Dutch pitcher Gijs Van den Brink signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals. (Photo Courtesy HonkbalSoftball.NL/Noa van Doornspeek)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The Kansas City Royals signed left handed pitcher Gijs Van den Brink, 18, to a minor league contract as an international free agent on July 30, 2023.
A native of Utrecht, The Netherlands, Van den Brink played in the Honkbal Hoofdklasse Rookie League this past season with UVV Utrecht, going 0-4 in three starts with a 6.05 ERA, throwing 38.2 innings and allowing 42 hits, 26 earned runs, 37 walks, and striking out 32 batters.
Van den Brink also suited up for the Netherlands in the U-18 World Cup in Bradenton, Florida, last year, making three appearances out of the bullpen with a 3.00 ERA, throwing 2.1 innings and allowing four hits, one earned run, one walk, and one strikeout while facing 11 batters.
Van den Brink will join the Royals organization in October after the 2023 Major League Baseball regular season at their complex in Arizona. He’s expected to play for the Netherlands at the U-18 World Cup in Taiwan in early September.
“It’s very special. I am proud of myself and the fact that I got this chance which of course almost no one gets,” Van den Brink told World Baseball Network via WhatsApp. “I am very excited to be a part of the team and develop myself as a baseball player and as a person everyday! It means the world to me.”
Van den Brink was invited to a Major League camp in London at the beginning of June where several scouts from the Royals spotted his impressive talent after throwing 80 pitches splitting between a simulation game alongside bullpen work.
“I think my curveball is a weapon. It spins a lot and I think I am able to tunnel my fastball and my curveball pretty good. My fastball and curveball are my two main pitches and I try to get things going from there,” Van den Brink said. “With the curveball, I just try to throw it as hard as I can. I can command it, if it’s going to be a ball or a strike pretty much every time.”
Van den Brink could be a prospect for the Netherlands’ 2026 World Baseball Classic team if, over the next few seasons, he rapidly improves in the Royals’ farm system.
Van den Brink will train in the Netherlands in December to get ready for minor league spring training as he prepares for his first professional season.