Yesterday, Tom de Blok threw some pitches in a test session for the Rakuten Golden Eagles. The 20-year old, hard throwing Dutch reliever has drawn the attention of the 2014 NPB champion from Sendai a while ago.
After the success of Rick van den Hurk with the Softbank Hawks, Japanese teams start to roam the European continent to see if they can find talented players there. This resulted in the interest of the Golden Eagles in Tom de Blok.
During the regular 2016 competition, Tom de Blok had one of the lowest ERAs of the Dutch hoofdklasse. De Blok posted a tiny 0.88 ERA next to a 5-0 record in 26 relief appearances. In just 41 innings he recorded 43 strikeouts and kept his opponents to an improbable low batting average of .153.
Yesterday De Blok threw thirty pitches under the watchful eye of the Golden Eagles staff.
Today Tom will face seceral batters in situational batting sessions.
If the Rakuten Golden Eagles sign De Blok it will be under a so called development contract. This means that he is participating in the training sessions and minor league games of the Ni-Gun team of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles and that he has to fight for a spot on the 70-man (!) roster of the club. Loek van Mil, who pitched for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2014 played under a similar contract. Van Mil pitched for the Ni-Gun team for the biggest part of the season but was called up to the Ichi-Gun or NPB team for which he posted a 0-1 record and a 4.15 ERA in seven appearances and 8.2 innings pitched.
If the Blok will stay in Japan, it will be quite a blow to his club L&D Amsterdam Pirates.