez and Hector Rondon -- as they are playing for Puerto Rico and Venezuela, respectively. To test the teams, we'll use FanGraphs' depth chart projections to determine performance.
Team USA has a big advantage here as Buster Posey and Jonathan Lucroy are two of the game's very best at the position. At catcher, Posey is worth 4.3 WAR (wins above replacement). Lucroy comes in at 3.4 WAR for the 2017 season. As a result, we will give more playing time to Posey and come up with a combination worth 5.7 WAR. For the Cubs, Willson Contreras should see most of the time behind the plate this season, with Miguel Montero playing a decent amount, but combined they add up to only 3.2 WAR, putting the Cubs in a sizable hole.
Dominican Republic: Welington Castillo, 1.5 WAR