Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More On Stepan Havlicek

Tampa Bay RaysFrom the PR: The Tampa Bay Rays have signed 16-year-old left-handed pitcher Stepan Havlicek (STEF-en HAVE-li-check), a member of the Czech Junior National Team, to a free agent minor league contract. He was signed last week in Blansko, Czech Republic, by John Gilmore, the club's European and Australian scout. Gilmore worked closely with Jiri Vit, an associate scout for the Rays in Czech Republic.

Havlicek is the first player signed by the Rays out of the Czech Republic, and is believed to be the first ever signed by the Rays out of Europe.

"Stepan has a loose, quick arm with good follow through," said Gilmore. "His fastball has run and his curveball depth. For a young player, he has great control and goes right after hitters."

A student of Sport Grammar School in the city of Brno, the 6'1", 160-pound Havlicek is a longtime member of the Czech Cadets and Junior National teams. His most recent competition was at the 2009 European Juniors Championships held in August in Bonn, Germany, where he tallied 13 strikeouts over 11.1 scoreless innings. He will likely attend a portion of the Rays extended spring training and play at Major League Baseball's Australia Academy this summer.

"This is a great opportunity for me to play against talented players," Havlicek said at his signing day press conference in Blansko. "Everything will be new for me in the States and it will definitely be a great experience."

The signing is part of the Rays expanded international scouting efforts in Asia, Australia and Europe.

"Playing in the World Series has certainly made international players aware of the Rays," said Gilmore. "But our track record in player development is our most powerful selling point to young players around the world."


  1. Teams are recruiting from around the world and signing many from other nations. Huge sums of money are being sent over to other countries in order to sign these players. Many of these players are signing earlier than our guys are allowed to sign. Are these players from other countries really that much better than those we have on our own soil? Unemployment is in a horrible state in this country. I'd sure love to see more of our own guys getting these jobs.

  2. Any news on whats going on with him?

  3. I checked out the Australian Academy league rosters and stats, don't see his name anywhere.

  4. Havlicek made his debut for the GCL Rays today, went 1.0 inning no hits or runs, 1 walk. Box score. Guess the earlier reports were wrong. I have heard he's going back to the Czech Rep to finish school this fall (he's only 17).