We all know by now which Dutchies (players from Curacao and Aruba) are playing in the Major Leagues. But there is a big number of Aruban, Curacaoan and Dutch players playing at several levels of the minors. Here is an overview from AA to A Full Sesaon.
After a rough spring training, Spencer Kieboom has been placed on the roster of the Harrisburg Senators. Kieboom was called up to the Washington Nationals at the end of the 2016 season and appeared in one game. He was placed on the 40-man roster to protect him from the rule 5 draft. During spring training the Nats acquired Joe Blanton and Spencer was placed on waivers to make room for Blanton on the 40-man roster.
Eventually, the Nats placed him on the roster of the Syracuse Chiefs (AAA). But now the Harrisburg Senators has presented their opening day roster, it becomes clear that Spencer will start the season at AA. Spencer spent the entire minor league season with the Senators in 2016. he hit .230/.324/.314. Behind the plate he had a better fielding percentage than the previous year but the percentage of thrown out base stealers sunk dramatically from 40% in 2015 to “only” 25% in 2016.
For the first time in his career, Jiandido Tromp will start the season higher than single A. Tromp will start the 2017 season with the Reading Fightin Phils, AA affiliation of the Philadelphia Phillies. This move to AA may come as a surprise as Jiandido split the 2016 season between A Full Season (Lakewood BlueClaws) and A-Advanced (Clearwater Threshers). At A-Advanced, he hit a modest .240/.290/.456. Jiandido smashed ten home runs in 217 at-bats. With the Threshers, Jiandido did not commit any errors in 44 games.
Also John Polonius has climbed the affiliation ladder. Even though he finished the season at AA with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, where he played three games, he spent the most part of the season with the Augusta GreenJackets (A Full Season), where he played 34 games. At A Full Season, John hit a modest .218/.283/.282. After his promotion to the Flying Squirrels, John went 2 for 3 with a triple. He was mainly used as a utility infielder. At third base, he had a perfect record at AA and A Full Season. At shortstop he committed one error in two games with the Flying Squirrels as he committed four in 23 games with the GreenJackets. With the GreenJackets he played one game at second base in which he committed one error.
Another player from Curacao that made a promotion to AA is Juremi Profar. Last season, Juremi had a very good season with the (now defunct) High Desert Mavericks, where he his .300/.355/.473. Used as a utility infielder, Juremi was one of the contributors of the team that won the California League championship in its final season. At first base, Juremi committed four errors in 46 games, at he committed three in ten games at second base and at third base he committed five in 45 games, resulting in respective .991, .923 and .944 fielding percentages. Juremi will start the season with the Frisco Rough Riders, the AA affiliaton of the Texas Rangers.
Even though the Pensacola Blue Wahoos did not release their opening day roster yet, it is very likely that Calten Daal will start the season at AA. His 2016 season was cut short to only fourty games due to a shoulder injury that kept him from playing until September. In those fourty games, Calten hit a smooth .310/ .356/ .379. In 31 games as a shortstop, Calten posted a .922 fielding percentage (9 errors).
Ademar Rifaela will play for the Baltimore Orioles Carolina League affiliate Frederick Keys. The 22-year old outfielder from Curacao comes from sub-par season in the South Atlantic League (A Full Season) in which he batted .239/.297/.420 for the Delmarva Shorebirds. On the defensive side, he did a good job as he committed only four errors in 88 games.
Another season at A-Advanced for Sicnarf Loopstok. Last year Sicnarf split the season between A Full Season Lake County and A-Advanced Lynchburg. This year he will start the season at Lynchburg. The biggest part of 2016 was spent with the Hillcats where he hit better than he did with the Captains. With the Hillcats, Sicnarf hit a respectable .281/.343//.382. Behind the plate, he posted a .994 fielding percentage with the Hillcats and he threw out 38% oft the potential base stealers.
After a great spring training in which he appeared in several games of the Atlanta Braves, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Ray-Patrick Didder was promoted to A-Advanced where he will play for the Florida FireFrogs. The former infielder was converted to outfielder and hit a decent .274/.387/.381 with the Rome Braves last year. As outfielder he committed six errors in 129 games at A Full Season, resulting in a .979 fielding percentage.
Gianfranco Wawoe will start the 2016 season at A-Advanced again, despite a very respectable 2016 season with the (now defunct) Bakersfield Blaze. With the Blaze, the 22-year old infielder from Curacao, hit a decent .288/ .343/ .391. In 92 games, Gianfranco committed quite some errors (20), resulting in a .950 fielding percentage. The Bakerfield Blaze left for the Carolina League, so the Seattle Mariners had to look for another farm team and bought a majority share of the Modesto Nuts.
Stijn van der Meer has made a nice promotion to the Buies Creek Astros after he split his short 2016 season between the GCL Astros and the Greenville Astros of the Appalachian League (Advanced Rookie). In the Gulf Coast League he teared apart the opponent’s pitching as he hit a whopping .667/ . 667/ 1.000. In the Appalachian League his slashline was still impressive as he hit .301/ .386/ .370. On the defensive side Stijn had a perfect record in the GCL but committed three errors in ten games with Greenville.
A Full Season
The fact that Carter Kieboom is placed on the roster of the Nats’ A Full Season affiliate, the Hagerstown Suns, is a sign that they have a lot of faith in him. Last season he was drafted by the Nationals and played 36 games at GCL level in which he batted .244/.323/.452. Carter was drafted as a solid shorstop, but during his first steps in professional baseball, he committed nine errors in 31 games, resulting in a .932 fielding percentage.
Kevin Josephina starts the 2017 season where he finished the 2016 season, with the Rome Braves. The infielder from Curacao split the 2016 season between the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League (Advanced Rookie) and the Rome Braves of the South Atlantic League. With Rome, Kevin hit .267/.259/.382 and sported a fielding percentage of .600 at third base (three games), .987 at second base (24 games) and .911 at shortstop (nine games).
Tom de Blok, who signed a four-year minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers a few days ago, will start the season with the West Michigan Whitecaps. This will be the second stint with an MLB organization for Tom. At the age of seventeen, he signed a contract with the Seattle Mariners at the age of seventeen, but due to a rough start as several of his personal belongings were stolen by a teammate, he returned to the Netherlands after two weeks. It does not happen often that a player will get another chance after leaving himself, but his good performance during the World Baseball Classic earned him a new chance.
Chris Pieters has been promoted to A Full Season after a “year” at A Short Season in 2016. With the Eugene Emeralds, the 22-year old outfielder from Curacao hit .246/ . 324/ .337.
On the defensive side, Pieters split some games between first base and outfield. In left field he posted a fielding percentage of .909 (3 errors in 28 games) and at first base Chris committed five erros in 39 games (.987).
It is very likely that Shairon Martis and Juan Carlos Sulbaran will play for the AAA teams of the Orioles and the Dodgers, but both teams did not release their roster yet. A lot of minor league clubs did not release their opening day roster yet so there will be plenty of additions to this list.