Newly signed European players this last month include Germany’s Niklas Rimmel and rumors of Netherlands’ Donny Breek (after a strong showing at the U18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay, Canada earlier in September). They’ll potentially take part in instructional league in the next few weeks, but will not officially debut until the 2018 season.
The minor league season is now complete, with Andy Paz winning his second consecutive Double-A title with the Midland Rockhounds and Martin Cervenka and the Lynchburg Hillcats winning a share of the Carolina League High-A title (after the deciding games were cancelled due to Hurricane Irma). It will be a crucial offseason for these players, as Paz, Cervenka, and Alberto Mineo (all catchers) will enter minor league free agency (unless they are placed on their teams’ 40-man rosters this winter, which seems unlikely in both cases).
Max Kepler and Didi Gregorius remain in the big league playoff race, while Dovydas Neverauskas finishes his big league debut season in the major league bullpen for the Pirates.
Didi Gregorius, New York Yankees. Netherlands.
Current team: New York Yankees (MLB)
Gregorius has hit 4 home runs in the last week, giving him 25 on the season – a new record for a Yankees’ shortstop. He’s at .291/.325/.495 on the year, with 27 doubles, 25 walks, and 67 strikeouts. He’s also stolen 2 bases in 3 attempts. The Yankees are all but certain to make the playoffs, with a 7 game lead in the wildcard race.
Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins. Germany.
Current team: Minnesota Twins (MLB)
Kepler’s Twins remain in the lead for the 2nd wild card in the American League. He’s hitting .241 with 18 home runs while playing right field. Kepler is going through a rough patch, with a .195 batting average in September.
Dovydas Neverauskas, Pittsburgh Pirates. Lithuania.
Current team: Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)
Neverauskas ended up bouncing between the big league bullpen and the Triple-A team five different times, sticking with the big club in the last week of August despite Indianapolis being in the playoffs. With about 10 days left in the MLB season, Neverauskas has appeared in 19 games for 21.1 innings. He has a 2.95 ERA with 6 walks and 15 strikeouts.
Andy Paz, Oakland Athletics. France.
Current team: Midland Rockhounds (AA)
Paz and his Rockhound teammates clinched Midland’s 4th consecutive Double-A title, Paz’s second with the team after a midseason promotion in 2016. He finished strong, with hits in 10 of his last 11 games of the season while playing time became more sporadic. He finished the season with 53 games played and 179 at bats, hitting .251/.303/.274.
Martin Cervenka, Cleveland Indians. Czech Republic.
Current team: Lynchburg Hillcats (High-A)
The 25-year-old catcher finished the season drenched in champagne as he hit a two-run double in the deciding game of the playoffs to put his team ahead 4-0 on their way to the High-A crown. He finished the season with 36 extra base hits in 112 games, hitting .278/.343/.418.
Sven Schüller, Los Angeles Dodgers. Germany.
Current team: Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (High-A)
Schueller finished his season with 35 appearances split between single-A and high-A after an early July promotion. He had a 2.74 ERA with 51 strikeouts and 34 walks while allowing just 56 hits in 72 innings.
Tom de Blok, Detroit Tigers. Netherlands.
Current team: West Michigan Whitecaps (Low-A)
After a four game rough patch in August, de Blok righted the ship and finished the year with a pair of 7 inning shutout performances. He threw 24 games and 82 innings, striking out 78 and walking 14 with a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 1.02. His ERA of 2.74 led to a 4-2 record with one save.
Marten Gasparini, Kansas City Royals. Italy.
Current team: Lexington Legends (Low-A)
Gasparini played 122 games for 406 at bats in his second season in Lexington. He had 31 extra base hits, 27 walks, 121 strikeouts, and was 18-for-29 in stolen base attempts. He finished the year hitting .227/.274/.355.
Alberto Mineo, Chicago Cubs. Italy.
