Published On: September 11th, 2016

Smith is the 162nd former Northwoods League player to debut in MLB

Rochester, Minn. – Former Alexandria Beetle, Blake Smith, made his Major League debut for the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, September 10, 2016. Smith is the 162nd former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.

Smith, who played collegiately at Cal, played for the Alexandria Beetles in 2007. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2nd round of the 2009 MLB Draft.

In 2007 with the Beetles, he was 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 10 appearances. He also struck out 19 batters in 13.2 innings pitched. At the plate he hit .239 with one home run, one triple and three doubles while driving in seven runs and stealing three bases.

Smith spent eight seasons in the Minor Leagues before his debut with the White Sox. Seven of those seasons were spent in the Dodgers organization. Smith joined the White Sox via trade from the Dodgers in exchange for Eric Surkamp in 2015. The Padres claimed him in the Rule 5 draft this past December but he was returned to the Sox when he didn't make the big-league roster for opening day.

During his time in the Minor Leagues he appeared in 152 games as a pitcher between 2013 and 2016 and compiled an 8-14 record, 3.86 ERA and 212 strikeouts in 205.1 innings. From 2009 through 2015 he hit .269 over 1574 at-bats. Smith hit 59 home runs and had 105 doubles, seven triples and drove in 256 runs.

Prior to being called up by the White Sox, Smith had spent the entire season with the Charlotte Knights of the AAA International League. Over 39 games he was 3-1 with a 3.53 ERA and had accumulated 75 strikeouts in 71.1 innings pitched.

In his Major League debut against the Kansas City Royals, Smith entered the game in the 9th inning in relief of Juan Minaya. He pitched one inning and induced ground ball outs to the first two batters and a fly out to end the inning.


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 160 former 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 (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

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