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Apr '17 18

Europeans in the Majors & Minors through April 17, 2017



By DZ

Welcome back! The 2017 MLB and full-season minor league seasons are underway. Watch this space for the progress and playing time of all players who were born and/or developed in European baseball.

Before we get into the numbers, there are two announcements. First, four new signings over the offseason:

Petru Balan, Minnesota Twins. Moldova. In November, Petru became the 2nd ever Moldovan to sign a professional baseball contract, following in the footsteps of his brother Vadim – a fellow Twins farmhand. Petru is a left-handed pitcher and 21-years old. He was a regular selection for the MLB European Academy as a teenager, and was at the showcase event MLB staged in St Petersburg, Florida last spring.

Tom de Blok, Detroit Tigers. Following a winter of rumors, the 21-year-old Tom de Blok signed with the Detroit Tigers after the conclusion of the World Baseball Classic. He pitched with the Kingdom of the Netherlands semifinal team in the Korea (1st round) and Japan (2nd round) pools, and he reportedly had offers to sign in Asia. But after a brief taste of minor league baseball at 17, the Amsterdam Pirate is ready to try his hand stateside again. He’ll begin with the Low-A West Michigan Whitecaps.

Anton Kuznetsov, Philadelphia Phillies. Russia. The 18-year-old left-handed pitcher from Moscow signed a contract with the Phillies last autumn after pitching in a number of games for Russia at the U18 European Championships in Gijon, Spain. He’s been assigned to their Dominican Summer League team.

Oliver van der Wijst Severino, Houston Astros. The Dominican-born middle infielder moved to the Netherlands as a youngster, and he grew up in the Dutch national youth programs while coming through the Amsterdam Pirates club, also playing for Kinheim and Hoofddorp.

And second, a quick mention to honor the major and minor league careers of those removed from the list since last September. While some have returned home to play, others continue outside of the MiLB system (Bernadina in Korea, Solbach in US independent ball).

Roger Bernadina, Netherlands.
Donald Lutz, Germany.
Markus Solbach, Germany.
Nicolo Clemente, Italy.
Rachid Engelhardt, Netherlands.
Misja Harcksen, Netherlands.
Artur Strzalka, Poland.

Now, on to the results thus far…

MLB –

Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees. Netherlands.
Current team: New York Yankees (MLB)
The Yankees shortstop opened the season on the disabled list after suffering an injury while with the Kingdom of the Netherlands World Baseball Classic team last month. He is expected to begin playing rehab games this week.

Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins. Germany.
Current team: Minnesota Twins (MLB)
The Twins opening day right fielder has an active 6-game hit streak going, and has a home run, 6 runs, and 6 RBI. The 24-year-old Berlin native is hitting .302 in the early going.

Triple A –

Dovydas Neverauskas, Pittsburgh Pirates.  Lithuania.
Current team: Indianapolis Indians (AAA)
The Vilnius native remains on the verge of becoming the first Lithuanian in the major leagues. The right-handed reliever was added to the Pirates 40-man roster this offseason. He has made three appearances of 2 innings each, totaling 6 IP with 3 hits, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts, and a save without yet allowing a run.

Double-A

Andy Paz, Oakland Athletics. France.
Current team: Midland Rockhounds (AA)
After spending the second half of the 2016 season in Midland, culminating in the Double-A championship, Paz returns to the city in Texas for the new year. The catcher has played seven games thus far, with five hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, and a stolen base.

Single-A –

Daniel Arribas, Pittsburgh Pirates. Netherlands.
Current team: Bradenton Marauders (High-A)
Arribas continues his constant ascent in the Pirates organization, one level per season. The catcher, who also plays corner infield and outfield, has 8 games to-date in the Florida State League. He has 6 hits, 6 walks, 7 strikeouts, and is 2-for-3 in stolen bases.

Martin Cervenka, Cleveland Indians. Czech Republic.
Current team: Lynchburg Hillcats (High-A)
The Kotlarka Prague catcher also advances a level for the new season after producing the best offensive numbers of his career in 2016. He’s off to a hot start, with 10 hits (2 doubles) in 7 games, walking twice and striking out six times.

Stijn van der Meer, Houston Astros. Netherlands.
Current team: Buies Creek Astros (High-A)
The shortstop from Rosmalen was drafted out of Lamar University last summer and debuted in rookie ball. He starts the 2017 season with a two-level jump to the High-A Carolina League. In 19 at bats through 6 games, van der Meer has 3 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, and a stolen base.

Marten Gasparini, Kansas City Royals. Italy.
Current team: Lexington Legends (Low-A)
The former shortstop is now listed as an outfielder for Lexington, returning to the level where he spent the entire 2016 season (although the 19 year old is still young for the level). Gasparini has 7 hits in 9 games thus far for the club with 2 walks, 10 strikeouts, and 1 stolen base in 3 attempts.

Alberto Mineo, Chicago Cubs. Italy.
Current team: South Bend Cubs (Low-A)
The lefty-hitting catcher returns to South Bend, his home for most of the 2016 season. Mineo played 40 games last season and has never received more than 43 games (2014) or 156 at bats (2016). In the early going, it seems his opportunity for regular playing time has finally arrived, and he’s taking advantage of it. Mineo has 10 games already played of his team’s eleven, with 2 doubles, 2 triples, 9 hits, 9 RBI, 7 walks and 8 strikeouts for a .905 OPS.

Sven Schuller, Los Angeles Dodgers. Germany.
Current team: Great Lakes Loons (Low-A)
The righty from Wuppertal received a promotion to full-season baseball, and he’s off to a strong start. In 6.1 innings across 4 games, Schuller has allowed 1 run on 4 hits while walking three and striking out three. He recorded a save in his last outing (on the 17th).

Yet to appear in 2017 (short season and rookie leagues begin in June). All these players are likely already playing on a daily basis in extended spring training games in Florida, Arizona, or the Dominican Republic, but there is not public access to those statistics/results.

Vadim Balan, Minnesota Twins. Moldova.
Current team: GCL Twins (rookie)

Paul Brands, Pittsburgh Pirates. Netherlands.
Current team: GCL Pirates (rookie)

Taylor Clemensia, Minnesota Twins. Netherlands.
Current team: GCL Twins (rookie)

Nadir Ljatifi, Cincinnati Reds. Germany.
Current team: AZL Reds (rookie)

Matz Schutte, Minnesota Twins. Netherlands.
Current team: GCL Twins (rookie)

Claudio Scotti, Pittsburgh Pirates. Italy.
Current team: GCL Pirates (rookie)

Pascal Amon, Los Angeles Dodgers. Germany.
Current team: DSL Dodgers 1 (rookie)

Sam Buelens, Toronto Blue Jays. Belgium.
Current team: DSL Blue Jays (rookie)

Alessandro Ciarla, Philadelphia Phillies. Italy.
Current team: DSL Phillies 2 (rookie)

Leonardo Colagrossi, Philadelphia Phillies. Italy.
Current team: DSL Phillies 1 (rookie)

Ludovico Coveri, Philadelphia Phillies. Italy.
Current team: DSL Phillies 1 (rookie)

Federico Giordani, Los Angeles Dodgers. Italy.
Current team: DSL Dodgers 2 (rookie)

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