Loek van Mil

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Loek van Mil
VanMil2009.jpg
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles – No. 46
Pitcher
Born: (1984-09-15) September 15, 1984 (age 30)
Oss, Netherlands
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Teams
Loek van Mil
Medal record
Men’s Baseball
Competitor for  Netherlands
European Baseball Championship
Silver 2012 Netherlands National team

Ludovicus Jacobus Maria van Mil (born September 15, 1984 in Oss, Netherlands) is a Dutch professional baseball pitcher for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Nippon Professional Baseball League. Standing at 7 feet 1 inch (2.16 m), Van Mil is the tallest player in the minor leagues.[1]

Van Mil has also pitched for the Netherlands national baseball team. Most notably, he served as the team's closer in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Additionally, he appeared in the 2007 Baseball World Cup. Though he was selected to appear in the 2008 Summer Olympics, he missed the tournament due to injury.

Early life[edit]

Van Mil competed in judo from ages 4 through 7.[2] When his mother encouraged him to join a team sport,[2] he chose to play baseball, as he had played a similar game in his elementary school.[2][3]

Van Mil reached the height of 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) at age 12, and grew to 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m) by 14 and 7 feet 0 inches (2.13 m) at the age of 15.[2] He played as a catcher, until he became too tall to play the position and shifted to first base. At the age of 17, a coach decided to try Van Mil as a pitcher due to his strong throwing arm.[3]

Career[edit]

Dutch league[edit]

In 2005, at age 20, Van Mil debuted with Honkbalclub Allen Weerbaar (HCAW), a Dutch professional baseball team from Bussum. He pitched to a 2-3 win–loss record with a 5.26 earned run average (ERA) and 34 strike outs, allowing 59 hits and 24 walks in 51 13 innings pitched.

United States[edit]

Van Mil signed a seven-year deal as a non-drafted free agent on July 7, 2005 with the Minnesota Twins.[4] Van Mil threw 1 23 scoreless innings for HCAW in 2006, spending most of the year with the Gulf Coast League Twins of the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.[5] He had a 1-2 record, with a 3.30 ERA in 10 games, eight of them starts.

In 2007, the right-hander had a 2–2 record, 2.63 record in 13 relief stints for the Elizabethton Twins of the Rookie-level Appalachian League and held opponents to a .171 average, though he walked 17 batters in 24 innings. He struck out 23 batters.

Van Mil pitched for the Beloit Snappers of the Class A Midwest League during the 2008 season. He had a 2-2 record with 3 saves and a 3.22 ERA and 42 strikeouts in his first 44 23 innings, making the Midwest League All-Star game. Van Mil suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm[6] while preparing for participation in the 2008 Summer Olympics, and missed the first seven weeks of the 2009 season while rehabilitating.

Van Mil began his 2009 season in late May with the Fort Myers Miracle, playing in the Class A-Advanced Florida State League. Later that year, he was promoted to the New Britain Rock Cats in the Class AA Eastern League. He finished the season with a 1–1 record and a 2.79 ERA in 42 games between the two clubs, 25 games out of the bullpen with Fort Myers with a 2.86 ERA and another 8 games with New Britain for a 2.45 ERA.[6] On November 20, 2009, he was added to the Twins' 40 man roster.[7]

Van Mil began the 2010 season with Fort Myers. He was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Brian Fuentes on August 27, 2010.[8]

Van Mil was announced as the player to be named later going to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the trade for Fuentes on September 1, 2010.[9][10] With the Arkansas Travelers of the Class AA Texas League in 2011, Van Mil had a 3-5 record and 2.04 ERA in 66 13 innings across 30 games. He began the 2012 season with the Class AAA Salt Lake Bees,[3] where he had a 1-0 record and 6.30 ERA.[11] He allowed ten runs, seven of them earned, in ten innings. On May 5, 2012, the Angels traded Van Mil to the Cleveland Indians for future considerations.[12] The Indians assigned him to the Akron Aeros of the Class AA Eastern League.[13]

Van Mil signed a minor league contract with the Cincinnati Reds on December 21, 2012.

Dutch national team[edit]

Van Mil joined the Netherlands national baseball team for the first time for the 2007 Baseball World Cup. He pitched 2 13 perfect innings in a save against the Venezuelan national team and threw three shutout innings for a save against the South Korean national team to keep the Dutch hopes alive for the quarterfinals;[3] they advanced after they upset Cuba the next game. Van Mil threw 3 23 scoreless frames against the host Chinese Taipei national team in the quarterfinals to help the Netherlands win again. Van Mil pitched 1 13 scoreless innings in the Bronze Medal game against the Japanese national team but was removed from the game after a walk to open the eighth inning and the runner came around to score.[14] Van Mil still finished the Cup with a 0.71 ERA, second to Kenny Berkenbosch on the fourth-place Dutch team. He led the Netherlands with two saves.[3]

Robert Eenhoorn, coach for the Dutch team, selected Van Mil for the Dutch team competing in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[15] However, he returned home before the games started due to a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.[16] Van Mil was replaced by veteran Dave Draijer.[17] This injury also prevented him from representing his country in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

Scouting report[edit]

Van Mil throws a fastball that averages 95 miles per hour (153 km/h),[18] which has been recorded as fast as 99 miles per hour (159 km/h).[2][19] Van Mil also throws a slider and a change-up.[20]

Van Mil is 7 feet 1 inch (2.16 m) and weighs 260 pounds (120 kg). Van Mil is the tallest player in professional baseball.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Van Mil, Cates Yield Big Contrast". Retrieved June 6, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Brad Rock. "New Bees pitcher Loek van Mil is intimidating presence". Deseret News. Retrieved May 6, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e http://www.sltrib.com. "Salt Lake Bees: Pitcher Loek van Mil stands tall on the mound | The Salt Lake Tribune". Sltrib.com. Retrieved May 6, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Major League Transaction Impacts Rock Cats' Roster | MiLB.com News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". Milb.com. August 28, 2010. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Twins think big with this rookie". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. March 15, 2006. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "7-foot-1 Loek van Mil has grown into quite a pitching prospect for Minnesota Twins". TwinCities.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Twins add six to fill out 40-man roster". Retrieved November 20, 2009. 
  8. ^ Velle, La (August 27, 2010). "Twins trade for lefthander Brian Fuentes". StarTribune.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Twitter / Aaron Gleeman: Twins send Loek van Mil to". Twitter.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  10. ^ Christensen, Joe. "Twins send Van Mil to Angels completing Fuentes trade". StarTribune.com. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Indians acquire 7-foot pitcher from Angels | indians.com: News". Cleveland.indians.mlb.com. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Angels trade 7-foot-1 Van Mil to Indians | angels.com: News". Losangeles.angels.mlb.com. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Indians acquire 7-foot pitcher from Angels | indians.com: News". Cleveland.indians.mlb.com. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  14. ^ BR Bullpen: Loek van Mil, baseball-reference.com, ret: August 5, 2008
  15. ^ Dutch Olympic Baseball squad 2008, knbsb.nl, ret: August 5, 2008
  16. ^ Thor Nystrom / MLB.com. "Twins' Van Mil injured at Olympics | twinsbaseball.com: News". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved May 8, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Loek van Mil - BR Bullpen". Baseball-reference.com. September 15, 1984. Retrieved September 3, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Angels' reliever Loek van Mil stands above the rest - Jon Heyman - SI.com". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. March 5, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2012. 
  19. ^ Loek van Mil: 7'1" Angels Pitcher Looks to Become Tallest Major Leaguer - bleacherreport.com
  20. ^ "Minor League Baseball". Retrieved June 6, 2009. 

External links[edit]