Optimism is in every clubhouse as winter finally turns to spring. Find below the updated teams and levels for players born and/or developed in European baseball, with several still sweating through workouts in extended spring training while waiting for rookie ball to officially tally innings and at bats.
Before we dig deeper, let’s honor these European players whose professional careers are (at least temporarily) coming to an end.
Vadim Balan, Minnesota Twins. Moldova.
The first Moldovan to ever ink a pro baseball contract, this right-handed pitcher signed in 2015 and made one appearance that season. He missed 2016 with injuries and managed 11.2 innings pitched in 2017 before being released during spring training.
Taylor Clemensia, Minnesota Twins. Netherlands.
This lefty from Amsterdam was a strong two-way player for the Dutch u18 team before signing with the Twins in the spring of 2015. As a pitcher in their system, the 21 year old lefty threw 68 innings across the past two seasons, advancing to the short-season Appalachian League.
Ludovico Coveri, Philadelphia Phillies. Italy.
Signed in the spring of 2016, Coveri pitched parts of two seasons in the Dominican. He threw 65 official innings, 53 of them in 2017 with an ERA of 1.51 in 24 games.
Andy Paz, Oakland Athletics. France.
Paz was born in Cuba and moved to Toulouse by the time he was 12. The 25 year old catcher began his career in the Dominican Summer League in 2011, and he advanced to play Double-A the past two seasons. He’s a minor league free agent, planning to play independent ball in the US with the aim to latch on with an affiliated organization.
Claudio Scotti, Pittsburgh Pirates. Italy.
The Italian right-handed pitcher signed in the spring of 2016 and pitched two seasons in the Gulf Coast League. He logged 19 minor league innings.
Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees. Netherlands.
Current team: New York Yankees (MLB)
Gregorius has had a hot start to the new season, hitting in the heart of an explosive Yankees lineup. The shortstop has three home runs and two stolen bases. He’s solidified himself as a core player offensively and defensively for the 2017 playoff team.
Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins. Germany.
Current team: Minnesota Twins (MLB)
The Twins right fielder, born and raised in Berlin, has a .387 OBP through his first 8 games, walking 5 times while striking out three. He’s got a home run and two RBI.
Dovydas Neverauskas, Pittsburgh Pirates. Lithuania.
Current team: Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)
The first and only Lithuanian big leaguer, who debuted last season, made the opening day roster for the Pirates as a middle reliever. He’s had a tough start, with 5 runs allowed in his first 3.2 innings pitched.
Martin Cervenka, Baltimore Orioles. Czech Republic.
Current team: Bowie BaySox (Double-A)
Cervenka, a catcher from Prague originally signed by the Indians, entered the offseason as a minor league free agent. He came to terms with the San Francisco Giants before being selected by the Orioles in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. In five games thus far at Double-A, Cervenka has 7 hits, including two doubles.
Alex Liddi, Kansas City Royals. Italy.
Current team: Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Double-A)
Liddi, who debuted in the big leagues for the Seattle Mariners a couple of years ago, signed with the Royals as an amateur free agent and was assigned to Double-A to start the season. In three games he is 1-for-8 with a double and a RBI.
Tom de Blok, Detroit Tigers. Netherlands.
Current team: Lakeland Flying Tigers (High-A)
The Amstelveen righty moves up another level to High-A, after signing last spring and pitching in both rookie and full-season A-ball in 2017. He’s made a single start, pitching 3 innings while allowing 6 hits and 4 runs.
Alberto Mineo, Toronto Blue Jays. Italy.
Current team: Dunedin Blue Jays (High-A)
Mineo signed a new contract at the end of the 2017 season with the Cubs, the only professional organization he’s known. Like Martin Cervenka, he was then selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft – Mineo is now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He’s played one game so far in 2018, reaching base once on a walk.
Sven Schüller, Los Angeles Dodgers. Germany.
Current team: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (High-A)
Schueller returns to High-A, where he pitched the second half of the 2017 season. The German right-handed pitcher has yet to appear in a game this season.
Marten Gasparini, Kansas City Royals. Italy.
Current team: Lexington Legends (Low-A)
Gasparini returns to Lexington, where he’s played the last two seasons. He has 6 hits, 3 for extra bases, in his first 5 games. The switch-hitting outfielder has also stolen two bases.
Rookie – Short season teams begin their official schedules in June.
Pascal Amon, Los Angeles Dodgers. Germany.
Current team: AZL Dodgers (rookie)
Petru Balan, Minnesota Twins. Moldova.
Current team: GCL Twins (rookie)
Paul Brands, Pittsburgh Pirates. Netherlands.
Current team: Bristol Pirates (rookie)
Nadir Ljatifi, Cincinnati Reds. Germany.
Current team: Billings Mustangs (rookie)
Ernesto Wilson Martinez, Milwaukee Brewers. France.
Current team: AZL Brewers (rookie)
Anton Kuznetsov, Philadelphia Phillies. Russia.
Current team: GCL Phillies (rookie)
Marco van der Wijst, Houston Astros. Netherlands.
Current team: DSL Astros Orange (rookie).
Donny Breek, Minnesota Twins. Netherlands.
Marco Cardoso, Boston Red Sox. Germany.
Niklas Rimmel, Minnesota Twins. Germany.
Leonardo Seminati, Cincinnati Reds. Italy.