Published On: May 18th, 2022

Hughes is the 288th former Northwoods League player to debut in MLB

Rochester, Minn. – Former Kalamazoo Growler Brandon Hughes, made his Major League debut for the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Hughes is the 288th former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.

Hughes, who played collegiately at Michigan State University, played for the Kalamazoo Growlers in 2015. He was drafted in the 16th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Cubs.

In 2015 with the Growlers, Hughes played in two games and hit .111 with an RBI in nine at bats.

Hughes began his professional career in 2017 with the Eugene Emeralds of the Short-Season A Northwest League. In 41 games he hit .248 with 12 doubles, a triple, and a home run. He drove in 16 and stole six bases.

In 2018, Hughes moved up to the South Bend Cubs of the Lo-A Midwest League. He played in 110 games and hit .237 with four home runs, 14 doubles and 35 RBI. He also stole 22 bases and scored 46 times.

Hughes started the 2019 season with the Cubs Rookie Level team in the Arizona League as a pitcher. He appeared in seven games before a promotion to Eugene. After nine games with the Emeralds, he finished the season in South Bend. For the season he appeared in 21 games and was 2-2 with a 3.31 ERA. He struck out 42 batters in 32.2 innings and saved two games.

In 2021 Hughes started the season with South Bend and then was promoted to the Tennessee Smokies of the AA South League. Between the two clubs he was a combined 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA. He struck out 60 batters in 42.0 innings while walking 17.

Prior to his call-up to the Cubs, Hughes had pitched in five games in Tennessee before moving up to the Iowa Cubs of the AAA International League. He had appeared in a total of 10 games and was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. He also had 12 strikeouts and three walks in 16.2 innings. In his Major League debut against the Pirates, he entered the game in relief in the 6th inning and pitched 1.2 innings allowing no runs on no hits while striking out five.


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 28th 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 285 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 (NYM), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and 2019/2021 Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and 2021 All-Star, MLB Gold Glove winner and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TEX). All league games are viewable live for FREE via the Northwoods League website at For more information, visit or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

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