Published On: March 31st, 2023

Varland is the 313th former Northwoods League player to debut in MLB

Rochester, Minn. – Former Wiillmar Stinger Gus Varland made his Major League debut for the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday, March 30, 2023. Varland is the 313th former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.

Varland, who played collegiately at Concordia University (St. Paul, MN), played for the Stingers in 2017. He was drafted in the 14th round of the 2018 MLB draft.

In 2017 with the Stingers Varland appeared in 13 games and was 6-1 with a 1.42 ERA. He struck out 49 batters in 50.2 innings.

Varland began his professional career in 2018 with the Beloit Snappers of the Lo-A Midwest League. In five games he was 0-0 with a 0.93 ERA. He pitched in 19.1 innings and struck out 28 while walking three. After those five appearances he was sent to the Vermont Lake Monsters of the Short-Season A New York

Penn League. He appeared in seven games with Vermont and was 0-1 with a 1.02 ERA. He struck out 22 batters in 17.2 innings. He then finished the season with one appearance with the Athletics Rookie Level team in the Arizona League.

Varland moved up for the 2019 season to the Stockton Ports of the Hi-A California League. He pitched infive games for the Ports and was 2-1 with a 2.39 ERA. He struck out 27 batters in 26.1 innings and walked only eight.

In February of 2021, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Varland and infielder Sheldon Neuse from the Athletics in exchange for left-handed pitcher Adam Kolarek and minor league outfielder Cody Thomas.

In 2021 Varland spent the full season with the Tulsa Drillers of the AA Central League. He pitched in 16 games and was 1-4 with a 5.71 ERA. He struck out 22 batters in 34.2 innings.

Varland spent the 2022 season back in Tulsa. In 41 games he was 4-4 with a 6.11 ERA. He struck out an amazing career-high 85 batters in 70.2 innings and had two saves.

Following the 2022 season Varland was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the Rule 5 Draft. The Rule 5 draft is a Major League Baseball (MLB) player draft that occurs each year in December, at the annual Winter Meeting of general managers. The Rule 5 draft aims to prevent teams from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other organizations would be willing to have them play in the major leagues.

After a Spring that saw him strike out 17 batters in 8.2 innings the Brewers added Varland to their Opening Day roster. In his Major League debut against the Chicago Cubs, Varland entered the game in relief and struck out former Rochester Honker Miles Mastrobuoni for his first Major League strikeout. He would go on to pitch one inning allowing two hits, a walk, and no runs.


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Now entering its’ 30th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 24 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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