The Netherlands was the biggest surprise of the 2009 WBC, defeating the Dominican Republic twice and advancing to the second round. Then, in the 2011 World Cup, they actually won the whole tournament, beating out the mighty Cubans in the finals. Clearly, the Dutch are the class of European baseball, and have taken their place as one of the finest baseball nations in the world… sort of.
I say “sort of” because the Netherlands is something of a misnomer. When you first hear of a Dutch baseball team, you might think that they are all from Holland, perhaps playing Honkbal (as baseball is called in Dutch) by windmills or dykes. However, that isn’t exactly true. You see, the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a far larger state than simply Holland. Several Caribbean countries, such as Curacao and Aruba, are part of the Netherlands. This isn’t to say that there aren’t baseball players from the European Netherlands- there are, and in fact one of the two professional baseball leagues in Europe is based there.
The Dutch figure to bring the majority of their previous international teams to the 2013 WBC, featuring players from the US Minors, the Dutch Hoofdklasse and perhaps a few Major Leaguers. They certainly won’t be favored to make noise in the tournament, but it’s unlikely that they will go quietly, and it’s possible that the Oranje just may again shock the world.
So, after much research, the Dutch national team can be found under the jump. The usual rules apply:
- Any player coming off a major injury or who has a history of injuries is unlikely to participate. This is especially true for the pitchers.
- Players that will be on new teams are less likely to participate, but shouldn’t be completely ignored, with the exception of pitchers.
- Teams are made up of 28 players, of which 13 of them must be pitchers and two of them catchers.
- The pitch count rules make relievers extremely important.
Manager: Brian Farley
Farley is a former Minor Leaguer who is now the coach for the Netherlands, where he has been a manager and part-time scout for years. He’ll be the manager at the upcoming European Championships, so probably will be the skipper at the WBC.
Catchers: Dan Arribas, Rudy Van Heydoorn, Quintin Cuba
Arribas is a Dutch-heritage catcher who is a catcher in the very low minors for the Pirates. The other two are Dutch Leaguers.
First Basemen: Curt Smith
Curt Smith is a Curacaoian in the Marlins organization.
Second Basemen: Jurickson Profar, Jon Schoop
Profar is only 19, is one of the top Rangers prospects, and was a two-time participant in the Little League World Series with Curacao. He also hit a home run in his first MLB at-bat. Schoop is in the Baltimore system.
Third Basemen: Hainley Statia
Statia is a 3B/SS in the Brewers’ organization.
Shortstops: Didi Gregorius, Xander Bogaerts
Gregorius is an Amsterdam-born SS who recently was a September call-up for the Reds. Bogaerts is an Aruban shortstop in the minors for the Red Sox, who played in this year’s Futures Game.
Andrelton Simmons isn’t included due to some injury problems this season.
Utility: Yurendell de Caster, Nick Urbanus
De Caster had a cup of coffee in ’06 with the Pirates but now is a baseball nomad who is currently playing in the Indy Leagues. He can play basically any infield position. Nick Urbanus is a middle-infielder in the Texas organization.
Outfielders: Roger Bernadina, Andruw Jones, Kalian Sams, Danny Rombley
Roger Bernadina is from Curacao, and is probably the best position player in MLB who could be in the WBC. Well, unless this Jurickson Profar kid gets better even faster.
Andruw Jones is, well, Andruw Jones. Technically, he’s signed to be a NY Yankee next season, but he hasn’t been hitting well, so it’s entirely possible he’ll be out of a job and needing to play in the WBC as an audition.
Sams is in the Mariners’ organization. Rombley once was in the Expos system, and now plays in Holland.
Starters: Rick Vanden Hurk, Shairon Martis, Tom Stuifbergen, Rob Cordesmans, David Bergman, J.C. Sulbaran
Vanden Hurk has pitched in parts of five MLB seasons but is currently in the Pirates system in AAA. He pitched for the 2009 team, and probably will again, unless he gets a shot at a big-league rotation. Shairon Martis threw a mercy-rule-shortened no-hitter in the 2006 tournament, is now in the Twins system, and will be pitching for the Dutch in this month’s European Championships. Stuifbergen is another Twins farmhand, a veteran of several international tournaments.
Continuing on in the roster, there is Rob Cordesmans, a longtime staple of Dutch teams and one of the greatest pitchers in the history of Holland’s Hoofdklasse (Major League). Berman is also a member of Hoofdklasse. Sulbaran is in the Royals’ system.
As you’ll notice, there are more starters on this roster than in some of the others. That’s because probably a few of them would be possible relievers as well.
Jair Jurrjens isn’t included due to injuries.
Relievers: Loek Van Mil, Arshwin Asjes, Leon Boyd, Diegomar Markwell, Berry Van Driel, Orlando Yntema, Kevin Heijstek
Loek Van Mil is a towering 7’1” reliever now in the Cleveland organization, so will probably be the tallest guy in the 2013 WBC. Arshwin Asjes pitches in Holland. Leon Boyd is a Canadian who holds Dutch citizenship, and has pitched for their team and in their league in the past, including a stint during the 2009 WBC that was impressive enough that the Blue Jays signed him to a contract for a time.
Markwell pitched in the Jays’ system around the turn of the century and has since then pitched in Holland. He’s a left-hander out of the bullpen who pitched in the ’09 WBC and other international competitions. Berry Van Driel, Orlando Yntema (a Dominican of Dutch ancestry) and Heijstek are all in the Hoofdklasse.
Kenley Jansen isn’t included due to the fact he is due to have heart surgery in the off-season to fix an irregular heartbeat.
So, there’s my projection for the Dutch roster. If anybody out there wants to make any suggestions or critiques, feel free.