Recent Trend of Baseball Players From California Playing in Europe Raises Level

Recent Trend of Baseball Players From California Playing in Europe Raises Level

In recent years there has been an influx of American baseball players taking their career overseas to Europe, with Californians making up a large percentage. Since the Launch of the International Baseball Community website in early 2013, the number of aspiring professional baseball players playing overseas, both college grads and established professionals, has risen dramatically. In fact in 2016 there were 97 imports professional players (mostly American) who used the website to take their career to Europe for the season. This obviously has raised the overall level of play in leagues across Europe, from first divisions all the way down to even third division leagues.

In a recent article featuring the top International Baseball Community performers in Europe in 2016, we realized that a large percentage of those recognized were from California so decided to summarize the overseas careers of our 2016 Cali Kids in this post.

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Taylor Eichhorst – San Diego

Position: Catcher /Pitcher / 3B

2016 club: Sissach Frogs, Swiss NLA (Switzerland)

2016 stats: BA .500 (1st) / Hr 9 (1st) / 2B 12 (1st) / SLG% 1.222 (1st) / OBP .597 / RBI 23 (2nd)

Taylor is the all-time career home run and RBI record holder at San Diego Christian College and is on his way to breaking similar records in Switzerland with 7 and 9 home runs in his first two seasons, not too shabby for a 20 game schedule. Taylor also joined his Frogs twice for their annual trip to the infamous Finkstonball tournament in Austria which features three days of baseball and music festivals and features teams from all over Europe. 

The 6’3″ slugger also pitches for the Frogs, posting a 4.91 era in 2016.

After his first season overseas with the Frogs, Taylor played in Melbourne, Australia for the Fitzroy Lions during the 2015-2016 winter. 

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Michael Stowers – San Diego

Position: Shortstop

2016 club: Therwil Flyers, Swiss NLA (Switzerland)

2016 stats: BA .475 / OBP . 644 / SLG% .814 / 2B 11 (2nd)

Michael took his NAIA world series experience with San Diego Christian College overseas first in 2015 to the Czech Republic to play in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe for the Prague Eagles. From there Mike to his game to Adelaide, Australia for the 2015-2016 winter like his buddy Taylor, to play for the Northern Districts Reds. For the summer of 2016 Mike returned to Europe, this time to play for the Therwil Flyers in Switzerland where he soon found himself near the top of the league in all offensive categories and was a major factor in Therwil winning their 10th championship. Mike also played for the Budapest Reds at the Finkstonball tournament in Austria. 

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Devon Ramirez – Inglewooddevon

Position: Starting Pitcher/ Outfield

2016 Club: Skokani Olomouc, Czech Extraliga (Czech Republic)

2016 stats:

BA .386 / OBP . 500 (3rd) / SLG% .535

Era 2.73 / W-L 2-1 / IP 29 ⅔ / SO 26

This Cal State Dominguez Hills graduate spent a couple of years in the Pacific Association before taking his game overseas to Perth, Australia during the 2015-2016 winter to play for Victoria Park and most recently to the Czech Republic for the 2016 summer to play for Skokani. A pitcher by trade, Devon has established himself as a legit threat at the plate, thus setting himself up to play baseball overseas for years to come as one of the top two-way players on the market.

Devon also got picked up by the Drop Bears to play at Prague Baseball Week in the Czech Republic.


 

Steven Johnson – Chico29173439832_58009ebe8c_z

Position: Starting Pitcher / Outfield

2016 club: Attnang Athletics, ABL (Austria)

2016 stats:

BA .391 / OBP .451 / SLG% .710 (3rd) / RBI 29 (1st) / HR 5 (T1st)

Era 3.71 / W-L 6-2 / SO 61 / BB 12 / IP 60.2

After graduating from Avila University, Steve played an important part in the Alpine Cowboys winning their division in the 2015 Pecos League season. From there, he took his game overseas to Brisbane, Australia to play for the Carina Red Sox and most recently Attnang-Puchheim, Austria where his numbers above were a major reason why the Attnang Athletics went from last place in 2015 to a championship in 2016. Steve was awarded league MVP for his efforts.

