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.
Sweden coach Tony Klarberg’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?
I have no idea who will reach the furthest, but several of the players want to take their game to the next level and also have a chance of doing so. Right now I believe the next level for most Swedish players is college baseball. There are seven players on the roster that will graduate in June, possibly four or five of those seven will start college in August. Johan Höglund, IF, attended the MLB Academy in Tirrenia 2011 but was injured after just a few days and could not continue, which was a shame. Then I think of Johan Klarberg, OF, who finished with a .376 batting average in the Swedish Bundesliga last year, finishing 5th on the list of all the best hitters, being the 2nd Swedish player in the top 5 (3 Americans and 2 Swedes). For an 18-year-old that is an accomplishment. Also Wilhelm Nordström is one of the main hitters, a tall 1B-man who could blossom this year. LHP Albin Sivard is one of Sweden’s most promising pitchers. Albin pitched the final third game in the finals for his Stockholm team (becoming the Swedish Champions). In seven innings he struck out 12, allowed 1 base hit and 2 BB, with a 0.00 in ERA, facing 26 hitters. Also another promising LHP is John Wright.
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?
Sweden Academy of 2012 is by far the best team we have fielded so far. We have a wider range of players, more and better pitching, more well trained athletes. BUT, that will not make sure we win more games, just provide a better base for development…
What players from your system would normally be here but are not and for what reason?
John Wright, LHP, looks like he will be off the DL and will join us.
What do you think about this MLB Academy tournament and others like it? What are the biggest benefits for the players?
It is a great opportunity to develop for the players. They get more games under their belts and that is very important for their development. At this age, and especially for the Academy players that are trained for it, there is a great need to play more games to develop and take their game to a higher level. Also for me as a coach at the Academy it is fun and rewarding and also much better from a teaching standpoint to play more games. As a coach it is crucial to find ways to get feedback for the players on things you work on, to be able to improve parts of the game for each individual. Finally, the tournaments in Regensburg have been well organized and it will be great to come back and we are so much looking forward to playing and being part of it!
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Roster as of 21 March 2012
|NR||Last||First||DOB||Throw||Bat||Ht (cm)||Wt (kg)||Pos|
|17||Aurosell||Max||March 9, 1994||R||R||184||73||RHP,OF|
|6||Byström||Pontus||December 27, 1994||R||R||177||69||RHP, OF|
|4||Fager||Mattias||July 31, 1994||R||R||178||67||C, OF|
|29||Gonzales||Alberto||Nov 1, 1993||R||R||167||78||IF|
|78||Hagman||Hampus||February 8, 1995||R||R||184||90||RHP|
|82||Höglund||Johan||March 26, 1993||R||R||185||86||RHP, IF|
|81||Klarberg||Johan||Sep 1, 1993||R||S||183||81||OF|
|60||Linder||Daniel||July 10, 1995||R||L||173||79||RHP, IF|
|21||Lundström||Edvin||March 11, 1993||R||L||175||64||RHP,OF|
|19||Matspers||Andreas||May 23, 1993||R||R||175||62||RHP, IF|
|79||Nordström||Vilhelm||Sep 15, 1993||R||R||192||81||1B, RHP|
|50||Olefalk||Simon||May 20, 1994||R||R||179||67||IF|
|51||Sahlin||Emil||May 22, 1995||R||R||184||70||IF, RHP|
|52||Sivard||Albin||June 30, 1994||L||L||183||69||LHP,OF|
|90||Sund||Niklas||April 12, 1993||R||R||183||94||C, 3B|
|80||Westerholm||Gustaf||August 19, 1994||R||R||182||82||OF|
|94||Vollertsen||Jakob||March 2, 1994||R||L||194||109||RHP,1B|
|89||Wright||John||September 6, 1994||L||L||186||68||LHP,OF|