Rodney van Buizen

From BR Bullpen

Rodney van Buizen

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 190 lb.

Rodney van Buizen was a two-time Olympic shortstop who reached AA in the minor leagues.

Van Buizen began his career in the 1997-1998 Australian Baseball League, hitting .325/.357/.500 at age 17 for the Hunter Eagles, earning him Rookie of the Year honors. In the 1998-1999 ABL, he batted .271/.307/.318 for the Sydney Storm followed by a .312 mark in the playoffs. Signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, he made his US debut with the 1999 Great Falls Dodgers and hit .286/~.330/.367. He led Pioneer League second basemen in fielding percentage (.991), assists (197) and double plays (47) and tied for the most putouts (139). He made his debut with the Australian national team in the 1999 Intercontinental Cup, as the defensive replacement for Brendan Kingman at third base. He went 1 for 3 with a walk as Australia won Gold for the first time ever in a major international competition. In the Gold Medal game, van Buizen played the final four innings at third base, handling one chance without an error and going 0 for 1 with a walk.

Van Buizen struggled in the International Baseball League of Australia in 1999-2000 for the New South Wales Patriots, hitting .205/.224/.219 in 17 games. In his second minor league season, he batted .220/.286/.266 for the Yakima Bears in a utility man role. He was still picked for the Australian team for the 2000 Olympics. In the Summer Games, he was 2 for 6 as a backup infielder for the host Australians.

In 2001, Rodney eked out a .221/.296/.330 line for the Wilmington Blue Rocks despite seeing regular playing time at second base. He missed the 2001 Baseball World Cup due to injury. In the 2002 Claxton Shield, he hit an amazing .579/.636/.684 in five games for New South Wales. He led the 2002 Shield in average and won the MVP Award.

Van Buizen followed his best winter with his best summer, batting .280/.330/.392 for the Vero Beach Dodgers with 74 runs, 8 home runs and 17 steals in 25 tries. He had 322 assists at second base, leading the Florida State League. In the 2003 Claxton Shield, the New South Wales infielder hit .407 and won All-Star honors at second base. He split the summer between Vero Beach (.326/.376/.358 in 52 games, mostly in the outfield) and Jacksonville Suns (.217/.308/.217 in 20 games). In the 2004 Shield, he hit .292/.400/.500 and helped the Patriots to a title.

The 23-year-old returned to Vero Beach one more time, but fared very badly in 2004 - he hit .162/.175/.237 in 47 games despite being used almost entirely at offense-oriented positions (31 games in the outfield, 6 at first base in addition to 7 at shortstop and 5 at third base). He was back with the Australian national team for the 2004 Olympics and hit .258/.281/.387 with 9 RBI in 9 games as their starting shortstop; he fielded .909. He tied Gavin Fingleson for the team lead in RBI, beating out more players such as Dave Nilsson. He tied Fingleson and Eriel Sanchez for third in the Olympics in RBI, trailing only Ariel Pestano and Kosuke Fukudome. Van Buizen made a defensive miscue in the semifinals, when he and 3B Paul Gonzalez let a pop fly from Michihiro Ogasawara drop in between them. Van Buizen was charged with an error but Australia still hung on for the 1-0 upset win. He went 0 for 4 in the Gold Medal game loss to the Cuban national team.

The New South Wales veteran hit just .118 in the 2005 Claxton Shield, then spent the summer in the Japanese industrial leagues after having been let go by the Dodgers. The regular shortstop for Australia in the 2005 Baseball World Cup, he again hit just .118 (.167 OBP, .176 SLG). Rodney returned for the Aussies in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and played one game as the backup shortstop to Brad Harman. He flew out against Eude Brito and later reached on a Miguel Tejada throwing error, then came around to score.