Archive for the 'Netherlands' Category

Puerto Rico Books Second Trip to the Finals

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

It took 11 innings and the initiation of the international rule of putting runners on first and second with no outs but Puerto Rico finally won the semi-final game 4-3. A crowd of 24,865 watched as the Netherlands failed to score in the top of the 11th, Curt Smith grounding into a bases loaded double play. Puerto Rico pulled the same strategy with a bunt moving the runners over. The Netherlands Loek Van Mil walked Javier Baez to load the bases but Eddie Rosario lifted a line drive fly ball deep enough into centerfield to score Carlos Correa with the winning run, the throw Profar just a little off line.

It was an epic battle between two talented teams. Both scored in the first but for the Netherlands it could have been so much more. Yadier Molina made his arm known after a single by Andrelton Simmons and a hit by pitch to Xander Bogaerts put runners on first and second with no out. Yadier caught Andrelton leaning too far off second and picked him off. Jurickson Profar followed with a single advancing Bogaerts to third. Jurickson Profar was picked off at first when the throw after the single went to Yadier Molina who threw to T.j. Rivera to nail Profar for the second out. When Wladimir Balentien slugged a homer into centerfield to make it 2-0 the Netherlands thought they should have had so much more to the inning.

Puerto Rico climbed back to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom half. Francisco Lindor doubled with Carlos Correa following with a homerun into centerfield. A Carlos Beltran single was proved null and void after Yadier Molina grounded into a double play to end the inning.

T.J. Rivera went deep in the bottom of the second inning to give Puerto Rico a 3-2 lead. That would be the extent of the Puerto Rican offense until the 11th. Jair Jurrjens replaced Rick VanDen Hurk in the third and the Netherlands bullpen quieted the Puerto Rican bats.

Puerto Rico was able to put runners on second and third with just one out in the third. Stolen bases by Javier Baez and Eddie Rosario taking advantage of the Netherlands battery. T.J. Rivera popped out and Reymond Fuentes grounded out to end the threat.

The Netherlands scored again in the fifth to tie the game at 3-3 but had another runner thrown out at the bases. A double by Wladimir Balentien and an intentional walk to Jonathan Schoop put runners on first and second with two out. Shawn Zarraga lined a double to left field scoring Balentien, but Jonathan Schoop was thrown out at home by a throw from Angel Pagan to Javier Baez to Yadier Molina for the last out of the inning.

Edwin Diaz pitched the last two innings to get the win. He struck out the side in the tenth inning. Puerto Rico turned four double plays, all of them in the seventh inning or after. The only time Puerto Rico did not turn a double play after the seventh inning was in the tenth inning when Edwin Diaz struck out the side. The Netherlands turned three double plays.

Eddie Rosario has been making a name for himself in these games, throwing out base runners and getting key hits for the undefeated Puerto Rican team. They now wait to see who wins the battle between the United States and Japan, playing the winner for the WBC championship.

Japan/Netherlands Advance to Final Four; Puerto Rico Upsets Dominican

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

The Netherlands left no doubt who had the superior team in their game against Cuba. They were up 12-0 after four and only needed seven innings to embarrass a once proud Cuban team 14-1 to advance to the final four. Twenty years ago those were scores the Cubans were putting up on the Netherlands in their games.

Wladimir Balentien hit two homeruns early, a three run shot in the first and a solo shot in the third to put a hurting on the Cuban pitchers. Yurendell DeCaster also homered in the third, a two run shot and contributed four RBIs in the game. He also lined a two run single in the five run fifth to put a dagger in the Cuban spirits to compete in this game. Kalian Sams finished off the scoring with a solo shot in the seventh and final inning.

