The first European team in winter league baseball, the ORKAS BBC announced their roster for the upcoming season. Currently are six players from the Netherlands listed on the roster plus a bunch of guys, who have played in Europe the past season. Original the plan was to bring a complete European team to Venezuela, but they decided to fill the roster with local Venezuelan and Colombian players to have a chance in the competitive Liga Paralela against 14 other teams, including affiliates of Major League organization. The tryout was completed on Monday and they hope to announce the team by Wednesday.
The most known Dutch player is pitcher Jurjen van Zijl of the DOOR NEPTUNUS from the Hoofdklasse in Holland. He posted a 4-1 record with an ERA of 4.10 in 41.2 innings pitched during the 2008 regular season and struck out 39, while walking 23. He will accompanied by some prospects from his home country. Pitchers Shane Gnade (ALMERE MAGPIES), Steven van Groningen (ALCMARIA VICTRIX), Jeremy Ishak (JEKA), infielder Sytse Visbeen (ALMERE MAGPIES) and outfielder/catcher Stefan Hoogewerff (ALMERE MAGPIES) will also make the trip. They are scheduled to arrive at the trainings facility next week.
In addition several well-known players in European baseball are also on board. Pitcher Erik Hufnagel impressed with the NAMUR ANGELS this summer. Also playing in the Belgian first division were infielder Rickey Thomas (BRASSCHAAT BRAVES) and one of the most dangerous hitters in Europe this year, outfielder Bryon Bell (PORT OF ANTWERP GREYS). The pitching staff is further highlighted by Major League prospects Miguel Martinez (FLORIDA MARLINS), Luis Camacaro (CLEVELAND INDIANS) and Pedro Bastida (MINNESOTA TWINS).
The coaching staff features besides manager Pedro Rafael Zapata from the FLORIDA MARLINS, Jose Castillo, who pitched in Belgium in 2007 and was a player coach with the SCHWAZ TIGERS in the Austrian Baseball League this summer.
The ORKAS will start into their debut season in the Liga Paralela on October 14 against the TAMPA BAY RAYS affiliate. The season lasts till December 19.