By “DZ”. Filed 07 July 2021.
Several Europeans made their professional debuts as the rookie-level Florida and Arizona Complex Leagues began their seasons in the last days of June. 19-year-old Darryl Collins is holding his own in the Royals A-ball outfield, while France’s Ernesto Martinez is running wild for the Brewers. The big leaguers have both battled injuries recently but are back in the regular lineups for their underperforming teams.
As always, dear reader, if you notice any players who were at least partially developed as youths in European baseball who are missing from this list, please let us know. Check out previous updates in this year’s series:
May 3 (Introduction) [link]
May 27 [link]
Didi Gregorius, Philadelphia Phillies. Netherlands.
Gregorius recently missed time with a sore elbow, but he’s been back in the lineup for a few days now. The shortstop has five doubles and six home runs while hitting .224 in 134 at bats.
Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins. Germany.
The Berlin native is playing centerfield regularly after starting the season in right. He missed some time early in the season with COVID-19, and more recently was on the IL with a hamstring strain. He has three home runs in his last three games, so hopefully he’s again finding his rhythm at the plate – he’s hitting .200 in the 12 games since coming back. For the year to date, Kepler has nine home runs, seven stolen bases, and is hitting .209/.304/.441.
Martin Cervenka, New York Mets. Czech Republic.
Syracuse Mets. The 28-year old Czech catcher has 85 at bats this season in Triple-A. He’s hitting .235/.327/.424, including four home runs.
Markus Solbach, Los Angeles Dodgers. Germany.
Oklahoma City Dodgers. Solbach struggled early, coming off a shoulder injury sustained in the playoffs for San Marino in 2020. His last two outings he’s allowed only four hits in seven innings, walking three and striking out four. His ERA was in double-digits as recently as mid-June, but he’s worked to get his season numbers down to 6.65. He’s 0-3 in 21.2 innings, walking 10 and striking out 23.
Darryl Collins, Kansas City Royals. Netherlands.
Columbia Fireflies. Collins has 41 games in A-ball, and he’s holding his own with a slash line of .267/.359/.366. He has totalled seven stolen bases and four home runs. Two weeks ago, he hit a 10th-inning, walk-off grand slam [link].
Omar Hernandez, Kansas City Royals. Spain.
Columbia Fireflies. Hernandez has 113 at bats with two home runs and a stolen base. He’s hitting .212 and catching regularly.
Ernesto Wilson Martinez, Milwaukee Brewers. France.
Carolina Mudcats. Martinez has 27 runs and 22 RBIs in 41 games. He’s hitting .250 with a .372 on base percentage, and he’s stolen 16 bases while being caught only twice. He has 6 home runs, 18 walks, and 47 strikeouts.
Sem Robberse, Toronto Blue Jays. Netherlands.
Dunedin Blue Jays. The Dutch righty has 9 appearances (including 7 starts) at full-season A-ball. He has 2 wins and 2 losses and a 4.54 ERA. In 33.2 innings, he’s allowed 24 hits and 13 walks while striking out 44.
Leonardo Seminati, Cincinnati Reds. Italy.
Daytona Tortugas. Seminati missed a few weeks of the season on the concussion IL early on after taking a pitch to the head. He’s been back for about a month, and he’s hitting .202 with four home runs in 26 games.
Samuel Aldegheri, Philadelphia Phillies. Italy.
Florida Complex League (FCL) Phillies – East. The Italian lefty made his first two pro appearances in the league that comprises spring training complexes, pitching 6.2 innings with 7 hits, 3 walks and 10 strikeouts.
Yoan Antonac, Philadelphia Phillies. France.
FCL Phillies – East. Antonac pitched 2.1 innings in the 2018 season after signing, and hadn’t thrown in an official minor league game since (injured in 2019, pandemic in 2020). He has pitched twice thus far in Florida, throwing another 2.1 innings with one hit and one strikeout.
Donny Breek, Minnesota Twins. Netherlands.
FCL Twins. The 21-year-old Dutch righty started 2021 with the Low-A Fort Myers team, and after four outings there he moved back to the rookie complex league. He’s pitched only one inning there (presumably he pitched several other unofficial games in extended spring training in June), but it was a hitless inning that included two walks.
Jiorgeny Casimiri, Toronto Blue Jays, Netherlands.
FCL Blue Jays. Like Breek, Casimiri started the season at Low-A, and is now back in the Florida Complex League. He pitched 8 times at the higher level, allowing 17 runs in 10.1 innings pitched. He’s pitched twice since the complex league started, throwing 1.2 innings with 3 hits, 3 walks, and 3 strikeouts.
Marc Civit, Toronto Blue Jays. Spain.
FCL Blue Jays. Civit pitched for the Blue Jays Dominican League team in 2019, so his outing this week was his stateside debut. The Barcelonan lefty pitched two hitless innings, walking two, and striking out two.
Darnel Collins, Kansas City Royals. Netherlands.
Arizona League Royals. Collins has his first 18 ABs as a professional, with a .389 average and .500 OBP, as well as one stolen base.
Daniele Di Monte, Detroit Tigers. Italy.
FCL Tigers – East. Di Monte pitched three innings in his 2021 debut, with 3 hits, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts.
Ettore Giulianelli, St Louis Cardinals. Italy.
FCL Cardinals. Giulianelli pitched his first professional game, throwing one inning and striking out one.
Anton Kuznetsov, Philadelphia Phillies. Russia.
Clearwater Phillies. Kuznetsov has pitched one game, 2.1 innings for the complex league Phillies. He walked two and hit a batter, but allowed no hits. On July 3rd he was promoted to Single-A, but he has yet to appear in a game at the next level.
Niklas Rimmel, Minnesota Twins. Germany.
FCL Twins. Rimmel is listed on the Injured List and has yet to pitch in 2021.
Not Yet Assigned
Eduardo Dominguez, Los Angeles Dodgers. Spain.
Alessandro Ercolani, Pittsburgh Pirates. San Marino/Italy.
Ercolani is currently with Team Italy at the U18 European Championship in Macerata and Montegranaro, Italy. He’ll report to the Pirates’ Florida Complex League next week.
Arij Fransen, Cincinnati Reds. Netherlands.
Arizona League Reds.
Delson Guzman, Milwaukee Brewers. Spain.
Frank Hernandez, Chicago Cubs. Spain.
Viktor Vecerka, Kansas City Royals. Czechia.
 Formerly the Gulf Coast League.