The International Baseball Federation (IBAF) released the newest World Baseball Rankings on Friday. The United States topped the list for the first time since the rankings were first published in 2009. Japan finished in second, which is the highest they have ever been ranked.
From the IBAF website:
Samurai Japan hit a new landmark with their highest ranking ever to second place, moving up the rankings ladder from third place.
In 2013 tournament competition, the Samurai placed third at the World Baseball Classic and took the bronze medal at the 12U Baseball World Cup and then claimed silver at the 18U Baseball World Cup.
Japan also fared well in internationally sanctioned head-to-head national team competitions to rack up rankings points, as the Japanese university team won three out of five games against the Team USA university selection in July, and only a few weeks ago, Japan bested host Chinese Taipei in all three of their "Baseball Challenge" match-ups.
Source: IBAF 12/20/2013
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