Brett Willemburg

From BR Bullpen

Brett Justin Willemburg

  • Bats Both, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 180 lb.

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Brett Willemburg is an infielder for the South African national team who played briefly in the minor leagues.

Allard Baird first saw Willemburg play when he was 15 and the Kansas City Royals signed him at age 16.

Willemburg was 4 for 25 with a triple and six walks for a .160/.323/.240 batting line for the 2002 GCL Royals. Amazingly, he was not the only Cape Town resident to go 4 for 25 for the 2002 GCL Royals as Konrad Weitz managed an identical performance. Willemburg battled a shoulder injury that year.

Released by the Royals, Willemburg was signed by the Cologne Dodgers according to The World Baseball Classic website but the German baseball website does not list him on Cologne's roster for 2003; he might have played for a farm team. Oddly, another South African infielder, Paul Bell, is listed on the roster of the Cologne Cardinals.

Willemburg went from Germany to England, where he was on the Croydon Pirates. Willemburg was instrumental in assisting the Pirates in winning the Final-4 National Championship that season where he picked up the MVP title. He then returned to his native South Africa, where he won a home run title and a MVP award.

Willemburg played for South Africa in the 2005 Baseball World Cup, hitting .148/.233/.148 and fielding .884 at shortstop. He had one run and one RBI in eight games. He did a far better job in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, going 5 for 10 with a double, two runs and 3 RBI, though he also made 3 errors. In a surprisingly close 11-8 loss to Team Canada, he hit a 3-run double against Paul Quantrill and followed with a 4-for-5 game against Mexico though he did have two errors. Against Team USA, Brett was 0 for 2 against Roger Clemens. He finished third in the initial World Baseball Classic in average behind Canada's Adam Stern and the US's Ken Griffey Jr.

Brett was again South Africa's top hitter in the 2007 Baseball World Cup, hitting .304/.385/.435. Defense was again a problem, though, as he fielded .833, making eight errors in seven games. In the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, Willemburg batted .200/.231/.240 with 11 strikeouts in 25 at-bats. He moved to second base but still had defensive gaffs, fielding .906 with 3 errors there.

In the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Brett was 2 for 7 (both singles, no walks). He was second on South Africa in average, OBP and slugging behind Gift Ngoepe. His hits were off Norge Vera and Luis Ayala.

Willemburg was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009 and assigned to minor league camp in Bradenton, FL. He struggled in a utility role with the State College Spikes (1 for 8, R) and West Virginia Power (.103/.235/.103 in 11 G). He was with South Africa in the 2009 Baseball World Cup but did not play. In the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he was 0 for 11 with two walks and a run as an outfielder.

In the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he was South Africa's second-oldest player (behind Carl Michaels). He was better this time, hitting .294/.333/.294 with four RBI in four games, second on the team in RBI, behind Kyle Botha. He started the event at DH then moved to right field for the last games. He had the tourney's first RBI, singling off Ben Cone of New Zealand to score Jonathan Phillips. For the Sydney qualifiers, he tied James Beresford for 5th in RBI.