After back-to-back World Baseball Classic semifinal exits, a strong cadre of MLB regulars have put Samurai Japan in a strong position to claim its third tournament title in March and first since 2009.

Two-way star Shohei Ohtani, the 2021 American League MVP, veteran starting pitcher Yu Darvish and outfielder Seiya Suzuki have all signed on following two tournaments in which Japan's MLB players mostly declined to take part.

When Pool B action starts at Tokyo Dome on March 9, these three will provide a veteran core surrounded by the breathtaking crop of young talent currently playing in Nippon Professional Baseball.