Europe's All Star Lineup

June 16, 2017

With the arrival of June, the summer baseball season is now in full swing with everyone except the Gulf Coast League have begun their season.

 

More than one of your favorite players from home received an All Star ballot nomination this year. You'll find their names marked with a *. There is online voting available until June 29th so there's still time to help your hometown hero be part of the 2nd biggest game of the season!

 

As we head into the break for some, and into the heart of the season for others, let's see who's future is looking bright and how many guys may be packing their bags for good.

 

 

Belgium

Sam Buelens, Antwerp

Team: DSL Blue Jays

League: Dominican Summer League – Foreign Rookie

Parent Club: Toronto Blue Jays - NL

Position: 2nd/RF

2017 Highlights: The 2017 season is just 12 games old in the Dominican Summer League. As of now, Buelens has not played a game but his minor league status still remains active so we'll have to wait and see what happens between now and next month. As we mentioned pre-season, this was the year Buelens would have to prove himself to stay in the MLB system so we'll be watching his transactions board closely in the coming weeks.

 

 

France

 

Andy Paz, Toulousain

Team: Midland RockHounds 

League: Texas League - AA

Parent Club: Oakland Athletics - AL

Position: Catcher

2017 Highlights: Through 33 games Paz continues to have a respectable season in AA. He's batting .257, which is right on schedule for someone in their first year on a new level. He's had 13 RBIs and has walked 12 times so he's showing some maturity at the plate which is always great to see in a young hitter. His entire average, with the exception of two doubles, is built on singles which is another indicator of his understanding of the game and how to contribute at the plate. Defensively, the catcher is still learning. He's committed four errors while catching 11 between the bags. 

 

Germany

 

Aaron Altherr, Landstuhl

Team: Philadelphia Phillies

League: MLB - NL

Parent Club: Philadelphia Phillies

Position: OF

2017 Highlights: Altherr's bat has cooled down to a respectable .286 midway through the season. He continues to hit them hard with 15 doubles a triple and 11 homeruns making up 50% of his hits. Aaron has batted in 36 while walking 17 times. Hit total strikeouts make up 28% of his at bats but, factoring in his walks, this is better than average for a slugger. On the field Altherr has played most of his games at left and holds a .984 fielding percentage having committed his only error of the season in that spot. He can still be seen in right quite often and, on occasion has filled the gap in center making him a true utility player. 

 

Pascal Amon, Ingolstadt

Team: Dodgers1

League: Dominican Summer League – Foreign Rookie

Parent Club: Los Angeles Dodgers - NL

Position: CF

2017 Status: Last we saw Pascal he was hanging out at extended spring training with fellow countryman Nadir Ljatifi. According to DSL statistics, he has yet to take the field in the DR. No word yet on whether he's been reassigned to another club. 

 

Edwin Jackson, Neu-Ulm

Team: Norfolk Tides 

League: International League 

Parent Club: Baltimore Orioles - AL 

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: On June 13, 2017, after just 5 innings over 3 starts where he amassed a 7.20 ERA, the 14-year veteran was handed his walking papers by the Os. Edwin remains a free agent looking for a home but, with a career 4.65 ERA and a rough showing this season, this time the 33-year old is definitely working from behind in the count of his career.

 

 

*Max Kepler, Berlin

Team: Minnesota Twins

League: MLB - NL

Parent Club: Minnesota Twins

Position: RF

2017 Highlights: Kepler continues to show his strength and growth as a player. He's posting a .255 average which includes 14 doubles, a triple and 8 homeruns. On the field he's committed two errors at right on the season but is still responsible for 128 putouts this year between right and center. As the star by his name indicates, he has been named to the 2017 All Star ballot.

 

Nadir Ljatifi, Dortmund

Team: AZL Reds

League: Arizona League – Rookie

Parent Club: Cincinnati Reds - NL

Position: 3rd

2017 Highlights: The AZL has begun but Ljatifi has yet to make an appearance in 2017. There have been rumors he has a spot on a short season rookie team this year but that season does not begin for another few days and his name has yet to appear on their roster.

