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Hensley Meulens, Netherlands Look to Make a Deep Run at World Baseball Classic

 Leif Skodnick - World Baseball Network  |    Feb 25th, 2023 2:04pm EST

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

The Kingdom of Netherlands will be playing in their fifth World Baseball Classic in their nation’s history, where they are 11-13 all-time.  During the last two World Baseball Classics, the Netherlands made back-to-back semifinals appearances in 2013 and 2017. 

The Netherlands is ranked seventh in the world by the World Baseball Softball Confederation. They are one of the five nations representing the WBSC Europe sector in this year’s World Baseball Classic.  Italy, Israel, Czech Republic and Great Britain are the other four in the 20-team tournament field.  

Building their with players from the Kingdom, the Antilles, Aruba and Curacao, the Netherlands has a lot of talent in the pool for their national team in senior and age group events, and will start in Pool A of the World Baseball Classic in Taichung, Taiwan from March 8-13. In Taichung, they will face Italy, Cuba, Panama and host nation Chinese Taipei during the start of the tournament. 

Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens will once again be at the helm, managing in his third consecutive World Baseball Classic, and has a lot of players returning from the 2017 team.  Players such as Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons, and Jurikson Profar will drive the Netherlands offensively.  

Players outside of Major League Baseball and playing in their federation’s professional league, the Honkbal Hoofdklasse, other international leagues, independent leagues, current free agent professionals, and the high minor leagues will also appear on the kingdom’s roster. The Koninklijke Nederlandse Baseball en Softball Bond is the governing body for baseball and softball in the Netherlands.  The Netherlands has heavily scouted Curacao’s baseball circuit, which has three levels of professional baseball run by the Federashon di Beisbol di Korsou.  

The Netherlands will have a great group of veteran players this time around that have played in multiple World Baseball Classics and senior events as well. The Netherlands have played in five Olympics, but did not qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. With 24 gold medals in the European Baseball Championship, the Netherlands have won the most of all nations in the WBSC Europe sector.  The last senior event the Netherlands participated was the 2021 European Championship, where they beat Israel to win the gold medal.  

The Netherlands can get deep into the World Baseball Classic once again if their pitching can hold up during the tournament’s earlier stages. The Netherlands will play two exhibition games against Taiwanese local teams outside of the Chinese Professional Baseball League circuit on March 5 and 6, starting at 7 p.m. TST. 

The Netherlands will look to start another amazing run in the World Baseball Classic when they begin Pool A against Cuba on March 7 at 11 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1.  

Kingdom of Netherlands World Baseball Classic Roster: 

* – denotes Designated Pitchers Pool 
CFA – denotes Current Free Agent 

Pitchers (Team)
Mike Bolsenbroek (Heidenheim Heideköpfe)
Dennis Burgersdijk* (HCAW)
Jiorgeny Casimiri* (Toronto Blue Jays)
Tom de Blok (Curaçao Neptunus)
Aaron de Groot* (Curaçao Neptunus)
Jaydenn Estanista (Philadelphia Phillies)
Dylan Farley (Amsterdam Pirates)
Wendell Floranus (Gigantes del Cibao)
Arij Fransen* (Cincinnati Reds)
Lars Huijer (HCAW)
Ryan Huntington (Curaçao Neptunus)
Kenley Jansen* (Boston Red Sox)
Jair Jurrjens* (Tigres de Aragua)
Antwone Kelly (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Kevin Kelly (Curaçao Neptunus)
Shairon Martis (Amsterdam Pirates)
Eric Méndez (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Scott Prins* (Amsterdam Pirates)
Pedro Strop* (Leones del Escogido)
J. C. Sulbaran (Indios del Bóer)
Franklin Van Gurp (Estrellas Orientales)
Derek West (Houston Astros)

Catchers (Team)
Sicnarf Loopstok (Amsterdam Pirates)
Dashenko Ricardo (Curaçao Neptunus)
Chadwick Tromp (Atlanta Braves)

Infielders (Team)
Xander Bogaerts (San Diego Padres)
Didi Gregorius (Cangrejeros de Santurce)
Dwayne Kemp (Curaçao Neptunus)
Richie Palacios (Cleveland Guardians)
Juremi Profar (Bravos de León)
Jonathan Schoop (Detroit Tigers)
Sharlon Schoop (Amsterdam Pirates)
Andrelton Simmons (CFA)
Zander Wiel (High Point Rockers)

Outfielders (Team)
Wladimir Balentien (Gigantes del Cibao)
Roger Bernadina (Leones de León)
Ray-Patrick Didder (CFA)
Josh Palacios (Pittsburgh Pirates)
Jurickson Profar (CFA) 

Coaching Staff
Hensley Meulens – Manager
Tjerk Smeets – Hitting Coach
Bert Blyleven – Pitching Coach
Gene Kingsale – First Base Coach
Ben Thijssen – Third Base Coach
Andruw Jones – Bench Coach
Mike Harkey – Bullpen Coach

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Leif Skodnick - World Baseball Network