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Mar '15 24

Mister-Baseball’s European Top 15 Minor Leaguers



For the first time ever there will be a ranking of the best European Minor Leaguers. After polling selected scouts and coaches in European Baseball we introduce Mister-Baseball’s European Top 15 Minor Leaguers. We’re planning to make this an annual feature, which hopefully gets extended throughout the years, as more and more players get developed in Europe and sign with MLB Organizations.

While Alex Liddi and Donald Lutz are technically still Minor League players, we’ve decided not to rank them among the other Minor Leaguers, as both already have reached the big leagues and therefore no longer are considered as prospects, but more or less established professional baseball players. Liddi and Lutz broke the barrier, becoming the first two European players to reach Major League Baseball after being developed in Europe.

Honorary Category

Donald Lutz Donald Lutz The 26-year-old made his professional debut in 2008 and his MLB debut in 2013. The past two seasons he has split time between Double-A, Triple-A and MLB. He received another option in his contract this winter and therefore won’t need to be send through waivers if he is optioned back to the minors.
Germany
Cincinnati Reds
OF/1B
Level in 2014: MLB
Alex Liddi Alex Liddi The 26-year-old made his professional debut in 2006 after being signed by the Seattle Mariners and his MLB debut in 2011. Since then he jumped between Triple-A and MLB, as well as different organizations. Following stints with the White Sox and the Dodgers he signed with the Royals this winter.
Italy
Kansas City Royals
IF
Level in 2014: AAA

Breaking down Mister-Baseball’s European Top 15 Minor Leaguers it shouldn’t be a surprise that players from the Netherlands make up the majority with 6 of the 15 players. However Germany and Italy dominate the top of the ranking. Overall 5 different countries and 9 different MLB organizations have been included.

Max Kepler (Germany/Minnesota Twins), who is on the verge of becoming the next Major Leaguer developed in Europe, is leading the standings. The only 40-man roster player on the list is the clear number one, followed by the group of high-priced prospect Marten Gasparini (Italy/Kansas City Royals), Lars Huijer (Netherlands/Chicago Cubs) and Alberto Mineo (Italy/Chicago Cubs).

Right-handers Markus Solbach (Germany/Arizona Diamondbacks) and Sven Schueller (Germany/Los Angeles Dodgers) came in at fifth and sixth. Nick Urbanus (Netherlands/Texas Rangers), Marek Minarik (Czech Republic/Pittsburgh Pirates), Dovydas Neverauskas (Lithuania/Pittsburgh Pirates) and Rachid Engelhardt (Netherlands/Baltimore Orioles) conclude the Top 10.

The last five spots belong to the three Dutch players Matz Schuette (Netherlands/Minnesota Twins), Daniel Arribas (Netherlands/Pittsburgh Pirates) and Misja Harcksen (Netherlands/Los Angeles Dodgers), as well as Maik Ehmcke (Germany/Arizona Diamondbacks) and Martin Cervenka (Czech Republic/Cleveland Indians).

Andy Paz (France/Oakland Athletics), Federico Celli (Italy/Los Angeles Dodgers) and Milan Post (Netherlands/Milwaukee Brewers) barely missed out on cracking the Top 15.

Mister-Baseball’s European Top 15 Minor Leaguers

1

Max Kepler Max Kepler The 22-year-old started his professional career in 2010. He has steadily moved up through the Twins farm system and is expected to be in Double-A in 2015. At the end of 2013 he was added to the 40-man roster of the Twins.
Germany
Minnesota Twins
OF/1B
Level in 2014: A+

2

Marten Gasparini Marten Gasparini The 17-year-old played his first professional baseball season last year, splitting time between the Appalachian and the Pioneer League at the Rookie level.
Italy
Kansas City Royals
IF
Level in 2014: Rk

