Former NWL Players Ready for 2011 Season
NWL Alumnus on 29 of 30 MLB Spring Training Rosters
(ROCHESTER, MN) Spring Training is currently starting for all 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams as ‘Pitchers and Catchers’ are beginning to report to camp in either Arizona or Florida. Although there is not an official start date for Spring Training, late February is typically when MLB teams have their players report. One thing that is prevalent in 2011 is that there is an abundance of former Northwoods League (NWL) stars throughout the MLB.
The Northwoods League will have 70 former players in MLB camps this spring which is a NWL record. In fact, 29 of the 30 Major League teams will have a former NWL alumnus on their roster. Currently, 42 of those 70 former NWL players are listed on various MLB teams 40-man rosters. A MLB teams 40-man roster is a list of all the players currently reserved by a team at the Major League level. Major League rules permit each team to reserve a maximum of 40 players at any one time. The 28 players who are not on a MLB 40-man roster are considered ‘non-roster invitees’. Non-roster invitations are awarded to players who are not on the 40-man roster and are typically awarded to prospects and veteran players.
The Chicago Cubs have an handful of former NWL pitchers as four hurlers are on the 40-man roster. Pitchers Justin Berg, Casey Coleman, Thomas Diamond, and John Gaub should all see relief innings for a team that had a 4.18 team earned run average (21st in the MLB) in 2010.
The Colorado Rockies and Detroit Tigers have the second most former NWL players as they both have three players on their 40-man rosters. The Rockies, who train in the newly built Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, AZ, will have outfielder Ryan Spilborghs who is in the mix to win the left-field spot after hitting .279 in 2010. Other Rockies who figure to see time at the big league level are left-handed pitcher Matt Reynolds, who appeared in 21 games out of the bullpen, and youngster Jordan Pacheco who could be a late season call-up behind the plate.
The Tigers three former NWL players all figure to have an immediate impact for the American League Central squad. Power arms Max Scherzer and Robbie Weinhardt will both be contributors as Scherzer is the teams projected #2 pitcher behind 2010 eighteen game winner Justin Verlander. Weinhardt, a hard throwing righty, will be in the mix of unproven and often injured Tiger relievers who finished last in the American League in saves (32) in 2010. Danny Worth saw action last year for the Tigers as he played in 39 games and is expected to contribute again in 2011 at shortstop.
Notable NWL players opening camp this month are: Curtis Granderson (New York Yankees), Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox), Daniel Ray Herrera (Cincinnati Reds), Ben Zobrist (Tampa Rays), Andre Ethier (Los Angeles Dodgers), Casey McGehee (Milwaukee Brewers), and Clint Barmes (Houston Astros).
Other NWL players that saw success in Minor League Baseball in 2010 or in limited MLB playing time are: Konrad Schmidt (Arizona Diamondbacks), Allen Craig (St. Louis Cardinals), Daniel Descalso (St. Louis Cardinals), Matt Mangini (Seattle Mariners), Dillon Gee (New York Mets), Lucas Duda (New York Mets), and Sam LeCure (Cincinnati Reds).
Follow these great former NWL players in their quest of playing at the Major League level in 2011.
The Northwoods League is currently preparing for an exciting and successful 18th season as games begin June 1st, 2011. The Northwoods League plays more games than, draws more fans than, and plays in venues superior to any Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America.