The Netherlands and Germany announced their World Cup rosters over the weekend, and if everyone shows up, these should be the most talented Eurorpean lineups scouts would see in international competition in years.
That's especially true of the Dutch roster, which includes two of the most exciting prospects in the entire event in its infield. Jonathan Schoop (Orioles) and Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox) will play on the left side of the Netherlands' infield, two of the nine affiliated minor leaguers on the Dutch club.
Bogaerts and Schoop may not play shortstop for the Netherlands, not with DiDi Gregorius (Reds) on board, and the pitching staff has plenty of international experience in J.C. Sulbaran (Reds) and fellow righthanders Tim Stuifbergen (Twins) and big league veteran Shairon Martis (Nationals). Other affiliated Dutch players include outfielder Kalian Sams (Twins), catcher Shawn Zarraga (Brewers) and infielder Sharlon Schoop (Giants). Indy leaguer Curt Smith (Lincoln Salt Dogs) is also on board; he reached Double-A with the Cardinals in 2010.
Other familiar names on the Netherlands' team include former Expos farmhands Vince Rooi and Danny Rombley; former Purdue infielder Mike Duursma; and former Giants farmhand Orlando Yntema, who now plays professionally in the Netherlands.
The team also includes several veterans of international play in pitchers Leon Boyd, Rob Cordemans and Diegomar Markwell, as well as catcher Sidney de Jong, all of whom have played in recent World Baseball Classics.
Brian Farley, an American who is a veteran of Dutch baseball and the team's former pitching coach, will manage this season for the first time, graduating from having coached the junior national team.
The German team will be coached again by Greg Frady, the head coach at Georgia State, and includes five active minor leaguers, led by outfielder Max Kepler (Twins), and hard-throwing righthander Tim Henkenjohann, an ex-Twin.
The other U.S. pros among the Germans include 22-year-old Midwest Leaguer Donald Lutz (Reds), who hit 20 home runs for low Class A Dayton this season; catcher Kai Gronauer (Mets); 20-year-old righthander Markus Solbach (Twins); and indy ball righthander Martin Dewald.
Farley told the European baseball website mister-baseball.com, "Germany has likely shown the greatest improvement and has emerged as a team to respect. They have shown they have the potential to beat anyone in Europe."