The Cuban bats could not mount much of an offense against Diegomar Markwell, scoring just once against him in his six innings of work. That one score occurred after they were down 13-0. It didn’t matter who the Cubans trotted out to the mound. The Netherlands treated them all as if they were batting practice pitchers. Lazaro Blanco got the start and did not last two innings, giving up four runs. Vladimir Garcia could not last two inning before giving up five runs. Leandro Martinez, a 38 year old who would not have made a Cuban national team in the past, threw the best with three innings of mopup, allowing just two runs.

The crowd was listed at 40,680.

Japan 8 Israel 3

Japan ended a nice run by Israel with their 8-3 win, eliminating them from the final four. It was a pitcher’s duel for the first five innings with closer Josh Zeid getting the start and shutting out the Japanese bats for four innings. Israel just does not have enough depth in its pitching staff to keep the Samurai bats down for a full game. In the sixth Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh woke the bats up by leading off the inning with a homerun. Before the inning was complete four more runs had scored.

Dylan Axelrod replaced Josh Zeid and retired the side in order in the fifth. In the sixth he was not so fortunate, giving up two hits and a walk for three runs. His replacements were also ineffective and when the sixth inning was done you could put a fork in the game. Japan had a 5-0 lead.

The Israeli bats had trouble hitting Kodai Senga, producing a leadoff single from Sam Fuld in the first. After the leadoff single the Israelis could muster no more hits when Senga finished his outing after the fifth inning.

Japan put the game away in the eighth with three runs, Seiichi Uchikawa roping a two run double and Nobuhiro Matsuda tacking on one more run with a single.

Israel finally strung an offense together in the ninth with a walk and two singles off Kazuhisa Makita to score their first run, an Ike Davis single driving in the run. Ryan Lavarnway hit a two run double to pull Israel to 8-3, but that was as far as they were going to get. The good news for Israel is they get an automatic bid to play in the next WBC, not having to qualify as they did this year.

There were 43,179 who attended this game, much of the crowd already purchasing tickets for the Netherlands/Cuba game which counted against this attendance.

Puerto Rico 3 Dominican Republic 1

The Puerto Ricans proved the Dominicans could be beaten. Now the Dominicans have to sweep the United States and Venezuela to get to the final four. The bullpen of Hector Santiago, Joe Jimenez, Joseph Colon and Edwin Diaz quieted the Dominican bats to three hits in the last 6.2 innings. The momentum shifter may have been when right fielder Eddie Rosario threw out Jean Segura at home in the first to end a potential Dominican rally with zero runs. In the bottom of the first Puerto Rico used a couple walks and a Yadier Molina single to give them a 1-0 lead.

The Dominicans did not have the same fans in San Diego that they had in Miami. It was less of a home game for them. Nelson Cruz hit a leadoff homer in the second, but the crowd roar for the homer was not as loud as it was for his three run shot against the United States. The Dominicans play on emotion and the emotion was absent.

In the fourth Puerto Rico took the lead taking advantage of a throwing error by Adrian Beltre to allow Javier Baez to reach second. Eddie Rosario bounced a ball over the right field fence to give Puerto Rico a 2-1 lead.

The Dominicans never really threatened after the solo homer from Cruz in the second. They got runners to second but that was the extent of their threats. Yadier Molina led off the sixth with a solo shot to give Puerto Rico a little cushion that they did a much better job of protecting that the United States bullpen.

Of course the crowd was much quieter than in Miami. Tony Pena tried to motivate his team by getting tossed in the eighth. Nelson Cruz walked and with Adrian Beltre at the plate Cruz broke for second against Yadier Molina. He was thrown out to end the inning. Edwin Diaz mowed through the Dominican lineup in the ninth to pick up the save.

Only 16,637 attended the game at Petco Park in San Diego, a far cry from the 30,000 plus who showed up in Miami to support the Dominicans there.

