Baseball Aruba announced today that Brandon Rincones is the latest Aruban to sign a professional contract, as the shortstop and pitcher inked a deal with the Red Sox. Rincones becomes the second Aruban shortstop in Boston’s system, joining ascendant star Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts is one of only five Arubans to make the majors.
As reported by Baseball America’s Ben Badler, MLB hosted a showcase last week for the top prospects out of Venezuela for the upcoming signing period (July 2018). The event was moved to Aruba shortly before taking place, due to the political situation in Venezuela. According to Jairo Dirksen, Aruban Coach and founder of Baseball Aruba, no Aruban players were invited, but Rincones was discovered while playing shortstop in a Little League Senior division playoff happening at the same time, and a Red Sox scout took video.
Dirksen explained to me, “Aruba hosted the event and all MLB teams were present, and it was then that two Boston Red Sox representative asked for a private tryout with Brandon at a different field. After that successful tryout the family was called by the area scout from Curacao where they heard that the Red Sox had an offer for Brandon.”
According to Baseball Aruba, Rincones comes from a baseball family, with parents Eric and Evelina involved in the Aruba Centre League, and three of his grandparents also participating. Two of his other relatives, Victor and Jozef Albus, founded the Aruba North League.
In the press release, Dirksen remarks [translation by author], “We wish him success in his future career as a professional baseball player and we have confidence that he [will be another player] to reach the Big Leagues.”
Last year, a similar showcase for Venezuelan players had two invited Arubans, Jerrick Francees and Mayron Cathalina, Dirksen informed me. Both went on to sign with the Dodgers. Rincones, meanwhile, will join Ryan Oduber in the Red Sox minor league system, which also features Curaçaoan Shair Lacrus. Rincones will likely follow their paths and start in the Dominican Summer League.
“It is indeed hard to get the necessary funding, however with the little we have, we push the game forward,” offered Dirksen. “We are far from where we used to be, but we are slowly climbing back to the glory days.”
“Since Xander Bogaerts made it in the big leagues, the game of baseball has resurged in big fashion,” continued the Aruban coach. “The interest is now as big as it used to be and Brandon signing with the Red Sox helps boosts the game further on the island.”
Those interested in learning more about baseball in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean islands can read or listen to our interviews with Dodgers’ star Kenley Jansen (link), slick-fielding Angels’ shortstop Andrelton Simmons (link), and rising Aruban Jiandido Tromp (link), a recent Eastern League All-Star as a Phillies’ farmhand. We will soon also offer an interview with Jurickson Profar.
We express our gratitude to Jairo Dirksen for speaking with us about the signing and supplying significant background information. Photos of Rincones are copyright Baseball Aruba.