Published On: March 7th, 2023

Twenty-Two former players to compete for their country, Israeli team has six former NWL players

Rochester, Minn. – As the World Baseball Classic begins today, twenty-two former Northwoods League players will be competing in the event. The tournament features professional players from the major leagues around the world, including Major League Baseball. In addition to providing a format for the best baseball players in the world to compete against one another while representing their home countries, the World Baseball Classic was created to further promote the game around the globe.

After a three-year gap between the first two tournaments, plans were made for the World Baseball Classic to be repeated every four years following the 2009 event. The third installment of the Classic was held in 2013, and the fourth was held in 2017. The fifth was scheduled for 2021 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Listed below are the players by country, Northwoods League team, and current MLB affiliation if any.


Richie Palacios, Wisconsin Rapids 2016, Cleveland AAA


Ben DeLuzio, St. Cloud 2016, St. Louis Cardinals

Miles Mastrobuoni, Rochester 2015, Tampa Bay AAA

Dominic Miroglio, Duluth 2014-2015, Arizona AAA

Glenn Albanese, Wisconsin Rapids 2020, Los Angeles Angels Hi-A

Matteo Bocchi, Rochester 2018, N/A


Lars Nootbaar, La Crosse 2016, St. Louis Cardinals


Drew Campbell, Madison 2018, Atlanta Braves Hi-A


Austin Barnes, St. Cloud 2010, Los Angeles Dodgers


Denzel Clarke, Kokomo 2019, Oakland A’s Hi-A

Jacob Robson, Thunder Bay 2014, Detroit AAA

Great Britain

Jamie Ritchie, Alexandria 2013/Green Bay 2014, Pittsburgh AAA

Jacob Esch, Madison 2009-2010, N/A

Graham Spraker, La Crosse 2015-2016, Toronto AAA


Pedro Garcia, St. Cloud 2019, Cincinnati AA


Pete Alonso, Madison 2014, New York Mets


Zack Gelof, Kalamazoo 2019, Oakland AA

Matt Mervis, Kalamazoo 2018, Chicago Cubs AAA

Richard Bleier, Alexandria 2007, Boston Red Sox

Colton Gordon, Kenosha 2018, Houston Hi-A

Andrew Gross, Thunder Bay 2018, Tampa Bay Hi-A

Joey Wagman, Wisconsin Rapids 2011, N/A


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 29th 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 310 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 via the Northwoods League website at and on ESPN+. For more information, visit or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.


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