Major League teams had to set their 40-man rosters for the offseason and the Rule-5-Draft on Friday. It is usually a big day for minor league players, as this means an automatic invitation to Major League Spring Training. And it was for European Baseball, as the Cincinnati Reds added Dutch shortstop Mariekson Gregorius and German first baseman/outfielder Donald Lutz to the 40-man roster.
The 21-year-old Gregorius, awarded with numerous best defensive player awards in the last couple of years, made the jump from High-A Bakersfield Blaze to Double-A Carolina Mudcats this year, batting a combined .289/.324/.429 with seven homeruns, four triples, 18 doubles, 48 runs and 44 RBI in 84 games this year.
The 22-year-old Lutz had some sort of coming out year in 2011. Playing full-season ball for the first time in his professional career, he went .301/.358/.492 with 20 homeruns, three triples, 23 RBI, 85 runs scored and 75 RBI in 123 games. His season also was highlighted by walk-off homeruns and hitting for the cycle.
No longer on a 40-man roster is Dutch right-hander Loek van Mil. The Los Angeles Angels out-righted him to the Salt Lake Bees. He had spent the whole year with the Arkansas Travelers. He was 3-5 with an ERA of 2.05 in 30 games. He struck out 46 batters in 66 1/3 innings, walking 23.