In this episode of “Transactions in Belgian Baseball For The 2022 Season,” we pay attention to the Merchtem Cats, which is located about five kilometers Northwest of Brussels.
Even though the Merchtem Cats will have the same core as last year, there are some new additions to the team (one veteran that is returning to the club and two farm team players). Also, one player left the club.
Catcher Yann Sierens has asked for his release but it is not clear yet if he will really leave the club.
A player that will return to the club is 3B Eli Verbeyst, who played for the Leuven Twins (third-tier league team) last season. Other additions to the flagship team will come from the Cats’ farm teams. Two of these players are youngster Ewout Vrijders (OF and C) and outfielder Cyriel Vanlauwe.
One player will be added to the roster of the flagship team after a severe injury: Outfielder Kevin Van Daelen. Barring COVID-19 misery, the two import players of the 2021 season will return to the Cats as well. US-born player/coaches Rusty Huber (SS) and Zakary Olila (OF/C) will support manager Kris Beeckmans in the team’s quest for a good result.
The Merchtem Cats did not make the playoffs (Division 1 Gold) in 2021 as they finished in fifth place in the B-section of Division 1 with a 5-15 record. In what would normally be a playdown league (Division 1 Silver), but wasn’t due to the odd number of teams, the Merchtem Cats did a lot better than in the first round as the team was tied for first place with the Mortsel Stars with a 6-2 record. Only the Mortsel Stars had a better run differential.
This year’s intention is to grow further with a very young team, completed by the addition of some veteran players.
I’d like to thank Kevin Van Daelen and Bart Saerens for the much-needed information that allowed me to write this blog post that was brought to you by