Published On: April 2nd, 2021

Tom is the 249th former Northwoods League player to debut in MLB

Rochester, Minn. – Former Wisconsin Woodchuck Ka’ai Tom, made his Major League debut for the Oakland Athletics on Thursday, April 1, 2021. Tom is the 249th former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.

Tom, who played collegiately at the University of Kentucky, played for the Wisconsin Woodchucks in 2014. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 5th round of the 2015 MLB draft.

In 2014 with the Woodchucks, Tom played in four games and hit .417 with a double, five runs scored and one stolen base.

Tom began his professional career in 2015 with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of the Short-Season A New York-Penn League. Over 66 games he hit .283 with three home runs, 18 doubles and two triples. He stole 14 bases and drove in 29 runs.

In 2016 Tom was promoted to the Lake County Captains of the Lo-A Midwest League. In 28 games with Lake County, he hit .323 with six doubles and 11 runs driven in.

In 2017 Tom moved up to the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Hi-A Carolina League. He hit .254 with 10 home runs, 31 doubles and seven triples. He stole a career high 23 bases and drove in 65.

Tom moved up again for the 2018 season to the Akron RubberDucks of the AA Eastern League. Over 121 games in Akron he hit .245 with 12 home runs, 21 doubles and four triples.

In 2019 Tom started the season in Akron and then was promoted, after 81 games, to the Columbus Clippers of the AAA International League. For the season, he played in a combined 132 games and hit .290 with 23 home runs, 27 doubles and 10 triples. He stole five bases and drove in 86.

Following the 2020 season, Tom was selected by the Athletics in December’s Rule 5 Draft. Tom hit .321 with a home run, a triple, and two doubles over 33 plate appearances this spring to make the Athletics opening day roster.

In his Major League debut against the Houston Astros, Tom entered the game in the 7th inning as a pinch-runner for Mitch Moreland. He was then left stranded on the bases to end the inning. Tom would remain in the game as the designated hitter and in his first plate appearance in the ninth inning, he grounded out to second and finished the game 0 for 1.


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed 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 245 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.

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