Published On: October 20th, 2023

At least eight of twenty-four former NWL players still challenging for a World Series title

Rochester, Minn. – As the Major League Baseball Championship Series games continue, eight former Northwoods League players are each hoping for their chance at a World Series ring.

The National League East’s Philadelphia Phillies and former NWL players Bryson Stott (Wisconsin Rapids ‘17) and Matt Strahm (Rochester ’11) look to get past the National League West’s Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks feature starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt (Mankato ’18) and Kyle Nelson (La Crosse ’15)

The Texas Rangers advanced out of the American League West and have four former NWL players on their roster. Pitchers Max Scherzer (La Crosse ’04) and Dan Dunning (Waterloo ’14) are joined by infielder Marcus Semien (Alexandria ’09-’10) and catcher Mitch Garver (St. Cloud ’10-’11). The Rangers are taking on the Houston Astros.

Sixteen other Northwoods League alums have also participated in the 2023 MLB playoffs in the earlier rounds. See below for a list of NWL alums, their current MLB team and the NWL team and year they played.


OF Andrew Stevenson – Lakeshore 2013

P Brock Stewart – Madison 2013

P Griffin Jax – Eau Claire 2015

P Louie Varland – Willmar 2017, 2018


P Colin Poche – Willmar 2013

Blue Jays

C Tyler Heineman – Wausau 2011

3B Matt Chapman – La Crosse 2012

OF Daulton Varsho – Eau Claire 2015, 2016

OF Cam Eden – St. Cloud 2017


INF Owen Miller – Lakeshore 2016, 2017

OF Mark Canha – St. Cloud 2008


P AJ Puk – Waterloo 2014

C Nick Fortes – Fond du Lac 2017


OF Kevin Pillar – Wausau 2010


P Alex Vesia – Mankato 2016

C Austin Barnes – St. Cloud 2010


The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 30th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 26 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, 340 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 (TEX), 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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