Netherlands Pounds Israel in WBC; Venezuela and Italy to Meet in Playoffs

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Israel can’t pitch Jason Marquis every night. Yesterday they went with Corey Baker and he failed to get an out in the third, giving up four runs on three hits and two walks in his outing. Netherlands went with Jair Jurrgens. A Nate Freiman homerun in the fourth was the only run he gave up in his six innings of work. For Freiman it was his second homerun of the WBC. The Netherlands scored the first 10 runs in four innings and went on to win 12-2 in a game shortened to eight innings by the ten run rule.

Didi Gregorius blasted a three run homerun in the fourth inning off Danny Burawa. He finished the game with five RBIs and three runs scored. Andrelton Simmons, Wladimir Balentien and Yurendell DeCaster each lashed out three hits. Balentein scored three times to tie with Didi for the most runs scored in the game. Nate Freiman leads all players in runs scored with 7 while Didi and Wladimir are tied for second with many other players at 5.

The Netherlands needs to beat Cuba to advance to the final four. Israel must still face Japan needing a win to have any hopes of advancing to the final four.

Mexico 11 Venezuela 9

Mexico won the ball game but it did not help them advance to the tie breaker, giving up too many runs in the later innings. The tiebreaker to advance to the second round will be a game between Venezuela and Italy. Mexico jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, Esteban Quiroz slugging a three run homer to end the scoring. Brandon Laird also hit a three run homer in the fifth inning to up the Mexican lead to 8-1. If the Mexicans would have held the Venezuelans scoreless they would have advanced to the tie breaker. They did not.

Venezuela battled back for eight runs in three innings to pull to within two. A walk to Ender Inciarte in the ninth put the tying run on first for Venezuela and led to the ejection of Mexican manager Edgar Gonzalez. Robinson Chirinos struck out and Jose Altuve flied out but Venezuela got the playoff date based on a better runs allowed per defensive inning. If Mexico had held Venezuela to a couple less runs they may have advanced to the playoff game.

The last time Italy and Venezuela met Venezuela won in 10 11-10.

Extra Innings Galore in WBC; United States Advances

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Japan and the Netherlands were the first team to play past the tenth inning to initiate the extra inning rule. Japan pulled off a successful bunt followed by a two run single from Sho Nakata to give Japan an 8-6 lead. The Netherlands chose to have Jurickson Profar swing away and he popped to first. With no runners in scoring position Xander Boegerts grounded out and Kalian Sams popped out to end the game.

The two battled it out like punch drunk boxers with both teams scoring a run in the second and four runs in the third. Jonathan Schoop hit a solo homerun in the second and Wladimir Balentien hit a two run homerun in the third to spice up the Netherlands offense. Sho Nakata continued to stay hot with a three run homerun in the third. He finished the game 3 for 6 with 5 RBIs.

The Netherlands took the game into extra innings on a Jonathan Schoop RBI single in the ninth inning. With runners on second and third and two out and a chance to win the game Curt Smith struck out.

Japan threatened in the tenth, loading the bases with one out. Norichika Aoki grounded into a double play, with many thinking Curt Smith was off the base when he caught the relay throw from Andrelton Simmons.

While the starting pitching was disappointing for both teams the relief pitching was stellar. The Japanese bullpen allowed only the one run in the ninth inning. The Netherlands also limited Japan to one run until the eleventh inning. There were over 44,000 who attended the game.

Dominican Republic 10 Colombia 3

Colombia battled Dominican Republic to a 3-3 tie after 10 innings. The Dominican Republic exploded for seven runs in the eleventh inning with Jean Segura providing the big hit with a bases clearing three run double.

Colombia had an opportunity to win the game in the ninth. After Jorge Alfaro hit a solo shot in the eighth to tie the game at 3-3 Colombia put their first two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth. Donavan Solano grounded out to put runners on first and third with one out. Reynaldo Rodriguez lined a shot to Jose Bautista in left field. Pinch runner Oscar Mercado tagged from third but Bautista threw a strike home to cut off the winning run. Myworld would have liked to have been there to hear the roar from the Dominicans after that play.