3

Lars Huijer Lars Huijer The 21-year-old was signed by the Seattle Mariners and made his professional debut for the same organization in 2011. Thanks to strong 2012 and 2013 seasons he received prospect status in the US and was traded to the Chicago Cubs this past winter.
Netherlands
Chicago Cubs
RHP
Level in 2014: A+

4

Alberto Mineo Alberto Mineo The 20-year-old starting catcher for the Italian National Team has been playing professional baseball since 2012. Last year he split time between first base and behind the plate.
Italy
Chicago Cubs
C
Level in 2014: Rk

5

Markus Solbach Markus Solbach The 23-year-old first signed with the Twins in 2011 after a stint in the Australian Baseball League. Following his release he joined the independent league circuit, impressed the scouts and found a new home in affiliated ball with the Diamondbacks.
Germany
Arizona Diamondbacks
RHP
Level in 2014: A

6

Sven Schueller The 19-year-old got signed in 2013 and made his professional debut in 2014. Would have played in the European Championship if he had received clearance from the Dodgers.
Germany
Los Angeles Dodgers
RHP
Level in 2014: Rk

7

Nick Urbanus Nick Urbanus After a full season with L&D Amsterdam the 22-year-old signed with the Rangers and made his professional debut in 2011. He is from a baseball family and has played mostly at second, third and short in pro ball.
Netherlands
Texas Rangers
IF
Level in 2014: A

8

Marek Minarik Marek Minarik The 21-year-old first signed with the Phillies, played two seasons with the organization in the Gulf Coast League. He got released and got picked up by the Pirates, where he reached Low-A last season. Pitched for Czech Republic in European Championship last year.
Czech Republic
Pittsburgh Pirates
RHP
Level in 2014: A-

9

Dovydas Neverauskas DovydasNeverauskas The 22-year-old made his professional debut in 2010 and is slowly moving up in the Pirates farm system. He started in 26 games in the Sally League in his first full season last year.
Lithuania
Pittsburgh Pirates
RHP
Level in 2014: A

10

?????????? Rachid Engelhardt The 19-year-old played two seasons for Corendon Kinheim in the Dutch Hoofdklasse and impressed scouts with his play for the Dutch National Teams at the cadets and junior level. Made his professional debut last year in the DSL.
Netherlands
Baltimore Orioles
OF
Level in 2014: Rk

11

Matz Schütte Matz Schütte The 17-year-old got signed last September after being the most coveted European prospect in 2014. He is one of five players from the Dutch U18 National Team, which played in the 2013 European Championship in Prague to be signed by a MLB club.
Netherlands
Minnesota Twins
RHP
Level in 2014: –

12

Maik Ehmcke Maik Ehmcke The 20-year-old nearly stopped his playing career two years ago. He made huge strides in his development, signed with the Diamondbacks and made his debut in pro baseball last year bypassing the Arizona Summer League.
Germany
Arizona Diamondbacks
OF/1B
Level in 2014: Rk

13

Martin Cervenka Martin Cervenka The 22-year-old debuted in professional baseball in 2011 following two stints playing baseball in Australia. He played just 25 games in 2014 due to an injury.
Czech Republic
Cleveland Indians
C
Level in 2014: A

14

Daniel Arribas Daniel Arribas The 22-year-old signed in 2011 and debuted in the same year for the Pirates in the Dominican Summer League. During his pro career he also has seen time at first and third base.
Netherlands
Pittsburgh Pirates
C
Level in 2014: Rk

15

Misja Harksen Misja Harcksen The 19-year-old is another member of the famous Dutch U18 National Team from 2013 on the list. He signed with the Dodgers in 2013 and debuted in professional baseball last year in the Arizona Summer League.
Netherlands
Los Angeles Dodgers
RHP
Level in 2014: Rk

Selected scouts from various MLB organizations and coaches of U18 national team programs and academies in Europe were asked to contribute to the list. Each was supposed to hand in their top 10 of current European minor leaguers. Only players, which have been developed in Europe, were considered for the ranking.




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