Former Stinger Nick Mears Debuts with the Pirates

Mears is the 241st former Northwoods League player to debut in MLB

Rochester, Minn. – Former Willmar Stinger Nick Mears, made his Major League debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, August 8, 2020. Mears is the 241st former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.

Mears, who played collegiately at Sacramento City College, played for the Willmar Stingers in 2017 and 2018. He was signed by the Pirates as a free agent in August of 2018.

During the 2017 season with the Stingers, Mears appeared in 10 games and was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He struck out 18 batters in 9.1 innings pitched and walked five. He saved two games and had a .857 WHIP. Mears was selected by MLB scouts to participate in the Major League Dreams Showcase where he pitched one inning allowing no runs and no hits while striking out two. He also pitched in the playoffs for the Stingers that season. In one appearance he pitched 3.2 innings and struck out six while allowing five hits and no runs.

In 2018 he pitched in 14 games in Willmar and was 1-1 with a 1.39 ERA. He struck out 29 batters in 19.1 innings and walked three. Once again, he was chosen for the Major League Dreams Showcase and he also pitched in the playoffs. He did not allow a run in either and struck out 10 batters in 4.0 innings between the two games he pitched in.

Mears made his professional debut in 2018 with the West Virginia Black Bears of the Short-Season A New York Penn League. He pitched in three games and was 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He struck out eight batters in 4.0 innings and had a .500 WHIP.

He began 2019 with the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the Lo-A South Atlantic League. After seven games in Greensboro, he was promoted to the Bradenton Marauders of the HI-A Florida State League. He would pitch in 23 games in Bradenton before a promotion, to end the season, to the Altoona Curve of the AA Eastern League. For the season, he went a combined 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.050 WHIP. He struck out 69 batters in 46.2 innings and saved five games.

Mears was placed in the Pirates 60-man player pool for the 2020 season and had his contract purchased by the Pirates on August 8. In his Major League debut against the Tigers, Mears entered the game in the sixth inning in relief of Pirates starter Derek Holland. He pitched one inning allowing one run on one hit while striking out two.


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Now in its’ 27th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 240 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.