Close to 37,000 watched the Dominican Republic advance to the second round. Colombian fans can take satisfaction that their win over Canada automatically qualifies them for the 2021 WBC, or whenever the next WBC is played.

United States 8 Canada 0

The United States advanced to the second round with another opportunity to play the Dominican Republic in their future with their win over Canada. Canada will have to qualify to play in the next WBC after their last place finish. The United States put the game away with seven runs in the first two innings. Nolan Arenado hit a three run homer in the second. Eric Hosmer hit the first of his two doubles in the first to drive in two runs.

Danny Dufy got the start for the United States throwing four shutout innings, allowing just two hits. Ryan Dempster had his second poor start of the WBC failing to get out of the first inning before allowing three walks and two hits in the three run first. Only 22,000 showed up to watch the game between the two North American teams, evidence the WBC is being financed by the party atmosphere of the Dominican Republic.

Puerto Rico 9 Italy 3

Puerto Rico scored all their runs in the first five innings to romp over Italy and advance to the second round undefeated. Italy will have to wait until the results of the Mexico/Venezuela game to determine their fate. Puerto Rico will also get another opportunity to play the Dominican Republic after losing to them in the finals of the 2013 WBC.

Carlos Correa hit a three run homer in the fourth to fuel the offense. Jose Berrios worked five innings to get the win. The only two hits he allowed were solo shots from Drew Butera and John Andreoli. The bullpen of Hiram Burgos and Miguel Mejia shutout the Italians on one hit the remaining four innings.

Major leaguers by Country

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

Baseball America broke out the top countries who have players in the major leagues. The top ten is listed below.

1. United States - 5,043 (67.34%)
2. Dominican Republic - 1,117 (14.92%)
3. Venezuela - 628 (8.39%)
4. Puerto Rico - 163 (2.18%)
5. Canada - 92 (1.23%)
6. Mexico - 91 (1.22%)
7. Cuba - 82 (1.09%)
8. Panama - 52 (0.69%)
9. Colombia - 38 (0.51%)
10. Australia - 29 (0.39%)

If you combined Curacao and Aruba, both colonies of the Netherlands and included them with the players from the Netherlands that count would also be 38, putting the Netherlands in tenth place.

You can go to the International section of Baseball America to see the complete list.

Israel Downs Netherlands; Korea and Aussies Win

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Since the game did not mean anything it would be difficult to call it an upset. The Netherlands started Rob Cordemans, their hero of many Olympics, World Baseball Cups and World Baseball Classics. The 42 year old lasted just one inning with Israel strafing him for four hits and three runs in their eventual 4-2 win. Nate Frieman hit a double to score one run, Ryan Lavarnway singled to score another. It could have been worse with Israel loading the bases for Scott Burcham who struck out to end the inning.

Israel trotted out nine pitchers for the nine inning game, Jason Marquis finishing the first inning. The strategy seemed to work as the Netherlands bats never found their groove. Jurickson Profar was their only offense, getting three of the five Dutch hits. A Profar double after Randolph Oduber drew a leadoff walk put runners on second and third with one out where a ground ball scored the first run for the Dutch in the third inning.

In the sixth Profar led the inning off with a double but was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple. Israel scored in the bottom frame to pull ahead 4-1, taking advantage of an error, walk and hit by pitch to load the bases with no out. A ground out double play got two outs but a run scored.

The best opportunity Netherlands had to win the game was in the eighth when an error and two walks loaded the bases. Another error cut the lead to 4-2, keeping the bases loaded with one out. Didi Gregorius grounded into a double play to end the threat.

The Dutch also saved their pitching staff throwing seven different pitchers. Josh Zeid was the most worked Israeli pitcher, the manager calling on him to get five outs. Attendance was listed at 2,700. Both Israel and Netherlands advance to the second round.

