MLB veteran Andrelton Simmons, shown here playing for the Kingdom of The Netherlands during the the 2023 World Baseball Classic 2023, will play in Curacao Professional Baseball in December. (Photo by Henk Seppen/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network
Curacao Professional Baseball announced that the new professional baseball league in Curacao will play with three teams from December 3-10.
This league is open to players of all nationalities, not just those with Dutch passports.
“The heart of our mission is to make Curacao the epicenter of baseball excellence, furnishing a distinguished platform for players from all walks of life to showcase their skills on a global and professional stage,” the league said in a press release. “We are devoted to inspiring and uniting our community through the transcendent power of baseball, delivering an elevated level of entertainment that resonates with fans of all ages.”
Federation de Curacao President Jedrek Magdalena was responsible for creating the league.
“To us it means the start of a new era. For Baseball, the economy and the community. We are happy to be taking a step”, Magdalena told World Baseball Network via WhatsApp.
The three teams in the league are the Curacao Suns, Curacao Goats, and the Willemstad Cannons. The draft took place on November 7.
Some notable players drafted were infielders Ozzie Albies (Cannons), Didi Gregorius (Goats), Andrelton Simmons (Cannons) Jonathan Schoop (Goats), Sharlon Schoop (Goats), Jurdick Profar (Goats), Jeremi Profar (Cannons), and outfielder Ceddane Rafaela (Goats).
Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies was a World Series champion in 2021. He is a three-time All-Star and has also won two Silver Sluggers. Albies has hit 131 home runs, with an OPS of .803, in his seven-year Major League Baseball career with the Braves.
Boston Red Sox outfielder Ceddane Rafaela is their third ranked prospect and ranks 72nd in MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects. He hit two home runs and stole three bases in 28 games with the Red Sox this season.
Didi Gregorius played 11 years in MLB and is currently a free agent. He spent the majority of his career with the New York Yankees. His last three MLB seasons were with the Philadelphia Phillies from 2020-2022. He hit 134 home runs with an OPS of .728.
Andrelton Simmons played the majority of his 11-year MLB career with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He won four Gold Gloves and one Platinum Glove. His last MLB season was with the Chicago Cubs in 2022. He hit 70 home runs with an OPS of .678.
Jurdrick and Jeremi Profar are the younger brothers of MLB outfielder Jurickson Profar. Profar has played 10 MLB seasons most recently with the San Diego Padres. He spent the majority of his career with the Texas Rangers. Profar has 87 career home runs with an OPS of .706.
Sharlon Schoop is the younger brother of Jonathan Schoop. The elder Schoop played 11 seasons in MLB with the majority of his career being spent with the Baltimore Orioles. He has played his last four seasons with the Detroit Tigers, and is currently a free agent. Schoop has 175 career home runs and was an All-Star in 2017.
Gregorius, Simmons, Jeremi Profar, and the Schoop brothers played for the Netherlands in the 2023 WBC. The Netherlands went 2-2 in Pool A and didn’t advance out of their group due to losing tiebreakers.
Curacao is currently ranked 28th in the WBSC rankings and could put together a team in 2025 to try and qualify for the 2026 WBC.
The games will take place at Tio Daou Ballpark in Willemstad, Curacao. The first game will take place on December 3 between the Cannons and Goats. The second game will be on December 4 between the Goats and Suns. The semi-finals take place between the second and third-seeded teams on December 9. The winner will face the top seed on December 10.
Players from this league will be eligible to represent Curacao at the 2024 Caribbean Series at loanDepot Park in Miami next February.