Categorized | Europe, Minors

Italian Tops 2010 European Prospects

UNITED STATES – Italian infielder Alex Liddi (Seattle Mariners) and German catcher Kai Gronauer (New York Mets) continue to set the standard for European baseball prospects toiling in the United States minor leagues. Liddi remains one of the top offensive threats from the old continent, while Gronauer is also enjoying success inside the batter’s box in 2010.

The 21-year-old Liddi (pictured), who is the first Italian-born position player to play professional baseball in the United States, enjoyed a break-out season in 2009 with a league-leading .345 batting average with 23 home runs and 104 RBIs with the Class-A High Desert Mavericks. He was named the California League Most Valuable Player as well as the Mariners’ Minor League Player of the Year.

The San Remo native went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs in a 12-7 win against Birmingham on July 14, and is hitting .265 with six homers, 22 doubles and 55 RBIs in 86 games for Double-A West Tenn Diamond Jaxx. He also earned Southern League Player of the Week honors on June 14.

Gronauer has been red-hot since getting promoted to the St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League (Class A Advanced). The Solingen native is 19-for-58 (.328) with a home run and eight RBIs in 16 games.

The 23-year-old backstop entered Friday night’s contest on a 11-for-36 (.306) streak with four RBIs and a stolen base.

Other notable European prospects includes the following:

Gregory Halman (Tacoma Rainers – AAA)
22-year-old Dutch outfielder is batting .261 (58-for-222) with 20 homers and 45 RBIs in 61 games for Mariners Triple A club.

Rick van den Hurk (New Orleans Zephyrs – AAA)
25-year-old Dutch right-hander has posted a 5-4 record with a 5.68 ERA in 16 starts with the Marlins Triple A affiliate team.

Donald Lutz (Billings Mustangs – Rookie)
21-year-old German first baseman is hitting .286 (18-for-63) with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 17 games for Reds Rookie level club.

Alex Maestri (Daytona Cubs – A)
25-year-old Italian right-hander is 2-4 with a 6.02 ERA and 39 K’s in 49.1 innings in 2010 with a pair of Cubs affiliates teams.

Andrei Lobanov (Beloit Snappers – A)
20-year-old Russian left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA with 31 K’s in 38 innings this season with a trio of Twins affiliate squads.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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