Since I didn’t hear much about Loek van Mil and his preparation for the upcoming season, I decided to check the roster of the Minnesota Twins’ AAA affiliate, the Rochester RedWings.
Of course it was announced earlier this week that the Twins had sent Max Kepler to theirAAA farm team, but it didn’t ring a bell that Kepler and Van Mill would be team mates then. It doesn’t happen very often that a German player and a Dutch player are team mates.
Dutch native Van Mil is one of the few players that has been awarded a uniform number already: 48.
As a preparation on the upcoming season, Loek went downunder to pitch for the Adelaide Bite. He became the third player from the Kingdom of the Netherlands that played in the Australian Baseball League. The other two were Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorius and Danny Arribas. Arribas played for the Sydney Blue Sox in 2013 and Gregorius played for the Canberra Cavalry in 2010 as he won the award for the best defensive player.
Van Mil recorded a 2.93 ERA with a 3-2 record. He struck out nineteen and walked six. His opponents hit .246 with him on the mound.
Max Kepler spent almost the entire 2015 season with the Chattanooga Lookouts in the Southern League. In 112 games at AA level, he hit .322 with 131 (!) hits, 32 doubles, 13 triples and 9 homeruns. Thanks to his great performance he was called up at the end of the season. In three games Kepler hit a modest .143.
For Loek van Mil it is three years ago that he threw a pitch in affiliated ball. After the 2013 season, Loek signed a one-year contract with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the NPB in Japan. He spent most part at Ni-Gun level (Japanese minor leagues) but in the final weeks of the season he was called up. In 2015, Loek played for current Dutch champion, Curacao Neptunus. He made the final out of the Holland Series, thus clinching the Duch championship. Loek has spent time at AAA level, but in neither of the cases, his ERA was to write home about as it was above 6.00.
Max Kepler was born in Berlin out of an American mother and a Polish father. He attended the St. Emmeram Academy in Regensburg, where he also played for the Buchbinder Legionäre. In 2010 he debuted with the GCL Twins. After stops in Elizabethton, Cedar Rapids, Fort Myers and Chattanooga, Kepler was invited to participate in the All Star Futures Game in 2015.