Top European Prospects

It is a down year for European prospects. Most of them are still toiling in the Rookie Leagues or had poor years (Tom de Bok and Sven Schuller). Even the Bahamas seem to churn out more prospects than Curacao. Most of the prospects from this list have parents who are of European ancestry. Spencer Kieboom the tenth rated prospect graduated last year as did Dovydas Neverauskas the number three rated prospect from Lithuania. Both struggled in the their time in the major leagues, Kieboom hitting .232 and Dovydas finishing with an ERA at 8.00. He gave up 9 homeruns in just 27 innings. Kieboom will reach his ceiling as a backup catcher while Dovydas could see another opportunity at the back end of the Pirates bullpen.

Below are the top prospects from Europe and apologies if it does not look too European.

1. Carter Kieboom SS/2B (Netherlands/Nationals) - The younger brother of Spencer took all the baseball tools, plus he plays a more glitzy position. His father played baseball in the Netherlands and they moved to the States when they were young allowing Spencer and Carter to play baseball in the States during their youth. This spring Carter hit two homeruns off Justin Verlander. He is starting to show an impressive hit tool. Last year between Low A and AA he slugged 16 homeruns. With Trea Turner occupying short he may have to move to second base. Look for Carter to start the season in AA with a full time job with the Nationals in 2020.

2. J.B. Bukauskas RHP (Lithuania/Astros) - His Wikipedia page says he is of Lithuanian origin so we will include him on this list as we did last year. He dropped from number 1 to number 2. At 6′0″ he is a bit on the small side for a righthander. His fastball can ride towards the plate in the mid-90s and he complements it with an excellent slider. A car accident in spring training led to back issues, limiting him to 14 starts last year. He got one AA start where he pitched six one hit shutout innings. With the five High A starts J.B. finished with a 1.61 ERA with the opposition hitting him at a .138 clip. If healthy he should start the 2019 season in AA where he will work on harnessing his command. If he does not make it in the rotation he could be an impact pitcher in the bullpen.

3, Dean Kremer RHP (Israel/Orioles) - His parents have Israeli citizenship though Kremer was born in California. He was one of the players the Dodgers traded for Manny Machado. Not an overpowering fastball, sitting in the low 90s, he may best be used out of the bullpen. The Orioles used him in the starting rotation where he limited the opposition to a .228 average. His 178 strikeouts led the minor leagues last year so his curve ball gets a lot of swings and misses. Drafted in the 14th round in 2016 he averages 11.4 whiffs per nine innings. Dean could see some time with the rebuilding Orioles in their rotation late in the year but myworld suspects the bullpen will be his best home.

4. Shervyen Newton SS (Curacao/Mets) - The Mets appear to be overloaded at the shortstop position with Ahmed Rosario in the major leagues, Andres Gimenez ready to make an impact in 2019 and Ronny Mauricio and Luis Guillorme also playing the position. Newton signed in 2015 for $50,000 but did not appear in the States until last year. He played in the Dominican Summer League his previous two years. Newton showed a good bat at the Rookie level, hitting .280 with a .408 OBA. At 6′4″ he may outgrow shortstop, especially with his lack of speed. The power could be there to move to third. Next year he will be 20. A full season league will be open for him to break out into the spot light.

5. Hendrik Clementin C (Curacao/Reds) - Hendrik had a break out season last year with his 18 homeruns at Low A. Whether he can continue to hit for that power will be answered in 2019 when he applies his craft at High A. The Dodgers signed him in 2013 and traded him to the Reds for Tony Cingrani. At 6′0″ and 250 pounds he needs to watch his weight. The defensive tools are there to be an average catcher, but if the bat plays that could turn him into a starter.

6. Ray-Patrick Didder Utl (Aruba/Braves) - Like Curacao, Aruba is a possession of the Netherlands. Didder was signed in 2013. While playing in the minor leagues he has played at every position but catcher and pitcher. He is athletic enough to play the middle infield and centerfield. If the Braves can turn him into a Marwin Gonzalez clone that could be a plus. The speed is there for him to steal bases and cover ground in centerfield. The bat lacks power and will keep him limited to hitting .250. The 2019 season will see him in AA. If his bat can play he could be up with the Braves some time this year.

7. Martin Cervenka C (Czech Republic/Orioles) - The first true European. He was signed by the Indians and labored as a back up for his first couple years in the minor leagues. Last year he showed some pop in his bat with 15 homeruns. Myworld thought the Orioles would call him up but perhaps the 2019 season will be his major league debut. Martin will be turning 27 this year so his time as a prospect is getting short. Catchers take more time to develop their craft. At best Cervenka will not be more than a backup in the major leagues, which he could see sometime in 2019.

8. Marcus Solbach RHP (Germany/Dodgers) - Marcus was originally signed by the Twins and pitched in their minor league system way back in 2011. The last two years he has been pitching Independent ball in the Canadian American Association. Last year he was named pitcher of the year in the Australia Baseball League, finishing with a 0.43 ERA in six starts. That convinced the Dodgers to sign him. At 27 and at 6′5″ he could be used out of the bullpen.

9. Marten Gasparini OF (Italy/Royals) - Marten signed with the Royals back in 2013 for $1.3 million. He was originally a shortstop but his inconsistency in the field forced the Royals to put him in centerfield. His one big tool is his speed, but it does not work well when stealing bases (82 out of 122). The bat is soft with a career .222 average and .315 slugging. The 2019 season could be his last in the minor leagues where he will become a six year minor league free agent. If his bat does not show some production it will be hard to convince another team to sign him.

10. Alberto Mineo C (Italy/Blue Jays) - Albert was originally signed by the Cubs but now plays for the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays acquired him in the minor league portion of the Rule V draft. He bats lefthanded and hit .462 in AAA last year, but that was in only 13 at bats. His career average is .256 with very little power. The defensive tools are there for him to possibly make it as a back up in the major leagues but the bat will need to play more. In High A he hit .294 so that is an improvement from his Cubs years. His three homeruns were also a career high. Next year he should be playing at AA where at 24 he still has some time to develop as a major leaguer.

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