Current team: South Bend Cubs (Low-A)
Mineo got 98 games and 349 at bats in South Bend, hitting .278/.374/.358. He had 24 extra base hits, 47 walks and 66 strikeouts while stealing 3 bases without being caught.
Pascal Amon, Los Angeles Dodgers. Germany.
Current team: AZL Dodgers (rookie)
Amon closed out his 41 game season with a 7 game hitless streak, dropping his batting average by 20 points to .230 (and on-base to .304). In 113 at bats, he managed 11 extra base hits while walking 11 times and striking out 38. He stole 2 bases in 5 attempts.
Petru Balan, Minnesota Twins. Moldova.
Current team: GCL Twins (rookie)
Balan finished his first professional season with 23.2 innings in 9 appearances, a 1-3 record and 7.23 ERA. He walked 19 and struck out 23.
Vadim Balan, Minnesota Twins. Moldova.
Current team: GCL Twins (rookie)
Vadim Balan ended the year on the disabled list. He made 9 appearances across 11.2 innings, and allowed earned runs in only his last outing in July. He did not pitch again. Balan walked 7 and hit 3 batters while striking out 9, allowing 9 hits.
Paul Brands, Pittsburgh Pirates. Netherlands.
Current team: Bristol Pirates (rookie)
The catcher from Hoofddorp played 32 official games and had 118 at bats. He hit .220/.311/.373 with 16 walks and 49 strikeouts. He had 11 extra base hits and a stolen base.
Taylor Clemensia, Minnesota Twins. Netherlands.
Current team: GCL Twins (rookie)
Clemensia made two scoreless appearances in the higher Appalachian League in addition to his 9 in the Gulf Coast League. Across 24.2 innings, the Amsterdam native had a 3.65 ERA and 2-3 record, walking 27 and striking out 25.
Ludovico Coveri, Philadelphia Phillies. Italy.
Current team: DSL Phillies Red (rookie)
Across 53.2 innings, Coveri put up a 1.51 ERA with 10 walks versus 37 strikeouts with a 1.02 WHIP. He had a 6-4 record with 5 saves.
Nadir Ljatifi, Cincinnati Reds. Germany.
Current team: Billings Mustangs (rookie)
Playing second base regularly down the stretch, Ljatifi finished the season with 69 at bats in 28 games. He hit .246/.316/.406 with 6 extra base hits, 7 walks, 18 strikeouts, and a stolen base.
Ernesto Wilson Martinez, Milwaukee Brewers. France.
Current team: AZL Brewers (rookie)
Martinez earned a promotion to the USA after a 38 game debut in the Dominican Summer League. He hit .257 with a .419 OBP in the DSL, and managed 7 hits in 11 games in Arizona. Martinez completed his first professional season with a .232/.383/.368 line in 49 games and 155 at bats. He had 14 extra base hits, 36 walks, 50 strikeouts, and 2 stolen bases in 5 attempts.
Anton Kuznetsov, Philadelphia Phillies. Russia.
Current team: GCL Phillies (rookie)
The lefty from Moscow had a stunning professional debut season, making 15 appearances and allowing only one earned run. He allowed 16 hits and 4 walks in 25.1 innings, striking out 24. He finished with a 2-1 record, 5 saves, and a 0.36 ERA.
Claudio Scotti, Pittsburgh Pirates. Italy.
Current team: GCL Pirates (rookie)
The Roman righty threw 13.1 innings in 8 appearances, with 12 hits, 10 walks, and 5 strikeouts. He had a 1-1 record and 2.70 ERA.
Marco van der Wijst, Houston Astros. Netherlands.
Current team: DSL Astros Orange (rookie)
van der Wijst finished his first pro season with a .273/.411/.394 slash line in 35 games and 99 at bats. He had 23 walks and 20 strikeouts.
Signed to 2018 minor league contracts:
Donny Breek, Netherlands.
Marco Cardoso, Boston Red Sox. Germany.
Niklas Rimmel, Minnesota Twins. Germany.
Leonardo Seminati, Cincinnati Reds. Italy.