Six Former NWL Players Selected Early on Day One


Three in the first round and three more come in a row in the Competitive Balance A Round

Rochester, MN – Six former Northwoods League players heard their names called early during the first night of the 2014 MLB First Year Player Draft on Thursday, June 5.

Nick Howard, a junior right handed pitcher and infielder at the University of Virginia was picked by the Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the 2014 Draft with the 19th pick. Howard, a 6’3”, 215-pound junior out of Olney, Maryland played in 51 games with the Mallards in 2012, batting .252 with 57 hits, six home runs and 28 RBI.

Drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays immediately after Howard with the 20th pick was former Eau Claire Express First Baseman Casey Gillaspie. During the 2012 season with the Express, Gillaspie hit .333 with a team-record 12 home runs and 38 RBI. He was also named a Northwoods League All-Star.

Gillaspie exploded at Wichita State after his summer in Eau Claire. During his 2013 season, he hit .299 for the Shockers with 11 home runs and 46 RBI.

Former La Crosse Logger Matt Chapman from Cal-State Fullerton became the sixth former Logger to be drafted in the first round when the Oakland A's selected him with the 25th overall pick.

Chapman was key in the 2012 Loggers run to their first NWL Championship, playing every day at shortstop for the Loggers where he hit .279 with 7 HR, thirteen doubles and thirteen stolen bases. Chapman also drove in 30 runs.

Derek Fisher, a 6’3”, 207-pound outfielder from Rexmont, Pennsylvania was drafted by the Houston Astros in the Competitive Balance Round A with the 37th pick. Fisher, a junior at the University of Virginia, played in 51 games with the 2012 Mallards and hit .315 with eight home runs, 58 hits and 36 RBI.

What are the Competitive Balance Rounds? They were started last year, these rounds give 10 teams with lowest revenues and 10 in the smallest markets opportunity to get additional picks through a lottery held last July. Six selections are awarded following the first round, and teams not receiving one of those are entered into a lottery for six picks following the second round.

Former Lakeshore Chinook Mike Papi from Virginia was selected in the Competive Balance Round A with the 38th overall pick. During the 2013 season with the Chinooks Papi hit .313 with 2 home runs, 5 doubles and 1 triple over 38 games. He also drove in 19 runs and stole 5 bases.

Connor Joe, a member of the Duluth Huskies in 2012, was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Competitive Balance Round A with the 39th overall pick.  Joe, from the University of San Diego, hit .295 with seven doubles, three home runs, and 24 RBI as the primary first baseman for the Huskies in 2012. He was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2014 and nearly won the Golden Spikes Award, an honor given to the top amateur player in the country after each season.


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 20-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit