Curacao was one of the two invitees to the Caribbean Series in Miami on February 1-9, and they are not taking their invitation lightly. Their confederation has provided a provisional roster for the Curacao Suns, the team that will be representing Curacao in the Series, that is loaded with former MLB as well as Nippon Professional League All Stars and veterans. Names that headline this provisional roster are MLB veterans Jonathan Schoop, Jurickson Profar, Didi Gregorius, and the recently retired Andrelton Simmons.
Schoop is currently playing for the MLB Detroit Tigers. Heis a veteran of 11 MLB seasons and was selected an MLB All-Star in 2017 when he played for the Baltimore Orioles. This was his best season in the majors as he finished 12th in Most Valuable Player voting. He hit 32 HR and drove in 102 runs that season. He has produced an OPS of .721 in over 4,300 MLB At bats.
Gregorius is most known to MLB fans for his time with the New York Yankees from 2014 to 2019. During his time with the Yankees, he reached the postseason four times. He was a crucial contributor in the ALDS in 2017 and 2019, both three-game sweeps by the Yankees significantly in part to his OPS of 1.023 and 1.200, respectively. Gregorius had a career of 11 years, during which he had an OPS of .723. MLB Journeyman Jurickson Profar has also played baseball at its highest level for 961 games over 11 seasons. His best season was in 2018 when as a member of the Texas Rangers he hit 20 HR and had an OPS of .798 with an OPS+ of 107.
Andrelton Simmons had a long MLB career comprising of 1,225 games, which is second only to Andruw Jones for players born in Curacao. He also ranks second to Jones in plate appearances (4,816), At-bats (4,441), hits (1,169), WAR (37.1), and number of Gold Gloves (4). Simmons also won the Platinum Glove, which is awarded to the best defensive player at any position in their league. His defense has led many to consider him one of his generation’s best defensive shortstops ever and certainly the best defender. From 2012-2022, Simmons had the most Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) of any shortstop in MLB with 202. During that time, among shortstops who played at least 10,000 innings at shortstop, the shortstop closest to Simmons’ DRS total was Brandon Crawford, who had 68 DRS in 12,364 innings at shortstop. Simmons had a total of 10,338 innings at shortstop.
Another name that is very recognizable to baseball fans is that of Wladimir Balentien, who is a 6-time Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star and was the Central League MVP in 2013 when he established the League’s Home Run record with 60, eclipsing the mark of legendary Japanese baseball icon Sadaharu Oh. He has also participated in the World Baseball Classic, representing Nederland and providing some of the most memorable moments for the Dutch team in the 2017 Classic.
The Caribbean Series will be played at Loan Depot Park, the MLB Miami Marlins home. This will be the first time the Series will be held in an MLB stadium, where the energy is anticipated to replicate that of last year’s WBC. The festivities will also include the induction of the Caribbean Series Hall of Fame Class 2024, comprised of Odell Jones, Julian Tavarez, Jesus Feliciano, Cesar Tovar, and Francisco Campos.