 

Bruce Maxwell, Weisbaden

Team: Nashville Sounds

League: Pacific Coast League - AAA

Parent Club: Oakland Athletics - AL

Position: Catcher

2017 Highlights: Maxwell spent 11 days in the bigs in early May before being optioned back to the Sound. Just five days after that he was added to the DL. On June 14th he was activated from the DL so we'll have to wait and see if his body can hold out long enough this month to produce. When he's been healthy he's batted .304 in AAA and .211 in the majors. On the field he's accumulated 178 putouts over 25 games in both leagues for an average of 7/game, including the 9 guys he's caught stealing.

 

Sven Schüller, Wuppertal

Team: Great Lake Loons

League: Midwest League – Class A Full Season

Parent Club: Los Angeles Dodgers - NL

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: It looks like Sven has settled in nicely as the season marches on. He's backed his ERA down to a 1.67 over 19 games. Last season he threw a total of 19 games and is currently one strikeout higher with an ERA half the size on this season's totals. This sets him up well for another mid-season promotion. If Sven keeps up his current rate of advancement our only concern would be the health of his arm. He's been playing nearly a year straight now but he seems to be thriving as time is added on. This is generally a big hurdle for advancement of European players. Still only 20 years old we've seen a lot of physical growth from the hurler this off season as well. If Schüller can maintain pace he could be looking at the majors faster than anyone might expect.

 

Italy

 

Marten Gasparini, Ruda

Team: Lexington Legends

League: South Atlantic League - A

Parent Club: Kansas City Royals - AL

Position: OF

2017 Highlights: Gasparini has finally found his swing. Hitting .225 he's increased his average significantly in the last month and is on pace to eclipse his full season average of last year by July. 32% of what he's putting into play results in extra bases. He's got 26 RBIs off 46 hits with 73 total bases including 8 doubles, 2 triples and 5 homeruns. He's struck out 53 times while walking 17 times and he's stolen 8 while getting caught up 7 times. In the field he seems to have found a home at center. This is not surprising given his speed. He has just three errors on the season, which is a huge improvement over his previous years at short. He took two of those Es into this month, so he's cut his 2017 average in half. He's also had 131 putouts in the outfield this year. That's one shy of his total for the season at short last year and he still has two months of ball to play. The numbers are definitely working in his favor at his new spot. We can expect that, as his confidence continues to grow the only thing holding him to A ball will be his batting average. Gasparini just turned 20 at the end of May. He's been working hard to grow his mental game, along with his skillset, and the work seems to be paying off. We're looking forward to seeing what kind of power might yet come from him as he matures.

 

Alberto Mineo, Gorzia

Team: South Bend Cubs

League: Midwest League – A 

Parent Club: Chicago Cubs - NL

Position: C/1B

2017 Highlights: Mineo is hitting .296 in A ball with no homeruns on his line. This is a huge jump over last year's totals when he finished the season with a respectable .237. Considering he spent time on the DL early in May and has already played in more games this season than all of last, this is a good sign for the 22-year old. On the field he's splitting his time between 1st and time behind the plate. He's still got some skills work to do, having committed 5 errors this season to date. If he can get his glove under the ball and his bat stays this hot, we can expect a late season move.

 

Lithuania

 

Dovydas Neverauskas, Vilnius

Team: Indianapolis Indians  

League: International League – AAA

Parent Club: Pittsburgh Pirates – NL

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: At this point Neverauskas is becoming a pro-packer. He's been recalled by the Pirates twice for a total of four days on an MLB roster. The parent club had a rough start to the season and it's clear they're looking to Neverauskas to help them out in the coming years. The parent club is accustom to high ERAs from their staff. Only 6 of their 17 pitchers have an ERA below 4.00. That they are giving Dovydas workouts on the top level tells us that they are less concerned about his ERA and more interested in getting him accustom to facing more developed players. The 24-year old is likely at his own physical maturity now and the rest is just getting used to seeing the talent. The more confidence they can instill in the rookie while there is nothing on the line, either for the team or his career, the more likely he'll be a stronger pitcher for them in 2018. His ERA in both organizations is fairly high, especially for a reliever. He's posting a 3.45 in AAA and a 5.40 with Pittsburgh. He appears to be a pitcher that throws strikes and depends on his fielders to have his back. He'll need to work on placement of the pitches to help them out. He's not giving up dingers and they aren't committing errors so the club is likely building trust between the two sides to foster better future outcomes.

