The IBAF (International Baseball Federation) has a list of World Rankings for baseball, but that is a list for the production of national teams- not how successful a baseball country is at producing MLB players, or producing the best MLB players. Nor does it take into account how well teams from those countries do in competitions like the Caribbean Series.
The Continuum Baseball Rankings do that differently. Using an ELO rating system, the Continuum Rankings takes into account a few factors:
1. The IBAF rankings
2. The amount of MLB players produced
3. The amount of win shares of MLB players by country
4. Game results by both national teams and representative teams (such as a league champion in the Caribbean Series), as well as overall tournament performance (coming in first in a tournament, for example, versus coming in third or fourth).
Now, here’s how ELO Rankings work: each team has a rating (originally all the teams had their rating set as 0, but after running the first 3 parts of the rankings I used the rankings it produced for the first tournament covered with the Continuum Baseball Rankings- the Caribbean World Series). Based on how high or low one team’s ranking is compared to another, the winner or loser of a game is awarded anywhere from 0 to 15 points OR loses 0 to 15 points. The number of points awarded depends on the quality of the two teams. More impressive wins get more points, for example.
Note that the following rankings are just for fun, they are not scientific and are not meant to be definitive whatsoever. I have no background in statistics, and my knowledge on the ELO ranking system comes entirely from reading about it and such. Even the math itself was done using another website, not a personal calculator or spreadsheet.
Also, note that I counted just the Netherlands (and added together Netherlands, Curacao, Aruba. etc. into one for the Win Shares and Number of Players) for this, not each of the countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands individually, just for simplicity.
So, go below the jump for the current ratings (calculated February 14, 2013 but posted on February 15, 2013):
CURRENT CONTINUUM RANKINGS:
4.Dominican Republic 178.56
8.Puerto Rico 129.309
10T. Korea 90
10T. Panama 90
21.Great Britain -60
26.Czech Republic -135
27.South Africa -150
29.New Zealand -180
30.Sri Lanka -195
This is by no means a perfect system, in fact, it is deeply flawed. It favors western countries (especially the USA), for example, since they provide more players to MLB and thus also provide the most Win Shares. It allows countries like Canada- which does well in international competitions outside of the WBC- to be above countries like the Dominican Republic, which, while providing lots more MLB players, do poorly in international competition due to funding issues. The fact that you can only gain or lose points by actually playing a game, being in a tournament, or producing an MLB player (in hindsight, I should have, when entering the results, placed every country that didn’t produce an MLB player as being tied for last: this should be incorporated into future years) also can play a role- for example, Panama isn’t going to be gaining OR losing any points in the upcoming WBC, since they didn’t even qualify for it, but they could pass or be passed by teams that are. There were also technical issues: the website I used to calculate the ELO rankings for this is unable to take fractions into account, for example, so I had to round to the nearest whole number… despite the fact it produces fractions in the results!
Still, it provides an interesting look at some of the best baseball countries in the world. It shows, for example, how Canada is becoming more of a baseball power- probably not the 4th in the world that the Continuum Rankings have them, but certainly higher up than many would have imagined even 10 years ago.
For those curious as to the next events that will affect the Rankings, they will likely be the warm-up games for the WBC. The Netherlands will be playing China in Arizona, for example, and there will be similar warm-ups in Japan, where I know the Japanese and Australians will be playing exhibitions against each other.