The 19-year-old German right-hander Markus Solbach has signed a contract with the Minnesota Twins organization this weekend. The hurler from the German Baseball-Bundesliga club Pulheim Gophers is currently in Australia playing for the Mulgrave Rebels. Twins International Scouting Director Howie Norsetter was on hand for the signing on Saturday.
“We’ve known about him for a while,” said Norsetter, a man who has been travelling the world in search of baseball talent for the past two decades.
“I see in Markus a projectable talent with positive attitude and great drive to succeed. He is athletic, has a good arm action and has a chance of throwing the ball consistently hard, with some decent breaking stuff.”
“His progression has been freakish,” Norsetter said. “He has grown 30 cm – or a foot – in the past year and has gained throwing velocity over the past few months alone.”
Now a towering 195 centimeters (nearly six feet five), Solbach has been clocked regularly since arriving in Australia prior to Christmas. His velocity has increased from 85 mph to the magical 90 mph – a remarkable acceleration and one that bodes well for future development.
Solbach is returning home to Germany later this month for a break. In April he will go to Fort Myers, Florida for extended spring training. In June and July, as well as next European winter he will again pitch in Australia before joining an affiliated minor league team of the Minnesota Twins next year according to the report.
To sign a German player is nothing new for the Europe friendly Twins. Solbach is going to be the fourth since 2001 after Tim Henkenjohann, Rodney Gessmann and Max Kepler-Rozycki. With Solbach, Kepler-Rozycki, Kai Gronauer (New York Mets), Donald Lutz (Cincinnati Reds) and Jennell Hudson (Boston Red Sox) there are currently five German players under contract with a MLB organization. Additonally Martin Dewald (Frontier League, River City Rascals) and Enorbel Marquez-Ramirez (Italian Baseball League, Telemarket Rimini) are playing professionally this year.