At Least Five former NWL players still challenging for a World Series title
Rochester, Minn. – As the Major League Baseball Championship Series games begin five former Northwoods League players are each hoping for their chance at a World Series ring.
The National League West Champion Los Angeles Dodgers and former NWL players Andre Ethier (Rochester ’02) and Austin Barnes (St. Cloud ’10) look to get past the National League Central Champion Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have a former NWL player on their roster as well. Ben Zobrist (Wisconsin ’03), who won a World Series with the Kansas City Royals, will be in left field for Chicago. The rosters for the NLCS have not been set yet and can change throughout the series. Another possible addition for the Dodgers is rookie right-hander Brock Stewart (Madison ’13). Stewart has been traveling with the Dodgers throughout the NLDS and has been keeping sharp in the bullpen.
The Cleveland Indians won the American League Central Division and have one former NWL player on their roster in Tyler Naquin (Mankato ‘10). Naquin made his Major League debut this season and hit .296 with 14 home runs, five triples and 18 doubles over 116 games. The Indians will be taking on the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays have at least one former NWL player on their roster and they may have two when the rosters are announced. Outfielder Kevin Pillar (Wisconsin ’10) will be on the roster and he may be joined by infielder Ryan Goins (Waterloo ’08) if the Jays decide to go with additional infield depth.
Four other Northwoods League alums have also participated in the 2016 MLB playoffs in the earlier rounds.
Mark Melancon (Duluth ’04) and Max Scherzer (La Crosse ’04) were on the National League East Champion Washington Nationals that lost to the Dodgers in the NLDS. The San Francisco Giants and Brandon Crawford (Mankato ’05) lost to the Cubs in the other Divisional Series in the National League. While the Mets and Curtis Granderson (Mankato ’01) lost to the Giants in the National League Wild Card game.
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 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 www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.