For the first time in MLB history, a player from Lithuania has been placed on a team’s 40-man roster. The Pittsburgh Pirates placed Dovydas Neverauskas on their 40-man roster to keep him safe from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft. Apparently the Pirates are very high on him.
Neverauskas was signed by the Pirates, directly from Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania in 2009. Since then, Neverauskas worked his way up through the Pirates’ farm system.
In 2010 Neverauskas made his professional debut with the GCL Pirates. Eventually in 2012 he was promoted to the State College Spikes of the New York – Penn League (advanced rookie). In his first full year at advanced rookie (2013) he struggled as he posted a 4.01 ERA in 15 starts with a 4-4 record.
After he was promoted to A Full Season in 2014, he struggled a bit more with an ERA of 5.60. But eventually his career surged in 2015. He started the season in the New York – Penn League again but made some big strides to A Advanced via A Full Season. At three levels Neverauskas posted a combined ERA of 3.16.
His real breakthrough came in the past season as he split the year between AA and AAA.
At AA Altoona he posted a respectable 2.57 in 22 relief appearances. At AAA Indianapolis, Neverauskas appeared in 25 games and posted a 3.60 ERA.
Apparently Neverauskas has quite some talent as he pitched in the All Star Futures Game in San Diego this year.
Next to the fact that Neverauskas cannot be picked during the Rule 5 Draft, he will be under control of the Pirates. Since he has spent seven years in the minors, he would have become free agent next week.
The performance of Neverauskas proves that Europe is a continet with talented players.
Even though baseball is still a small sport in the Baltic state, it doesn’t mean that the sport isn’t developing.