Men’s Softball World Rankings: Japan take No. 1 spot for the first time ever

2020-01-15 11:59:00

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) unveiled today the WBSC Men’s Softball World Rankings, after an historic 2019 season with Japan, for the first time, climbing to the top of the world as the best men’s softball national team program. South Africa, in 10th place, completed the five continents in the WBSC Men’s Softball World Rankings Top 10.

Japan tops Argentina

Following an incredibly successful 2019 season which saw Argentina beat Japan in the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship final to claim the title for the first time, Japan came out as the top men’s softball nation in the world. Second place in the Men’s Softball World Championship plus the U-17 Asian Cup title proved enough for Japan to became the top ranked country in the standings. Japan collected 1,059 points in 2019 to total 3,743 points, just six points ahead of the new No. 2 Argentina.

The South American nation earned the most points in 2019 with 1,620 points, after claiming the World Championship title in Prague, the Czech Republic, a Pan American Games gold medal in Lima, Peru and a bronze medal at the U-17 Pan American Championship in Guatemala City - a qualifier for this year’s U-18 Men’s World Cup. This almost perfect year propelled Argentina to second place, their best position in world rankings history.

For the first time, New Zealand is not the top men’s softball nation. Since the inception of the first WBSC Men’s Softball World Rankings in 2016, New Zealand has been the top National Team program however, following their fourth-place finish at the World Championship in Prague and the expiration of 940 points from the World Championship in 2015, the Black Sox slipped to third place in the rankings, behind Japan and Argentina.

Despite a third place performance in the World Championship and the U-17 Pan American title, Canada also lost two positions due to the expiration of the World Championship title points it obtained in 2015 and dropped from second to fourth with Australia completing the Top 5.

Special Top 10 debut

South Africa climbed two positions and for the first time ever is one of the Top 10 softball nations. South Africa won the African Championship and finished in 12th place at the World Championship, adding 546 points that allowed them to pass Denmark and the Dominican Republic and finish the year in 10th place. This way, the WBSC Men’s Softball World Rankings includes in the Top 10 at least one representative from each of the five Olympic continents (Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania).

“Having the five continents represented in the top 10 of the world rankings, and also the top three nations spread over three different continents, offers further proof of men’s softball competitiveness, globalization and expansion around the world,” said WBSC Softball Chairman Tommy Velazquez. “With the introduction of the newly created World Cups in 2020, the WBSC is boosting this process, promoting the continental competitions and making men’s softball a bigger and better sport.”

Cuba and Peru gained 11 places in the rankings and became the biggest climbers of the year. Both teams competed in the Pan American Games in Lima and clinched key points to move up in the standings while Cuba finished 10th  at the World Championship, moving from 24th place to 13.

Lesotho became the 49th nation to appear in the WBSC Men’s Softball World Rankings after finishing in third place at the African Cup, which was a qualifier for the World Championship 2019, earning their first-ever ranking points to feature in 44th place

The WBSC Softball World Rankings track a country’s entire National Team performance in all WBSC-sanctioned international competitions over a four-year period (2016-2019). The international competitions in 2019 included the WBSC Men’s Softball World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic; the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru; the African Championship in Atteridgeville, South Africa; the U-17 continental qualifiers from the Americas, Asia and Europe; the South East Asian Games in the Philippines; as well as three sanctioned events: : the Zeister Slot Tournament in the Netherlands, the TAB CHallenge Cup in New Zealand, and a Friendly Series in South Africa. The WBSC Men’s Softball World Rankings also reflect the expiration of all points earned in 2015 international competitions.

The WBSC rankings can be found at the WBSC World Rankings Website, featuring functions such as tracking, trends, top climbers, charts, country-by-country comparisons, ranking by continent, points earned by each National Team/Federation per competition, and a world rankings news section in six languages — English, French, Japan, Korean, Spanish and Traditional Chinese.

Read More: Record 69 nations featured in final 2019 WBSC Women’s Softball World Rankings