Four teams selected of the top prospects in the Northwoods League by MLB Scouts
Rochester, Minn. — The Northwoods League has announced the rosters for the 2018 Major League Dreams Showcase, which will be hosted by the Madison Mallards at Warner Park on Tuesday, August 7. Two Express, Justin Slaten and Drew Hmielewski, will compete and Dale Varsho will manage the home team in the first game.
The annual Showcase will consist of a double-header featuring the top players from the Northwoods League who were selected by a panel of Major League Baseball Scouts. The players will participate in a day of workouts in front of scouts which will be followed by the double-header.
The first game will start at 4:05 p.m. and will match two teams featuring a mix of North Division players. The players on the visiting team in this game will primarily come from Willmar, St. Cloud, Bismarck, Duluth and Thunder Bay. The home team will be made up of players mainly from Mankato, Rochester, La Crosse, Eau Claire and Waterloo. Former Major League player and coach Al Newman of the St. Cloud Rox will skipper the visiting team while Dale Varsho of the Eau Claire Express will manage the home team.
The visiting team in this first game will be led by Northwoods League All-Stars Mike Farnell (Murray State), Matt Warkentin (Xavier) and Cristian Montes (SUNY Stony Brook) of the Bismarck Larks along with Troy Newell (Western Kentucky) and Augie Isaacson (Friends University) of the Duluth Huskies and Finn Del Bonta-Smith of the St. Cloud Rox. Isaacson currently leads the league with a .369 average and has 33 stolen bases in 49 games.
The home team in game one will feature the current league leader in home runs Kyle MacDonald (Arkansas State). MacDonald was an All-Star this season and has 14 home runs and 65 RBI in 56 games for the Mankato MoonDogs. Justin Slaten (New Mexico) of the Eau Claire Express will also play in this game. Slaten currently leads the league in wins with six, strikeouts with 67 and ERA at 1.18.
The second game will start at 7:35 p.m. and will be played by two teams of South Division players. The visiting team for this game will be made up of players mostly from Rockford, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. The home team will have players from Madison, Lakeshore, Kenosha, Wisconsin Rapids and Wisconsin. Brian Smith of the Rockford Rivets will be the Field Manager for the visiting team. Mallards Field Manager and former MLB catcher, Donnie Scott will be in the dugout for the home team.
In the night cap the visiting team will be led by the 2018 Northwoods League All-Star Game Home Run Derby Champion winner Zach Daniels (Tennessee) of the Kalamazoo Growlers. Seven other Growlers will join him on this roster including 2018 All-Star Mason Shinabery (Huntington). Other All-Stars on this team include Cooper Cain (Valdosta State) of the Rockford Rivets and Leo Perez (Texas A & M- Corpus Christi) of the Green Bay Bullfrogs.
Six members of the hometown Madison Mallards will compete for the home team in the second game. This talented group of players were all All-Stars this season and are led by two players with MLB pedigrees. Tyler Plantier (Richmond) is the son of former Major League outfielder Phil Plantier. Tyler is currently hitting .306 with 13 home runs and 46 RBI. Jake Randa (Northwest Florida State) is the son of former Major League third baseman Joe Randa. Jake is currently hitting .323 with 22 doubles and 43 RBI. On the mound, another 2018 All-Star, Josh Serio (UW-Milwaukee) of the Kenosha Kingfish will bring his talents to Madison. Serio currently has seven saves and 30 strikeouts in 19.1 innings for Kenosha.
Proceeds from the Major League Dreams Showcase will benefit the Northwoods League Foundation. The Northwoods League Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that serves as a vehicle to transform a shared passion for baseball into positive change and support for communities. Of the many needs the foundation may address through grants, scholarships or donations, one ongoing focus will be to view its member communities and look upon the baseball programs they have in place with a harmonious goal of making them all finer places to live.
More information on the Foundation can be found at northwoodsleague.com/community/foundation/
Tickets for the event can still be purchased and are available at mallardsbaseball.com.