The Netherlands will feature some of the best young talent in Major League Baseball when they suit up during the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
The Red Sox Xander Bogaerts, the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar, the Orioles’ Jonathan Schoop, the Yankees’ Didi Gregorius, and the elder statesman at just 27 the Angels’ Andrelton Simmons will all play for the Netherlands. All but Gregorius played with the team in 2013, but now they are established major league talent.
Simmons has ranked as one of the best defensive players in the game over the past four seasons. He has led the MLB in Defensive Runs Saved with 112 since his first full season in 2013.
Bogaerts had a break out season in 2015 when he hit .320 for the Red Sox. He then turned himself into an offensive force in 2016 hitting .294 and slugging 34 doubles and 21 home runs.
Gregorius had his best season at the plate in 2016, his second in New York taking over for Derek Jeter. In 2016 he clubbed 20 home runs, 32 doubles, and hit .276.
Schoop stayed healthy last year and had his first complete season playing all 162 games for the Orioles. He hit .267 with 25 home runs, 38 doubles, and drove in 82.
Profar played in 90 games for the Rangers. He played every infield position and left field over the course of the year. He batted .239 with 5 home runs and 3 triples.
In 2013 the Netherlands made it to the semifinals eventually losing to the eventual champion Dominican Republic. This year they will begin in Pool A in Seoul, South Korea. There they will battle the host country, Chinese Taipei, and Israel for a spot in Round 2.
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.