The Atlanta Braves saw the fruits of their scouting in the Japanese market take shape last Saturday as Kenshin Kawakami won his major league debut. The Braves have long used their scouting in Central America and the Carribean to fill their minor league and major league ranks, and now the team has signed its first player from... wait for it... Europe. Say what? Europeans don't play baseball!
The Atlanta Braves signed outfielder Ruben Rijkhof in Tenerife and the 17 year old Dutch will be reporting to rookie league in the next week.
He is 6’2”, weighs 185 pounds and combines speed, a strong throwing arm and powerful hitting. Atlanta Braves international scout Nestor Perez Sr. was the responsible of bringing the talented player to Tenerife so he could hone his skills under his and his son’s, Nestor Perez Jr., guidance.
The result was a tryout under supervision of Jose Martinez, Johnny Almaraz and Jose Tartabull from the Atlanta Braves and finally the contract was signed in presence of Nestor Perez Sr., Nestor Perez Jr., Ruben Rijkhof and his mother Wanda Rijkhof, who also had worked as a coach with her son.
Ruben Rijkhof is the first player signed in Europe by the Atlanta Braves and Nestor Perez, and it is not a coincidence that this took place in, as the Club has invested in its presence trusting the baseball potential on the island.
I had to look it up too, but Tenerife is an island in the Canary chain, which is territory of Spain off the West coast of Africa right on the border between Morocco and Western Sahara.