 

Modolva

 

Vadim Balan, Tiraspol

Team: GCL Twins – Rookie

League: Gulf Coast League

Parent Club: Minnesota Twins - AL

Position: RHP

2017 Status: Opening day in the Gulf Coast League begins on June 26th so you'll have to check back next month to see how Balan is doing. 

 

 

Netherlands

 

 

Paul Brands, Haarlem

Team: GCL Pirates

League: Gulf Coast League - Rookie

Parent Club: Pittsburgh Pirates - NL

Position: C

2017 Status: Opening day in the Gulf Coast League begins on June 26th.

 

Taylor Clemensia, Amsterdam

Team: GCL Twins

League: Gulf Coast League – Rookie

Parent Club: Minnesota Twins - AL

Position: LHP

2017 Status: Opening day in the Gulf Coast League begins on June 26th.

 

*Sir Didi Gregorius, Amsterdam

Team: New York Yankees

League: MLB – AL

Parent Club: New York Yankees

Position: SS

2017 Highlights: Rehab's over. Shoulder's fine. At least according to Didi's batting average. Currently hitting .333 with nearly 200 plate appearances, on the season he's accumulated 58 hits, including 10 doubles and 6 homeruns, while driving in 25. In the field he's posting a .994 fielding percentage with just 1 error.

 

Matz Schutte, Almere

Team: GCL Twins

League: Gulf Coast League – Rookie

Parent Club: Minnesota Twins

Position: RHP

2017 Status: Schutte is awaiting assignment for the 2017 season.

 

 

Kingdom of the Netherlands

 

Nelmerson Angela, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: DSL Mets2

League: Dominican Summer League - Rookie

Parent Club: NY Mets - NL

Position: LHP

2017 Highlights: Angela is back with the Mets this season but he's been assigned to team 2 this year. Both teams are rookie level ball so this is a lateral move for Nelmerson. Over two games he's pitched 5.2 innings posting a 1.59 and recording two saves.  

 

*Xander Jan Bogaerts, Oranjestad Aruba

Team: Boston Red Sox

League: MLB - AL

Parent Club: Boston Red Sox

Position: IF – SS, 3B

2017 Highlights: Bogaerts is one of three infielders from the Kingdom included on this year's All Star ballot. He's currently hitting .320 with 18 doubles, 4 triples and 2 homeruns. At short he's recorded 82 putouts while committing 6 errors for a .975 fielding percentage. 

 

Rachid Engelhardt, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: DSL Orioles

League: Dominican Summer League – Rookie

Parent Club: Baltimore Orioles - AL

Position: OF

2017 Highlights: Engelhardt has been assigned to the DSL Orioles to start the 2017 season. This is a step up from rookie ball where he spent last season. We'll have to wait a bit to find out how he's doing in the new club as he has yet to record any playing time. 

 

Kenley Jansen, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

League: MLB – NL

Parent Club: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: On June 11th Jansen recorded his 200th save making him one of only 19 pitchers to ever record all 200 with the same franchise. What's more, he's done it in such a short span of time. While he is neither the youngest nor fastest to get there, he is not yet halfway through his 7th MLB season with the Dodgers. Through 27 games this season, where he's pitched 27.2 innings and recorded 13 saves, Jansen has yet to walk a batter while flagging 45. His current ERA is just .98. At just 29 years old, he could just be hitting his stride as a hurler.

 

Jair Jurrjens, Santa Maria Curaçao

Team: Oklahoma City Dodgers

League: Pacific Coast League - AAA

Parent Club: Los Angeles Dodgers - NL

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: After being given a second chance at the bigs Jurrjens has been suspended from the game. He will be out 80 games without pay after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. According to the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, the 31-year old tested positive on Thursday, June 15th, for exogenous Testosterone, a performance-enhancer that is banned under the MiLB Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Prior to the suspension he was posting a 4.64ERA in 10 starts where he struck out 44 in 54 1/3 innings.