Korea 11 Taiwan 8

The two Asian teams battled it out in an important game that did not have playoff implications but the winner got an automatic bid for the next WBC, if there is one and the loser had to qualify. The Korean bats finally came alive for the 11-8 win, scoring three in the tenth inning to secure the victory. Tae-Kyun Kim mashed a two run homer to close out the three run tenth.

Korea had jumped out to an early 6-0 lead but Taiwan battled back with three in the bottom of the second. Pitching was non-existent for the first four innings with Korea leading 8-5 at that point. The Korean bats quieted the next five innings while Taiwan scored three to send it into the tenth.

Korea relied on Seung-Hwan Oh to pitch the last two innings to capture the win. When rosters were being considered Korean fans did not want Oh on the roster because of his implications to overseas gambling. Oh is currently under suspension if he wants to ever come back to the KBO to finish his career.

Australia 11 China 0

Australia kept their hopes of advancing to the first round with a 11-0 clobbering of China. This sets up a final match with Cuba with the winner advancing to the second round. Travis Blackley allowed just two hits in his 4.2 innings of work. The game ended after eight when Australia scored four runs on a James Beresford grand slam.

Ex-major leaguer Luke Hughes had a big bat for Australia with two hits and four RBIs, including a two run homer in the third. James Beresford walked three times to allow him to score three runs and Brad Harman also scored three runs. China has yet to score a run in these games, their offense only accumulating just six hits. Their final game is against Japan, who has already clinched a first seed advancement to the second round. China has no hope of finishing away from the basement and will have to qualify for the next WBC.

Only 3,013 attended the game between Australia and China.

Netherlands Clinches Second Round Advance in WBC

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

One of the disadvantages of bracket play with the top two teams advancing is how early teams can clinch their advancement to the second round. Israel and Netherlands have already clinched advancing to the second round with Netherlands 6-5 win over Taiwan. Now it is just a matter of determining who advances as the number one seed. The remaining two games in the bracket do not amount to much.

Netherlands inched past Taiwan 6-5 last night, taking advantage of a ninth inning error, a hit by pitch and a single to load the bases with no outs. Jurickson Profar coaxed a walk off walk to allow Netherlands to come out victors.

It did not come easy for the Netherlands. In the fifth Taiwan erupted for three runs to take a 5-4 lead. Chih-Hao Chang slugged a two run homer to tie the game at 4-4. Taiwan strung together two more singles after the homerun to put runners on first and third and still there were no outs. A ground out when the Netherlands could not turn two scored a run. After a strikeout Taiwan again loaded the bases with a hit by pitch and infield single. Che-Hsuan Lin flied out to end the inning.

The Taiwan pitchers shut down Netherlands for three innings. In the eighth back to back singles by Xander Bogaerts and Wladimir Balentien put runners on first and second with no outs. A double play ground out appeared to put the embers out for a rally. Fu-Te Ni came on to pitch to end the threat. Didi Gregorius lined a double to left field to tie the game and leading to the exit of Ni. Hung-Wen Chen came on to retire Yurendell Decaster on a ground out to send the game into the ninth inning tied.

Balentein finished the game 4 for 4 for the Netherlands and Didi as the DH was 3 for 4 with 3 doubles and three RBIs. Mike Bolsenbroek pitched three late shutout innings to allow the Netherlands to get back in the game. Chang was the big bat for Taiwan with his three hits including his big two run homerun, the only extra base hit for Taiwan in the game. Attendance was listed at 3,606.

Cuba 6 China 0

China could manage only one hit against the Cuban pitching. Bladimir Banos gave up that hit with one out in the fifth. Cuba scored four of their six runs in the fourth to put the game on ice. Roel Santos had the big hit with a two run triple. He finished the game 3 for 5. Alexander Ayala was 3 for 4 with an RBI double in the fourth inning.

Bruce Chen shut out Cuba for the first 2.2 innings of work. He was taken out of the game after getting Ayala to ground into a double play. His replacement Xia Luo would give up the four runs in the fourth inning.

