Alex Smit Dispatches - Nederlandse Honkbal edition
It's coming to the close of the Appalachian League season this week. But, for the Elizabethton Twins leftie reliever, Alexander Smit, the season ended on 23 August.
That was Smit's final appearance of what has been a mixed bag of a season for the 19 year old Dutchman.
In the Twins 4-2 win over Bristol in the Virginia side of that burgh, Smit worked 2 innings of relief to close out the game. He faced 8 batters, allowing two 2-out singles in the eighth. Otherwise, he struck out 3 and got 3 pop outs to the right side, two of those were in foul ground.
Smit's season started with a promotion to Class A after a solid 2004 at Elizabethton. But control problems led to a demotion mid season and a switch to the bullpen. 2005 marked the first full season in the States for the youngster. Last year he pitched twice for the Dutch Olympic side in Athens and the year before he also had time out with the national squad.
Therein lies the reason for Smit's sudden end to the season. He has been named in the Dutch 24 man roster for the XXXVI World Cup in Holland that begins on 2 September.
"Bondscoach Robert a Hoorn its definite selection of 24 players for the WK has confessed baseball in the Netherlands made."(Babel Fish translation)
Smit is one of three US based minor leaguers to get the call. Former Oriole farmhand Eugene Kingsale and a catcher from the Devil Rays' system Chairon Isenia have also got the call. The Dutch can also call upon AAA experience in the form of Infielder Sharnol Adriana who plays in the Mexican League
A couple of other Minor Leaguers, including Calvin Maduro were not released by their Major League employers. Randall Simon, now playing in Japan, is also unavailable.
Also Randall Simon seemed still just as a possibility for the national selection. The antillian battle gun, which 514 played games in the Major League, came sitting beginning this season club. By means of Mexiaanse the competition he arrived eventually in the Japanese Major League. But also at the Orix Buffaloes he could hardly be find turn. By means of the Japanese Minor League-club Kobe Surpass he tries return now at its old level. (You guessed it: Babel Fish translation)
Finally, Olympic assistant coach and ex-Yankee Hensley "Bam Bam" Muelens is also caught Stateside, but another helper for the Athens squad will be in Holland. Davey Johnson, former Mets and Orioles manager won't be with the Oranje. Instead he's leading a group of US Minor Leaguers, including Mets hot prospect Lastings Milledge.
You still have to fancy the Cubans to win the tournament. Holland (with Smit in the team) open on 2 September against China.
It will be interesting to see whether the Dutch keep Smit in the bullpen where he has been so effective this season or put him back in the rotation where he made his name. And, the big question is can he make the team for the World Classic back in the US next March?
I'll have Alex's final Appy League numbers next time round. Kudos to the Twins for releasing him.
More info (in Dutch):
de Nederlandse Honkbalsite
Baseball and Softball in the Netherlands