Steve also enjoyed a week of baseball with the International Stars at Prague Baseball Week in the Czech Republic in 2016. 


 

Collin Forgey – San Diego

Position: Outfield / Shortstop

2016 club: Hannover Regents, German Bundesliga North (Germany)

2016 stats:  BA .371 / OBP .472 / HR 3 / SB 10

This 2014 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year with Saint Joseph’s University had a brief stint in the Pecos League before taking his game overseas to Perth, Australia for the 2014-2015 winter and returning overseas again in 2016 to Germany to play for the Hannover Regents of the German Bundesliga North. Collin also played for the Attnang Athletics at the Finkstonball tournament in Austria. 

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Adam Greenberg – San Diego

Position: Outfield / Starting Pitcher

2016 club: Lucerne Eagles, Swiss NLA (Switzerland)

2016 stats:

BA .412 / HR 4 (2nd) / OBP . 506 / SLG% .721

Era 1.73 (3rd) / W-L 6-1 / WHIP 1.02

This former UC San Diego outfielder has been overseas since 2013 spending two seasons in Germany with the Hamburg Stealers and Berlin Sluggers, a season in Sydney, Australia with the Penrith Panthers, and most recently two seasons in Switzerland with the Lucerne Eagles. His ability to both pitch and hit at a high level are what put him in such a high demand with clubs overseas. Adam was at both Finsktonball and Prague Baseball Week in 2015.

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Dominic Morbidelli – Castro Valleydominic

Position: Catcher / Corner Infield

2016 club: Hrosi Brno, Czech Extraliga (Czech Republic)

2016 stats: BA .338 / OBP .415 / SLG% .576 / HR 8 

Dominic came from the highly competitive PacWest Conference where he was known as one of the top defensive catchers while playing for Holy Names University. Upon graduating in 2015, Dominic took his game overseas for the 2015-2016 winter to play in Perth, Australia for the Morley Eagles before signing to play in the Czech Republic with Hrosi Brno. During this time he has shown that he is one of the best power hitting catchers overseas at the moment. Dominic also was part of the International Stars championship team at Prague Baseball Week. 

FOR FREE CONSULTATION ON TAKING YOUR CAREER OVERSEAS EMAIL BASEBALL RESUME TO: dburns@baseballjobsoverseas.com


 

Louis Cohen – Temecula

Position: Starting pitcher

2016 club: Hamburg Stealers, German Bundesliga North

2016 stats: ERA 1.37 / IP 105 (2nd) /  W-L 7-5 / SO 131 (1st) / BB 20 / WHIP 0.99

After graduating from Cal State University Northridge and receiving no professional contracts, Louis took his game to Australia to play in the Capital Territory State League to play for the ACT Bandits where he struck out 195 over 153 innings work and also saw 15 innings in the Australian Baseball League for the Canberra Cavalry. This pace continued in his first European season with the Hamburg Stealers where he again led the league in strikeouts and innings pitched.

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Jimmy Jensen – Castro Valley

Position: Starting Pitcher / Utility

2016 club: Templiers Senart, French Elite League (France)

2016 stats: 

Era 1.55 / W-L 9-1 / CG 5 / bavg .183 / SO 111 / BB 13

BA .300 / OBP .416 / 3B 3

This former Menlo College pitcher dominated in Austria in his first overseas stint with the Attnang Athletics in 2015 after a brief stint in the Pecos League. His performance in Austria brought him a lot of attention from Australian clubs for the winter of 2015-2016 and Jimmy decided to sign with the MacArthur Orioles of the New South Wales State League which is based in Sydney. Again Jimmy found himself on the pitching leaderboard for almost every category and again this garnered a lot of attention from European clubs seeking imports for the 2016 summer. Jimmy sided with one of the top clubs in France, Templiers Senart, and once again had a very successful season as you can see from the stats above. Jimmy is currently playing baseball in Melbourne, Australia for the Newport Rams and rumour has it he is returning to Europe for a third season in 2017 to play in Germany. 

Jimmy picked up Pitcher of the Year in Austria and league MVP in France in 2016. He has also has enjoyed getting picked up for the international tournaments Finkstonball, Prague Baseball Week and the Yoshida Challenge.