There were 39,102 who came out to see the game at the Tokyo Dome, a good crowd considering Japan was not playing. That must have been a misprint because attendance was sparse according to reports myworld received of those who attended the game. It was so empty that many filtered down to the lower section to watch the game.

Japan 4 Australia 1

Through the first four innings an Allen de San Miguel homerun was the only run of the game, giving Australia a 1-0 lead. Tim Atherton finally cracked giving up a leadoff double to Hayato Sakamoto. An infield single put runners on first and third where Lachlan Wells replaced Atherton and gave up a sacrifice fly to Nobuhiro Matsuda to tie the game.

In the seventh a Sho Nakata homerun put Japan up 2-1. They put the game away in the eighth on a two run homer from Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.

Australia had an opportunity to take the lead in the fifth after Japan had tied the game 1-1. With the bases loaded and one out James Beresford grounded into a double play. That was really the last opportunity the Japanese pitching staff allowed them to score a run.

There were 41,408 at the Tokyodome.

Israel Blasts Taiwan; Japan and Netherlands also Win

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

In the professional league in Taiwan (CPBL) the teams are allowed to sign three foreign players. Those three foreign players are usually starting pitchers. When the season starts the four CBL’s four professional teams have three of their five or six starting pitchers filled by foreigners, leaving little opportunity for Taiwan pitchers to develop. That was on full display yesterday with Israel battering Taiwan 15-7, collecting 20 hits. Israel scored at least one run against each pitcher Taiwan threw out to the mound except Chen-Hua Lin, who only got two outs but still gave up two hits. Even ex-major leaguer Fu-Te Ni was banged around for three runs while he could only retire one hitter.

Meanwhile, Corey Baker, a non-descript minor leaguer who has only gotten six starts in AAA shut out Taiwan for four plus innings, allowing just three hits. Israel pounced on Taiwan starter Chun-Lin Kuo for six hits and four runs in the first inning as he was only able to retire two hitters. Ike Davis and Tyler Krieger each had two run singles to fuel the offense in the opening frame.

Ryan Lavarnway hit a two run homer in the third to up the Israel lead to 6-0. Taiwan made it a game with three runs in the sixth. Chih-Sheng Lin drove in the first two runs with a double. A sacrifice fly by Yi-Chuan Lin scored the third run to make it 6-3.

The hope for a comeback was only brief as Israel pulled away with five runs in the seventh. Nate Frieman and Tyler Krieger drove in runs with a single and Scott Burcham bunted for a single to score one run with two additional runs scoring when the ball was thrown away.

Nate Freiman hit a 3-run homerun in the top of the ninth to close out the scoring for Israel. Taiwan pushed across four runs in the bottom of the ninth to keep the game respectable. Only 3,287 were in attendance for the game. Israel has virtually assured themselves a spot in the second round.

Japan 11 Cuba 7

They say most of the good Cuban pitchers have left the island. This appeared quite evident with Japan’s 11-7 thrashing of Cuba. A five run fifth put them up 7-1. Nobuhiro Matsuda blasted a three run homer to left field to account for most of the runs.

Cuba would fight back, scoring three in the seventh, Alfredo Despaigne hitting a solo shot and Guillermo Aviles slashing a two run single to pull Cuba to within 7-4. Japan responded with two in the bottom frame, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo slugging a two run homer to extend the lead to 9-4.

Cuba scored two in the top of the eighth after a two run double by Yurisbel Gracial. Japan responded again with two in the bottom frame on a Nobuhiro Matsuda RBI single and a Seiji Kobayashi sacrifice fly.

In the top of the ninth Cuba put their first two runners on base and were able to load the bases with two outs and their big hitter Alfredo Despaigne at the plate. Kazuhisa Makita was able to strike him out to end the game.

