The 5th annual 2012 MLB Academies Tournament will be played in Regensburg, Germany from March 31 to April 6 – the third consecutive year the event will be held at Armin Wolf Arena. The teams on hand will be Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Italy, Czech Republic and Austria.
heinnews talked to the coaches in charge of the teams to get a run-down on what international baseball fans can expect from the tournament – and the future.
The Netherlands coach Martijn Nijhoff’s description of his team:
Looking over your roster, who do you see as some of your top players and maybe you can tell me a bit about those players and how high can they go in professional baseball?
We have some guys who have the potential to sign professionally. But we don’t have a glass bowl that will let us peek into the future. When players sign professional, it’s a whole new world they are entering – competition, resilliance, going for 100% every day, performing every day, staying healthy, chances, weather conditions, travel conditions, living out of a suitcase, being away from family. And the list goes on and on.
At that stage, it’s the whole package, not only the physical package. So that’s up to themselves and how bad they want it.
Looking at this class(es) of players, where does it rank in past classes? Is this a particularly good or bad year for the system?
Every year we are making small steps within our system. This is also true this year. The talent pool is pretty good, and we really had a great off season where we made some quiet steps forward. In general, we should be better than last year.
What players from your system would normally be here but are not and for what reason?
We have some players who will make their debuts in the Dutch Major League. One guy is Jerremyh Angela, one of our top pitchers. He will play for the Amsterdam Pirates.
What do you think about this MLB Academy tournament and others like it? What are the biggest benefits for the players?
The academy tournament and MLB academy in Regensburg are great events that are much appreciated by the Dutch Federation, clubs and the players in particular. It gives the players a platform to learn and compete against peers in Europe, which is huge for their development. But it also gives them a chance to get instructed by the best in the world and, as an example the MLB camp in Tirrenia, kind of gives them a chance to experience what it is to play professional ball because they will be there for three to four weeks.
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Roster as of 21 March 2012