The promotion of Kai Gronauer to the Mets AAA affiliate in Las Vegas makes him the first German player to reach this level, I think. Which gives me an excuse to try and list up German players playing in the minors right now. That being said, if I left off names, it’s just because I’m not aware of them yet.
1B Donald Lutz (Reds)
He’s with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA) right now, but with the injury of Ryan Ludwick there seems to be a very slight chance that the reds might call him up. He’s had good spring numbers (.277/.327/.532, 2HR, 11RBI), but that small sample size might be a bit deceiving. He hit .242/.315/.389 in AA last year and might need a bit more time there. Oh, by the way, he’s also on Twitter (@braunerhulk) and his tweets are actually quite funny.
OF Max Kepler-Rosicky (Twins)
Kepler-Rosicky was with the Elizabethton Twins in the Rookie Appalachian League last year putting up very respectable, if not even very good numbers (59G, .297/.387/.539., 10HR, 49RBI) I have no idea, whether he got promoted for this season. He maybe has the best chance to reach the majors, being brought in by the Twins for a signing bonus of $800.000, which even sparked some interest in Germany. He’s also a lot younger that Lutz and Gronauer.
C Kai Gronauer (Mets)
Gronauer used to play right around the corner at Solingen and now he’s with the Las Vegas 51’s in AAA which – can’t mention that often enough – makes him the first German player to reach that level. Now, he really is in a very unfavourable position being the backup to Mets über-prospect Travis d’Arnaud. I think nobody sees him reaching the majors with the Mets. If I remember correctly, he had to deal with quite a few injuries last season, which should explain his line of .209/.270/.302 with 2HR and 13RBI in 40 games split between AA Binghamton and A+ St. Lucie. Well, he seems to get along with his new teammates, it seems.
RHP Daniel Thieben (Mariners)
Here’s another young guy who’s aiming to climb the ladder. Numbers look a bit too average though. But since it was his first year in the minors (with the AZL Mariners), maybe he can pick it up this season.
RHP Markus Solbach (Twins)
Another local product from Northrhine-Westphalia, he, too, is in the Twins orginanization (GCL Twins). His 2011 numbers look pretty fine, but it seems he fell off a cliff last year as his ERA ballooned. Don’t know whether he got hurt or what happened, but it sure won’t help his goal of reaching higher levels.