Just like earlier this year, the Dutch Baseball Hangout would like to pay attention to the transactions in the Belgian Baseball Gold (BBG) League, next year called the Top League. The transaction period in Belgium ended at December 1, so time to start with the ninth blog post. This one is about the Antwerp Eagles.
Belgium’s oldest baseball club, the Antwerp Eagles (founded in 1923) is one of the six clubs of the Eerste klasse (second-tier league) that will be added to the new Top League, a merger between the Baseball Gold League and the Eerste klasse. For the first time since 2012, the seven-time Belgian champion (1983-1988, 1991) will return to the highest level of Belgian baseball.
In their heydays, the club hired several foreigners to reinforce their roster. Dutchy Jacky Jacoba comes to mind, but also Dutchies Ronald Jaarsma, and Eelco Jansen played for the team at a much later stage.
Antwerp Eagles had the luxury of 2020 not being a regular year. They had the time to scout the new league they were promoted into. They found out what the weaknesses in their lineup were and acted upon it in the off season.
First the players that left the club.
Frank Mathys hung up his cleats to enjoy his grandkids.
Mikka Uten has left for Mortsel Stars. Olivier Raveydts and Sam Heuten will leave the flagship team for professional reasons.
The following new additions have been confirmed for the 2021 season:
From the Merchtem Cats, Daniel Bustamente and Manny Martinez are coming over; 2 solid and experienced players bringing power and utility to the line-up. Several players from the Royal Greys have joined the ranks of the Eagles: Medina Casado Rikermy Daniwill, and Morin Vazquez Jeiko. According to the Eagles these three will give the team fast hands and offensive prowess.
But the Eagles did also think about the new generation of ball players so they acquired Arno Polfliet, Harold Langezaal from Hoboken Pioneers and Bjorn Van Rymenant.
Next to adding players from outside the club, several players from their own youth system will be added to the flagship team of the Eagles: Luigi Verduyckt and Thibeaux Vissers.
And last but not least, two veterans will re-join the club: Aatif Koudad and Maxim Van Hoorebeeck.
Just like last year, the flagship team will be under the helm of Tom Heuten and assistant coach Nick van den Bosch. To support these two gentlemen, the club is still talking to a selected few to bolster the training-staff.
A big thank you goes out to Nick van den Bosch and Tom Heuten for the much needed information. Your help is really appreciated.
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