In the meantime this is kinda old news as it was published on the Facebook page of Curacao Neptunus, but I totally missed it.
The Dutch shortstop Stijn van der Meer, who was drafted in the 34h round of this year’s amateur draft, has signed a deal with the Houston Astros. According to the article of a local newspaper, Van der Meer will start with the Tri-City ValleyCats, the A Short Season affiliate of the Houston Astros in the New York – Penn League that celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
According to himself, Van der Meer will not get instant wealth as he will earn less than the minimum salary. But he will jump into this adventure with all of his heart.
But Van der Meer doesn’t want to be hanging on a string. He is 23, an age on which other players are in the Majors already. He signed the contract with the Astros on his own conditions. If the Astros think after one year that Stijn isn’t good enough, he wants them to fire him. Stijn doesn’t want to be stalled and be fired after four years, so that he can start all over again in the Netherlands at the age of 27.
As soon as the paperwork for his visa is filled out, he can leave for the US.
The fact that the Astros are sending him to A Short Season is a sign that they have some faith in the kid. Quite often foreigners start at Rookie level like the Gulf Coast League or Appalachian League, but it also has to do with his age. At the age of 23 Stijn is more matured than a 19-year old kid.