Spartan Trio to Join Growlers in 2015


KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers are pleased to welcome three of the top prospects in the state of Michigan as the first new Growlers of the Travis Wade era. Left-hander Keegan Baar, pitcher and outfielder Brandon Hughes, and shortstop Kory Young will call Homer Stryker Field their summer home in 2015 after completing their freshman seasons at Michigan State University this spring.

Keegan Baar: 6’3” – 190lb, LHP, Michigan State (Fr.), Jenison, MI

Brandon Hughes: 6’3” – 200lb, OF/LHP, Michigan State (Fr.), Sterling Heights, MI

Kory Young: 6’1” – 185lb, SS, Michigan State (Fr.), Rockford, MI

One of the most decorated pitchers in the entire Great Lake State, Keegan Baar was the top-ranked Michigan prospect on the Prep Baseball Report’s list and fourth on the Michigan Baseball Prospects rankings. The Jenison southpaw boasts a fastball that clocks out in the low-90s, which drew the attention of major-league scouts in the run-up to the 2014 MLB Draft. Spartans head coach Jake Boss, Jr. carries great expectations for Baar’s freshman year because of his natural ability and athletic pedigree; his brother Tyler is currently a standout first baseman at the University of Toledo.

In nine starts during his senior year at Hudsonville High School, Baar went 2-4 with a 1.84 ERA, 15 walks, and 65 strikeouts while leading the Eagles to the district quarterfinals. He finished his three-year run with a 15-8 record and 158 Ks. In 2012, Baar and his brother led Hudsonville to the state championship; Keegan started and won the quarterfinal matchup and pitched in relief in the championship game on three days’ rest.

A presence both on the mound and at the plate, Brandon Hughes drew a No. 5 ranking on the Michigan Baseball Prospects list along with top-15 praise from Perfect Game and Prep Baseball Report. The Sterling Heights product originally committed to the University of Michigan during his sophomore season but flipped to Michigan State as a senior after coaching changes at UM.Hughes’s high school coach Joe Emanuele described his former star as a fierce competitor and great athlete who can beat opponents in many ways.

Hughes’s senior season at Sterling Heights Stevenson, which he spent as a team captain, was his best yet. As a starting pitcher, he went 8-0 with a 0.98 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 42 innings. He also hit .400 with 53 runs, 22 stolen bases, 10 extra-base hits, and 28 RBIs. A two-time Michigan High School All-State Dream Team selection and two-time Macomb County MVP, Hughes led the Titans to championship games in 2011 and 2013 and a No. 1 ranking in the 2014 state tournament.

A skilled leadoff hitter with a glove to boot, Kory Young was named the top shortstop in the state by Perfect Game and earned top-10 overall rankings from Michigan Baseball Prospects, Perfect Game, and Prep Baseball Report. The Rockford native committed to MSU as a sophomore, and Coach Boss expects him to make an immediate impact at the top of the order in East Lansing. Young’s high school coach Ian Hearn praised his former shortstop as a young man of “extremely high character who tries to excel in whatever he does.”

During his senior season at Rockford High School, his third as a team captain, Young hit .421 with 43 runs, 20 stolen bases, and a .576 on-base percentage. His performance drew statewide attention, as he was named to his second consecutive Michigan High School All-State Dream Team and earned USA Today/Gatorade Michigan Baseball Player of the Year honors. Young was also a two-time Grand Rapids Area MVP and led the Rams to a state championship in 2011. In the 2013 state quarterfinals, he made a spot start and tossed a complete-game three-hitter in a 1-0 loss.

Kalamazoo begins its second season on May 26 at Madison. The Growlers’ home opener comes on May 29 against the Battle Creek Bombers. The full Growlers schedule can be found here. For information on 2015 Growlers season tickets, click here.

The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 22nd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2015, the Northwoods 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 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (BOS) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website.  For more information, visit