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Jack Shannon – Cardiff

Position: Starting pitcher /Outfield

2016 club: Cologne Cardinals, German Bundesliga North (Germany)

2016 stats: Era 1.94 / SO 111(2nd) / BB 36 / W-L 5-5 / WHIP 1.16

Jack Shannon has been one of the top two-way players on the overseas market since graduating from the University of San Diego in 2013. His first overseas experience was the winter of 2013-2014 when he signed on with the Melville Braves of Perth, Australia. From there Jack signed with Skokani Olomouc in the Czech Republic and it was there that Jack really created a name for himself within overseas baseball circles as a top two-way player.  

After year straight abroad, Jack took the winter offer before returning to Europe in 2015 to play in Switzerland for the Therwil Flyers, leading them to a championship and earning himself both league MVP and Pitcher of the Year recognitions. Jack returned to Europe for a third time in 2016, this time in the German Bundesliga with the Cologne Cardinals where he signed on as a player-coach. Jack decided not to use his bat as much so he can focus on coaching and pitching, otherwise he no doubt would have put up some big numbers at the plate as well. 

Jack also was picked up to play at tournaments and in playoffs from teams in Italy and Hungary, not to mention the International Stars at Finkstonball and Prague Baseball Week.

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Max MacNabb – La Jolla

Position: Starting Pitcher / Outfield

2016 club: Templiers Senart, French Elite League (France)

2016 stats:

Era 1.20 / W-L 5-2 / bavg .168 / SO 52 / BB 11 / IP 45

BA .313 / 3B 3 / SB 13 / OBP .402

Another University of San Diego graduate, Max spent a season in the minors with the Padres before taking his game overseas to Australia for the 2015-2016 winter to play with teh MacArthur Orioles in Sydney. His performance there earned him a lot of attention from Europe but it was more for his big bat which was used more than his pitching. In 2016 Max signed with the Templiers Senart in France and along with Jimmy was one of the top players in the league once again. Here is a video Max put together which gives you a good idea of the lifestyle of an import baseball player in Australia. 

Max also played at Prague Baseball Week and the Yoshida Challenge in 2016.


 

Melvin Perdue – Fort Ord

Position: Center field/Middle Infield

2016 club: DSS, Dutch Major League (Netherlands)

2016 stats: BA .280/ OBP .378/ SLG% .346

Melvin Perdue graduated from Saint Anselm College in 2009 and after brief stints in the Pacific Association and the United League, took his game overseas in 2011 to the second division in the Netherlands to play for Vos Cardinals where he consistently put up big numbers at the plate . He spent four years with the Cardinals before deciding to sign with the Attnang Athletics of Austria for the 2015 season where he also played at Finkstonball and won best batter at Prague Baseball Week. In the winter of 2015-2016 Melvin decided it was time to give Australia a try and signed with the Carine Cats of Perth, Australia.

In 2016, now common law with his Dutch girlfriend, Melvin qualified for Dutch permanent residency and signed on with DSS of the Dutch Major League, arguably the most competitive league in Europe. Melvin has signed to play in the Dutch Major League again in 2017, this time he will dawn the jerseys of the Oosterhout Twins. Despite all of his overseas baseball accolades, Melvin will always be best known for his role in Moneyball as Ray Durham!

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Clayton Carson – Newport Beach

Position: Head Coach / Utility

2016 club: Novara, Italian Baseball League (Italy)

This 2005 San Diego State University grad built up a resume as a coach in U.S., most notably as the interim Head Coach at Southern Utah University in 2012 after spending a couple years as assistant coach at Saddleback College.  Clayton first took his career overseas in the summer of 2015 without even signing a contract first by simply hopping on a plane ot Europe and networking. He managed to work his way to Finkstonball in Austria where he was picked up to play with the host team, the Attnang Athletics as well as the Polish National Team. It was there that he befriended a GM of the Hard Bulls of  Austria who then signed him as player-coach for the remaining part of the season.

That following winter, Clayton accepted a job as player-coach with the Golden Grove Dodgers of Adelaide, Australia where he spent two seasons. In between those seasons Clayton returned to Europe as a player-coach for the Zurich Challengers of Switzerland.

Clayton finally took a winter offer after two years straight abroad to re-energize before returning to Europe again as Head Coach for Novara of the prestigious Italian Baseball League. Long story short, Clayton paid his way and worked his way up from a second division Austrian team playing at the high school level to an Italian team playing in the IBL which is often compared to A-ball equivalency.

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Bryce Cherry – Atascaderocherry-with-is

2016 club: Robur’51, Dutch 3rd Division (Netherlands)

2016 stats: N/A

Bryce is a 2015 graduate of the San Fransisco State University baseball program and in 2016 took his career overseas to the Netherlands to play with a 3rd division club. This helped Bryce get his foot in the door of the Dutch Major League, where he will be roaming the outfield with UVV in 2017 while spending time with his Dutch girlfriend when not on the ball field. Bryce was also a key member of the International Stars at Prague Baseball Week and has a Dutch girlfriend.


 

Taylor McKnight – Costa Mesa

Position: Utility

2016 club: Baldham Boars, German Regional League East (Germany)

2016 stats: BA .462 / 2B 8 /RBI 21

Taylor is a 2015 graduate of Vanguard University who got a late jump on marketing himself  to clubs overseas so last minute threw up a profile on our website and offered to pay his flights. He got picked up by a 3rd division German team and negotiated the flexibility to participate in tournaments as long as there was no direct conflict with their game schedule. This allowed Taylor to play for the Drop Bears at Prague Baseball Week in the Czech Republic, the Darmstadt Whippets at Finkstonball in Austria and with the Dominican All-Stars at the Alpine Cup in Switzerland. Taylor is currently enjoying the heat in Perth, Australia while playing with the Perth Mets. So within the span of 6 months, Taylor has played baseball in 5 countries!

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Evan Brisentine – San Ramon

Position: Pitcher

2016 club: Melbourne Demons, Melbourne Winter League (Australia)

2016 stats: N/A

Upon graduating from Santa Clara University in 2015, Evan took his career to Melbourne, Australia to play for the Melbourne Demons of the Victoria Summer League for the 2015-2016 winter and has not returned. Nobody needs to file a missing persons report because Evan has simply remained on with Demons for the 2016 summer (their winter season) again for the 2016-2017 winter.

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Tyler Krobetzky– Mission Viejo

Position: Catcher

2016 club: Hannover Regents, German Bundesliga North

2016 stats: BA .353 / 2B 4 / OBP .452 / SLG . 471

Tyler graduated from Spring Arbor University in 2013 and like most college baseball graduates, pursued a professional career in the U.S. After brief stints in the Pacific Association and the United League, Tyler decided to follow his girlfriend’s footsteps and take his career overseas, however to play baseball not fastpitch. His first signing was with the Golden Grover Dodgers of Adelaide, Australia where he spent the 2015-2016 season and finished at the top of the league in most offensive categories. In the summer of 2016 he signed on with the Hannover Regents and played 10 games there before parting ways to travel and play tournament baseball in Europe. This led him to get picked up by teams for Finkstonball, Prague Baseball Week and the Alpine Cup while also taking some time off to visit his girlfriend who was playing in Italy.

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Nate Harris – Redwood City

Position: Catcher / Pitcher

2016 club: Heathmont, Melbourne Winter League (Australia)

2016 stats: N/A

After graduating from Menlo College in 2016, Nate was a late pick up to play in Melbourne for the summer (their winter season) by the reigning champs, Heathmont. In the championships, Nate pitched his first ever complete game to help Heathmont retain the title.

Nate has remained in Melbourne to play for the Blackburn Orioles in the Vitoria Summer League (American winter)

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Mark Boyer – Loma Linda

Position: Player-coach

2016 club: Rohrback Crazy Geese, Austrian Regional League East (Austria)

2016 stats: N/A

Mark is a former La Sierra University (NAIA) catcher who first took his career overseas in 2014 to the German third division in Bavaria for a club named Ingolstadt Schanzer. He took 2015 off but it didn’t take long before the itch to travel and play baseball returned. Mark threw his hat back in the ring for the 2016 European season and was picked up by a third division Austrian team near the border of Hungary, not far from Vienna. This time his wife joined him and the two enjoyed a summer of travel which the very light 3rd division schedule allowed for. Mark also played at Finkstonball as a member of the International Stars.

