A Look at Team Netherlands for the 2023 World Baseball Classic

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Six years ago, the Netherlands made it to the semifinals of the 2017 World Baseball Classic. The Dutch have turned into a growing baseball superpower, but can Team Netherlands make it further in 2023? Let’s take a closer look the Netherlands roster, that included some names that should be familiar to MLB fans.

Related: A Look at Team Chinese Taipei in the 2023 World Baseball Classic

Pitchers

Team Netherlands’ pitching staff includes a number of current MiLB players, in Jiorgeny Casimiri (Toronto), Jaydenn Estanista (Philadelphia), Arij Fransen (Cincinnati), Antwone (Pittsburgh) & Kevin Kelly (Tampa Bay), and Derek West (Houston). Additionally, former MLB pitchers Jair Jurrjens and Shairon Martis will also suit up for the Dutch. Jurrjens went 53-38 over parts of eight MLB seasons, most of which were spent with the Braves. Martis pitched for the Nationals from 2008-09, and with the Twins in 2013.

The Dutch will also have veteran MLB reliever Pedro Strop on hand next month. Strop, who last pitched in the Majors with the Cubs last season, was a key piece of the Chicago Cubs bullpen in the mid-2010s. Notably, the 37-year-old struck out 60 over 47.1 innings in 2016 when the Cubs won its first title since 1908.

Position Players

Team Netherlands’ collection of hitters includes former MLB outfielder Wladimir Balentin and Roger Bernadina, and a deep group of middle infielders. Veterans Andrelton Simmons and Didi Gregorius will join Tigers infielder Jonathan Schoop and Padres star Xander Bogaerts.

There’s not much to be said about Bogaerts, one of the best pure hitters in baseball. But for Jonathan Schoop, the WBC is a chance for the Tigers second baseman to start building towards a rebound campaign in 2023. A year after hitting 22 home runs for Detroit in 2021, Schoop hit just .202/.239/.322 last season.

There’s a considerable amount of parity in Pool A between Italy, Cuba, Panama, and Chinese Taipei — all countries that have several current and former MLBers, but not much in the way of star power. Given that, the Netherlands own a very solid chance of not just advancing, but winning the group outright in March.