 

Shairon Martis, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: Unknown

League: Unknown

Parent Club: Baltimore Orioles

Position: RHP

2017 Highlights: Since Martis' April 6, 2017, free agency deal with the Orioles, the 30-year old has been missing from all active rosters associated with the club.

 

Ryan Oduber, Oranjestad Aruba

Team: Lowell Spinners

League: New York-Penn League - Short A

Parent Club: Boston Red Sox - AL

Position: LHP

2017 Highlights: Oduber has been moved up to the minors. On June 13, 2017 he was reassigned from the Gulf Coast league, where he's spent the last two season on the rookie level, the class A short season Spinners. Season will begin on June 19th.

 

Jurickson Profar, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: Texas Rangers

League: MLB – AL

Parent Club: Texas Rangers

Position: Utility

2017 Highlights: On April 30, 2017, Profar was sent back down to AAA after a rough start to the 2017 season with the Rangers. He posted a  .137 average with the club during his time in the Bigs with a perfect fielding percentage. Jurickson spent several games in left, as well as at least one game in every infield position before the move. The 24-year old wasn't seeing a great deal of action on the big bench so coaches sent him down to AAA to help him get his play time in. There he played in 20 games where he hit .267 and continued his infield rotation. He committed 5 errors at short but otherwise remained perfect. On June 9th, the call came and Profar is, once again in the bigs... for now.

 

 

*Jonathan Schoop, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: Baltimore Orioles

League: MLB - AL

Parent Club: Baltimore Orioles

Position: 2B

2017 Highlights: The All-Star nominee is hitting .286 through 231 plate appearances with 20 doubles and 11 homeruns while striking out just 22% of the time. All Star team or not, he's certainly making a strong showing for the Silver Slugger Award. His bat might be working to his advantage. On the field the 2nd baseman has committed 8 errors and completed only 48% of his chances to putout the opposition.

 

Sharlon Schoop, Willemstad Curaçao

Team: Aberdeen IronBirds

League: New York-Penn League - Short A

Parent Club: Baltimore Orioles - AL

Position: SS

2017 Highlights: On June 10th Schoop was demoted to short season A ball. This is his third club this season and the progression gets worse with each assignment. In AAA he was swinging .167 before being moved down to AA where he was averaging .348. In A ball the 30-year old will be, on average, 10 years older than his competition. We hope he doesn't hurt anyone with his swing at that level. The move is a bit confusing given his batting average and the fact that, on the field he's not committing errors. He is also not seeing a lot of playtime between the clubs having played just 8 games in each organization so far this season. Clubs don't often keep guys his age around on any level but to place him on a short-season roster tells us they may be holding onto him for someone's post season.

 

*Andrelton Simmons, Mundo Nobo Curaçao

Team: Angels of Anaheim

League: MLB – NL

Parent Club: Angels of Anaheim

Position: SS

2017 Highlights: Simmons' slump appears to be over. After dropping his average nearly .50 points between the WBC and the opening month of season, Andrelton's average is back up to a respectable .277 that includes 14 doubles and 7 homeruns along with 30 RBIs. On the field the potential All Star shortstop has committed 8 errors dropping his fielding percentage to .973 thanks, in large part, to his 186 assists and 98 putouts to-date.

 

Chadwick Tromp, Oranjestad, Aruba

Team: Daytona Tortugas

League: Florida State League – A Advanced

Parent Club: Cincinnati Reds – NL

Position: Catcher

2017 Highlights: Tromps bat is still on fire. Through 111 plate appearances he's averaging .315. He's racked up only 8 doubles and a homerun to help his totals. With 23 RBIs and 35 hits, along with 9 runs, there is really no one thing working to his advantage at the plate. He's walked only 7 times but has also struck out 22 times. The catcher is posting a .984 fielding percentage over 104 innings. If the 22-year old continues this pace and is able to display the appropriate maturity in the position, we can expect a move either before the second half of the season begins or early next year. Because of the need to be seen by the team as a leader it is unlikely a catcher would get moved up late in the season for playoffs.

 

Another month in the season is already behind us but you still have time to vote! Cast your All Star ballot and check back to if your favorite player makes the team in July.

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