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Confederation of European Baseball

Saturday, March 04, 2017

World Baseball Classic Preview: Team Kingdom of The Netherlands

Third and last European Team to participate to the 2017 World Baseball Classic, The Netherlands which also are one of the top contenders for the victory.

Key facts
  • - 4th participation to the World Baseball Classic / best result: 1/2 final in 2013
  • - 22 times European Baseball Champion / best record all-time
  • - 4 appearances to the Olympic Games
  • - 17 Baseball World Cups (won in 2011) & 5 Intercontinental Cups

The all-time European Champion title holder has become a powerhouse on the international stage, participating to 4 Olympic Games, winning the 2011 Baseball World Cup and qualifying for the semi-finals at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Past results at the World Baseball Classic

  • - 2006: 1st round: L 8-3 vs PUR, L 11-2 vs CUB, W 10-0 vs PAN
  • - 2009: 1st round: W 3-2 vs DOM, L 3-1 vs PUR, W 2-1 vs DOM, L 5-0 vs PUR / 2nd round: L 3-1 vs VEN, L 9-3 vs USA
  • - 2013: 1st round: W 5-0 vs KOR, L 8-3 vs TPE, W 4-1 vs AUS / 2nd round: W 6-2 vs CUB, L 16-4 vs JPN, W 7-6 vs CUB, L 10-6 vs JPN / 1/2 final: L 4-1 vs DOM

Team Kingdom of the Netherlands celebrates its win against Cuba at the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

World N°9 The Netherlands have by far being the best European contender at the World Baseball Classic, earning themselves a reputation of "cinderella" at the 2013 WBC after having beaten Cuba twice in the second round and qualifying for the Final 4. They eventually lost to future winner Dominican Republic in the semi-finals.

The 2017 roster and expectations

See the complete roster of The Netherlands for the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

The Netherlands' roster is stronger than ever with an infield stacked with MLB caliber players such as Xander Bogaerts, Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons and Jonathan Schoop. They also have strong bats with the addition of NPB player Wladimir Balentien and good pitching with veteran Rob Cordemans, MLB closer Kelly Janssen and NPB's Rick van den Hurk.

As KNBSB (Dutch Federation) puts it about the ever better results in international competitions: "We have been able to work together with all other parts of the Kingdom (Aruba, Curacao and all the other islands) and send the most talented players from all over the Kingdom to the different tournaments we participate in. With the prize money we earned we have been facilitating talent programs in the Netherlands and on Curacao and we are currently reaping from that with a great generation of players."
On the changing staff between different events (European Baseball Championship, World Baseball Classic, etc.): "This coaching staff, in it’s core, has been together for a while now. They understand the situation and the federation has been managing expectations. Hensley Meulens is our manager, but for tournaments during the MLB season Steve Janssen takes over and we are very, very happy with him! He really deserved his European Coach of the Year Award."

About the 2017 Dutch team: "We have a great team for the WBC with more players with experience in the MLB than ever before. Mix in some great players from the Dutch Hoofdklasse and pro players from all over the world and we feel we have a chance to match what we did in 2013. At the same time we know that South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Japan and the other teams in Pool A and B are very strong as well, but needless to say we are confident we have a fantastic group that should be able to go a long way!"

Andrelton Simmons celebrates his home-run against Japan at the World Baseball Classic.

The Netherlands's 2017 WBC schedule
Team Kingdom of The Netherlands will begin its journey on March the 7th versus South Korea on their home soil. They'll then play against Chinese Taipei on the 8th and Israel on the 9th. If qualified, the Pool A final game is on March 10th and the second round starts on March 12th in Tokyo, Japan, with the two top teams of Pool B.

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