Bogaerts, Simmons lead young Dutch team

Netherlands loaded with young talent for 2017 World Baseball Classic

Bogaerts, Simmons lead young Dutch team

The Netherlands is loading up a star-studded young infield for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Boston's Xander Bogaerts, the Angels' Andrelton Simmons, the Yankees' Didi Gregorius, the Orioles' Jonathan Schoop and the Rangers' Jurickson Profar are all expected to play for the Dutch team, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported on Monday.

The collection of talent could give the country a chance to build on its impressive run in the last Classic in 2013, when the Dutch team made it to the semifinals before falling to the Dominican Republic, which won the tournament that year. Bogaerts, Simmons, Schoop and Profar are all returnees from that team.

The Netherlands opens Classic play in Pool A on March 7 against host South Korea at the Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, with games against Chinese Taipei and Israel to follow.

The only current Major Leaguer expected to be absent for the Netherlands in 2017, per Morosi, is Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. The Dutch infield, though, should stack up as one of the best in this year's World Baseball Classic.

Bogaerts has broken out for the Red Sox over the past two seasons, winning successive American League Silver Sluggers at shortstop. In 2016, the 24-year-old earned his first All-Star nod and finished the season hitting .294/.356/.446 with 21 home runs, 89 RBIs and 13 stolen bases, good for a 4.7 WAR and 113 wRC+, per FanGraphs.

Simmons ranks as one of the elite defenders in the game. Last season, the Angels shortstop led all qualified Major Leaguers at his position with a 25.1 Ultimate Zone Rating per 150 games. Since his first full season in 2013, the 27-year-old leads MLB in Defensive Runs Saved with 112.

Simmons' slick play

Gregorius, who took over at shortstop for the Yankees after Derek Jeter's retirement, produced his best offensive season to date in 2016. The 26-year-old hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 homers and 70 RBIs.

The 25-year-old Schoop played all 162 games for the Orioles last season. The second baseman hit .267/.298/.454 with a career-high 25 home runs and 82 RBIs as Baltimore earned an AL Wild Card spot.

Profar played in 90 games for the AL West-champion Rangers in 2016, seeing action at every infield position as well as left field. The 23-year-old hit .239/.321/.338 with five homers and 20 RBIs.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.