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Jeremy Howard – Santa Barbara

Position: Catcher

2016 club: La Rochelle Boucaniers, French Second Division (France)

2016 stats: BA . 377 / OBP .450/ SLG% .609

After finishing school at Santa Barbara City College, Jeremy played mens league baseball in Santa Barbara before deciding to give overseas baseball a try. In 2016 he signed on with a team in France, launching an overseas career. Currently he is playing in Australia for the 2016-2017 winter with the Adelaide Angels. 

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Ryan Juarez – Norwalk

Position: Pitcher / First Base

2016 club: Montigny Cougars,French Second Division (France)

2016 stats: 

Era 3.32 / IP 57 / SO 56 / W-L 6-0

BA .436 / OBP .515 / SLG% .618

After graduating in 2011 from Cal State Northridge, Ryan played a year in the Frontier League then took a year off before discovering baseball overseas. His first overseas stint was in 2014 with the Berlin Challengers in the German 3rd division. The following winter Ryan signed on with the Ainslie Bears in Canberra, Australia followed by the 2015 summer where he played for the Deurne Spartans in Belgium en route to a championship. Ryan returned to Australia for a second time, this time to play with the Southern District Hawks in Adelaide before returning to Europe for a third time to play in France with the Cougars. Ryan again signed on to play baseball in Melbourne for the 2016-2017 winter but ran into visa problems upon landing and was deported. I have a feeling we have not seen the last of Ryan overseas. 

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Derrick Mitchell – Berkeleyderrick-mitchell

Position: Pitcher

2016 club: Valenciennes Vipers, Nationale 1 (France)

2016 stats:

Era 1.78 / IP 55.2 / SO 95 / W-L 4-3

BA .344 / HR 4 / SLG% .563 / SB 14

Derrick attended Prairie View A&M after JUCO ball at Chabot. He spent a year in the Pecos and the Pacific Association before deciding to take his game overseas. His first and only stint to date was with the Valenciennes Vipers, a club which competes in the French third division. 


Ben Monticello – Windsor

Position: Pitcher

2016 club: Trebic Nuclears (Czech Republic)

2016 stats: Era 0.00 / IP 46 / W-L 6-0 / WHIP 0.65

After two years at Santa Rosa JC, Ben Monticello finished off his college baseball career at Eastern New Mexico University as their number one starter in 2014. In 2015 Ben took his game overseas to Europe to play for the Trebic Nuclears of the Czech second division. Ben was invited back for a second season after a strong season and put up ridiculous numbers in 2016, helping the Nuclears advance to the Czech first division for 2017. Ben also played with the Drop Bears at Prague Baseball Week.

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Michael GonzalezFontana

Position: Catcher / Utility

2016 club: Valenciennes Vipers, Nationale 1 (France)

2016 stats: BA .469 / OBP .654 / SLG% .750

Michael Gonzalez graduated from La Sierra University in 2016 and immediately took his career overseas to the Rohrbach Crazy Geese of the Austrian third division for that summer. Michael recently signed a contract to play for the Peel Mariners in Mandurah which is a third division club in Western Australia about an hour south of Perth.

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Ben Miller – Mendocino

Position: Pitcher / Outfield

2016 club: Valenciennes Vipers, Nationale 1 (France)

2016 stats: BA .389 / OBP .571 / SLG% .667

Ben Miller also graduated from La Sierra University in 2016 and joined his teammate Michael Gonzalez in Rohrbach, Austria to play with the Crazy Geese for the 2016 summer. Michael also recently signed a contract to play in Australia, however  for the Pakenham Pumas of Melbourne, 2125 miles away.

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For questions regarding playing or coaching professionally in Europe, International Baseball Community CEO & Founder David Burns encourages current and aspiring professional players to contact him for a free consultation at dburns@baseballjobsoverseas.com.

To follow Jimmy Jensen, Max MacNabb and more of our members overseas you can tune in to our new YouTube series titled Globetrotters.

It’s not about the number of hours you put in, it’s about what you put in those hours.