And, of course, there really is a “Haarlem Shake” video from the good citizens of the Dutch municipality:
No possible permutation of an internet fad goes un-uploaded.
The connection, by the way, comes from the original Dutch settlers of Manhattan Island, becuase even old New York was once New Amsterdam. Why they changed it I can’t say. People just liked it better that way.
So enough music history (and history history — the English forced the Dutch to give up Manhattan, and, afterward, changed New Amsterdam to New York, but kept the Dutch name for the northern settlements, except for removing the un-English extra “a”). Got it? Got it.
And from the Dutch version with the extra “a” comes Lars Huijer.
We already put the spotlight on a few newcomers in the “Radar Scope Alert” series, and this new “Plateau Leap” series will zero in on guys who’ve been around but made some big progress in 2013.
We’ll start with Huijer and dispense with the obvious: he really is Dutch; he really is from Haarlem; and he does not wear wooden cleats.
Huijer is a 6-foot-4, 183-pound righty who just turned 20. Not a beanpole, but not a burly tight-end type either.
He came to the states as a 17-year-old after making a few starts in the Dutch “Honkbal Hoofdklasse” [you can’t make this stuff up], which is the highest level of pro baseball in the Netherlands. He followed his older brother Swen, who pitched for a couple of years in the Red Sox organization with decent success before returning home to re-join the Hoofdklasse.
Lars and Swen in the Honkbal Hoofdklasse … it does sound like a bad comedy sketch, but …
Quite obviously, Lars was a work-in-progress when he arrived stateside, as he was nothing special in the Arizona Rookie League, and then only marginally better as an 18-year-old at Pulaski.
But he earned a step up the ladder to Everett anyway, and clearly things started to come together in his age-19 season for the Aqua Sox.
71.1 IP | 3.03 ERA | 3.41 FIP | 1.12 WHIP | 2.9 BB/9 | 7.7 K/9
More importantly for our “Spectometer” analysis, he was the most effective organizational starter in all the U.S. leagues at limiting ISO-against. His final number: .058, resulting from just nine doubles and two homers from 299 batters faced.
Like another guy from a non-baseball part of the world, South African Dylan “Sharkie” Unsworth (they seem to be buddies), Huijer builds his game around consistently limiting damage rather than racking up dazzling strikeout rates (though 7.7 for a starter is nothing to sneeze at, and he had a couple of brilliant high-K outings).
The low-WHIP, low-ISO approach has worked well for Unsworth, who made great strides this season at Clinton, and it seems to work for Huijer also. And even though he was in his third year of U.S. action, he was still one of the youngest pitchers on the Aqua Sox roster.
We also like what he has on his Twitter feed: “opgeven is geen optie” which he translates as “go hard or go home.”