Japan hitters were able to score at least one run against all the Cuban pitchers thrown out there. Noelvis Entenza got the start for Cuba but lasted only 1.1 innings after giving up four hits. Cuban managers are infamous for pulling their pitchers early. Ayumu Ishikawa worked four innings for Japan, allowing just one run on two hits.

A good crowd of 44,908 were at the game to watch the Japanese victory.

Netherlands 5 South Korea 0

The Korean bats were absent a second straight day. Coming into the WBC the Korean manager was worried about their pitching, but it is their bats that have failed them. Korea has only scored one run in two games. Rick Vandenhurk getting the start and leading the charge with four shutout innings. Four different pitchers completed the shutout with Diegomar Markwell going two innings and 7′1″ Loek van Mil closing it out in the ninth. Korea could manage only six hits.

Jurickson Profar got the offense started early with a two run homer in the first inning, rewarding the leadoff single from Andrelton Simmons. Kyu-Min Woo got the start for Korea. He gave up an Andrelton Simmons RBI double in the second and was gone after two outs in the third inning, giving up three runs on six hits.

The Dutch extended the lead in the sixth after a two run homer from Randolph Oduber to make it 5-0. Korea failed to advance a runner past second base, grounding into three double plays.

No attendance figures were given on the game. Netherlands next plays Taiwan and a win would virtually clinch both Israel and Netherlands advancing to the second round, making the next two games meaningless, though Israel and Netherlands would be playing for seeding.

Baseball World Cup Under 18 Pools Determined

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

The Baseball World Cup Under 18 tournament will be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada from September 1-10. Nine of the top ten ranked countries will be participating in the event, with only Venezuela the lone top ten country not participating.

There will be two groups of six, who will play a round robin. The top three finishers will then advance to the second round, where each of the three teams will carry their record with them to the new pool and play the three teams advancing from the other pool. The two teams with the best record will play for the gold medal while the third and fourth best record will battle for the bronze.

Group A

Canada (9), South Korea (3), Taiwan (4), Australia (10), Italy (11), Nicaragua (16)

Group B

United States (2), Japan (1), Cuba (5), Mexico (6), Netherlands (9), South Africa (28)

The United States has won this event the last three years. The All tournament team from the last Under 18 tournament included first round draft pick Josh Naylor from Canada and the recently defected potential superstar from Cuba Luis Robert. Blake Retherford, the first round pick of the Yankees made the team as an outfielder. There was a Cuban player named Jose Garcia who made it as a second baseman, but do not know if that was Jose Adolis Garcia, the brother of Adonis who recently defected.

Luis Robert hit .406 with two homeruns and 11 RBIs with three doubles, three triples and four stolen bases at the event.

Top European Prospects

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

There is one graduate from the 2016 list which is a good thing for Europe. Max Kepler put up decent numbers for the Twins and will get another opportunity to start in right field. The current list is filled with players from Curacao (a colony of the Netherlands). Ozzie repeats as the number one prospect on this list. There are only two other countries represented in this list, the other eight are from the Netherlands. Perhaps next year Netherlands gets its own billing.

1. Ozzie Albies 2B/SS (Braves) Curacao - Ozzie was the number one last year and if not for an elbow injury he may have made his major league debut with a September callup. The tools are there to play shortstop but the Braves have chosen Dansby Swanson to play there. Ozzie will move to second base. The speed is there to steal 20 plus bases per year. Coming into the 2017 season his career minor league average was .310. With the combination of speed and high OBA Ozzie could find himself perched in the leadoff position for the Braves with a good spring.

