With the season over, it is time to look to the upcoming season. In the Major Leagues the hot stove is heating up. Many Dutch baseball fans are looking forward to the upcoming World Baseball Classic. We all expect certain players on the roster of the Dutch squad, but is there anything sure yet?
Last week it was announced that Jonathan Schoop will join the team for sure. His name was announced together with a couple of other MLB players like Max Scherzer, who will join team USA.
Schoop debuted in the World Baseball Classic in 2013 after he had played for the Dutch squad in 2011 when the team clinched the world championship.
In parts of four MLB seasons, Jonathan .251 with 348 hits, 73 doubles a triple and 57 homeruns. In 2013 he showed that he has some pop in his bat when he hit a towering homerun vs Australia in the preliminary rounds of the WBC. In the last four seasons, he was bothered by some nagging injuries but last season he played all 162 games in which he hit .267.
Another player that may/will join the team, even though it hasn’t been announced officially, is Wladimir Balentien. A friend of mine made a bold move yesterday by asking him through FB messenger if he will play in the 2017 WBC and his answer was affirmative.
So far these two are the only players of which we know that they will participate.
But perhaps there may be surprising candidate. According to Korean the Nexen Heroes found out that their former ace, US born Andy van Hekken, has the right to play for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Born in Holland in the state of Michigan a Dutch link cannot be denied. In the two years that Rick van den Hurk played for the Samsung Lions, the two were fierce competitors and pretty much each other’s match. Van Hekken pitched in five games for the Detroit Tigers in 2002. Despite having a 1-3 record his ERA was rather decent (3.00).
In five seasons in the KBO, Van Hekken posted 58 wins and 32 losses. In those years his ERA was steady in the 3.00 range. But in 2016 he moved to Japan to join the Chiba Lotte Marines but with that club he struggled as he went 0-4 in ten starts with a 6.71 ERA. His WHIP was also rather high with 1.86.
Even though his numbers in Japan were not that impressive, he may be very usefull for the Dutch team. It remains to be seen if he wants to join the Dutch squad. It will be his only chance to perform at such a big stage for sure.