2. Carter Kieboom SS (Nationals) Netherlands - His father was born in the Netherlands, moving to the States at 17, His brother Spencer was drafted by the Nationals a couple years ago, but Carter was a first round pick. Carter also plays the middle of the diamond while Spencer is a catcher. Carter has all the tools to play shortstop and his bat showed some life with a .452 slugging percentage. The one area of concern was his tendency to strike out in bunches. Last year he struck out 43 times in just 36 games. Expect Carter to start the 2017 season in Low A Hagerstown

3. Davydas Noverauskas RHP (Pirates)Lithuania - Myworld is not aware of any major leaguer born in Lituania. Dovydas could be the first. The Pirates spotted him at a European academy in Italy and signed him for $60,000. His fastball climbs the radar guns into the high 90s and he mixes in a slider and cutter. Last year he pitched in relief moving all the way to AAA. While he limited the opposition to a .129 average in AA, in AAA that shot up to .308. He was suspended last year for a week towards the end of the season because of his involvement in a fight at a bar. With a good season next year could be his major league debut.

4. Marten Gasparini 2B/SS (Royals) Italy - Marten broke the signing bonus record held by Max Kepler, the Italian signing for $1.3 million in 2013. He has had trouble keeping up with the hype, last year hitting only .198 in his first year of full season ball. His actions are smooth at shortstop but he needs to develop some consistency fielding the ball, last season committing 48 errors. Those errors may force a move to the outfield where centerfield could be a pretty good fit. He could repeat Low A for the first part of the 2017 season, then get promoted once he finds some success.

5. Ray-Patrick Didder (Braves) Aruba - Aruba is also a Dutch colony. Didder has the speed to play centerfield and the arm to slot into right field. The one tool he is missing is power, but that does not prevent him from lining the ball into the gaps. With his lack of power he needs to show he can play centerfield with the corners reserved for the outfielders who show the power. Last year the speed of Didder copped him 37 stolen bases in 49 attempts.

6. Juremi Profar 2B/SS (Brewers) Curacao - His younger brother Jurickson was at one time the top prospect in baseball until injuries delayed his major league career by two years. Juremi does not have the range or speed of Jurickson to fit at shortstop. In fact most of his tools fall below his older brother. Last year he did break out for some power, hitting a career high 13 homeruns with a .473 slugging average. He has never stolen more than one base in any league. If Juremi can hit .250 with 20 plus homeruns he has a major league career ahead of him.

7. Chris Pieters RHP (Cubs) Curacao - Chris signed out of Curacao for $350,000 in 2011 as a lefthanded pitcher. He was converted to a hitter in 2015 and showed enough promise the Cubs decided to keep him. The arm is good enough for him to slot in any outfield position. While he does not have great speed he was good enough to steal 20 bases last year in 23 attempts. There was more swing and miss in his bat last season than he had in the 2015 season. He also drew fewer walks. Expect Chris to start the 2017 season in Low A.

8. Stijin Vandermeer SS (Astros) Netherlands - Myworld saw him play in the Honkball tournament in Haarlem last year. He was voted the MVP of the tournament. With Carlos Correa cemented at short for the next ten or so years Stijin may want to learn to play another position other than shortstop. Stijin was recently named to the Dutch roster for the WBC to replace outfielder Chris Garia. Last year the 34th round pick hit .329 in his 29 game professional debut. He had a nice 7/12 walk to whiff ratio.

9. Spencer Kieboom C (Nationals) Netherlands - Spencer was drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. The Nationals have a number of good young catchers ahead of him in Pedro Severino, Jakson Reetz and Raudy Read. Spencer continues to be a better glove man than bat, hitting only .230 with a .314 slugging. He will probably always be considered a back up catcher type if the bat does not improve. His ability to make contact continues to excel with a 43/61 walk to whiff ratio, but that contact does not result in hits.

10. Martin Cervenka C (Indians) Czech Republic - We were impressed with what we saw of Cervenka when we watched him in a tournament in Taiwan two years ago. He was one of the better hitters on the team and a leader of the pitching staff. Unfortunately, the bat did not translate to the minor leagues. Until this year when Martin hit .263. There is little to brag about from the power side but give him a couple more years to see if he gets increased playing time. The 2017 season could be his make or break year. With Francisco Mejia behind the plate the best hope Martin has for the major leagues is as a backup.

2016 top European Prospects