Eight former Growlers selected in the 2019 MLB Draft
Kalamazoo, MI — Over the last two days, a number of former KZoo greats heard their names called and had their dreams become a reality as eight former Kalamazoo Growlers were taken in this year’s Major League Baseball Draft. From the fourth round until the 38th, these players achieved their life-long aspirations of becoming professional baseball players.
Ivan Johnson, 4th round (114th overall) Cincinnati Reds
Johnson played for the Growlers just last season in 2018 and was the first of the group to receive the call. The former Georgia Bulldog and Chipola College Indian hit .283 last summer for the Growlers, tallying 30 hits, three doubles, two triples, two home runs and 17 RBIs. Johnson also stole 11 bases as well.
Johnson spent one season this past spring at Chipola College after transferring from the University of Georgia following his freshman year. He hit .381 for the Indians with a team-high 72 hits, 10 doubles, one triple, nine home runs and 49 RBIs. Johnson hit .239 in his one season at Georgia with 11 hits and 4 RBIs.
Matt Lloyd, 15th round (444th overall) Cincinnati Reds
Lloyd was a member of the 2016 Growlers who began his career at Iowa Western Community College before transferring to Indiana University for the next three seasons. In the 2016 season, Lloyd played in 36 games with a .268 average, compiling 33 hits, 14 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 19 RBIs.
At Indiana, Lloyd was an All-Big Ten in each of his three seasons. He was a second-team pick his sophomore year, while earning first-team honors in his junior and senior campaigns with the Hoosiers. Lloyd was a two-way player this past spring, batting .280 with 63 hits, 15 doubles, 17 home runs and 59 RBIs at the plate. On the mound, the Okotoks, Alberta, Canada native posted a 2.70 ERA in 16.2 innings with 18 strikeouts.
Jake Hoover, 28th round (835th overall) Texas Rangers
Hoover played for the Growlers in the first eight games of the 2019 season before getting the call. The Hillsdale College product was an offensive force in the lead-off spot, hitting .324 with 11 hits, one double, one triple, one home run and four RBIs.
Hoover posted a strong junior season for the Chargers in 2019, leading the team with a .370 average. He also compiled a team-high 70 hits, 13 doubles, 10 home runs 33 RBIs. Hoover also stole a team-best 21 bases on 25 attempts. Hoover earned second team all-conference honors this past season and was a first team selection in his sophomore season in 2018. The Armada, Michigan native hit .320 with 54 hits and 25 RBIs as a sophomore.
Matthew Koehler, 31st round (944th overall) Oakland Athletics
Koehler spent the 2017 summer season in Kalamazoo following his sophomore year at Western Carolina University. The Raleigh, NC native posted 39 hits, four doubles, two triples, five home runs and 26 RBIs to go with his .234 clip.
Koehler had a standout redshirt senior campaign this past spring, leading the Catamounts with a .361 average, 74 hits, 10 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs and 45 RBIs. He also led the team with a .649 slugging percentage and stole 17 bases. His stellar season earned him All-Southern Conference First Team honors. Koehler led the conference throughout the season in batting average.
He finished his career at WCU with nine career triples, which is ninth in program history. Koehler had a .292 career average in four seasons with 199 career hits and 97 RBIs.
Dylan Shockley, 34th round (1,024th overall) Pittsburgh Pirates
Shockley was also a member of the record-breaking 2018 Growlers and was a strong contributor in the franchise’s first postseason run. He hit .286 in the two playoff games with two hits, one home run and four RBIs. Shockley batted .192 overall on the season with five hits, two doubles and two RBIs.
Shockley put together a stellar 2019 season at the University of Rio Grande, playing in 60 games and making 59 starts. The Minford, Ohio native hit .373 with 81 hits, 23 doubles, five triples, five home runs and 46 runs driven in. He also led the Red Storm with 43 walks. Shockley’s impressive numbers earned him All-River States Conference Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive year.
Garvin Alston Jr., 37th round (1,100th overall) Chicago White Sox
Alston Jr. played for the Growlers in 2016 after finishing his freshman season at Arizona State. He eventually transferred to USC Aiken following the 2017 campaign with the Sun Devils. Alston Jr. made 17 appearances and one start on the mound during his time in Kalamazoo, tallying 26 strikeouts in 20 innings with a 1-0 record.
This past season, Alston Jr. made 16 appearances and 15 starts on the hill with a 5-5 record and 4.63 ERA. He finished second on the Pacers with 70 innings pitched, totaling 63 strikeouts with 36 earned runs allowed.
Luke Boyd, 38th round (1,141st overall) Los Angeles Angels
Boyd spent last season in Kalamazoo and put together an outstanding junior season at Baylor. Last summer, Boyd was 2-2 on the mound for the Growlers through 27.1 frames of work with 21 strikeouts.
This past spring for the Bears, Boyd was a perfect 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA in 24 appearances and two starts. He compiled 41 strikeouts to just 18 walks in 33.2 innings of work on the bump, allowing just eight earned runs and held opponents to a .170 average.
Angelo Armenta, 38th round (1,148th overall) Tampa Bay Rays
Armenta was a member of the 2015 Growlers, playing in 39 games that summer with 28 hits, six doubles, one home run and 11 RBIs. Armenta spent his senior season in 2019 at San Diego State after transferring from the University of Southern California where he spent four years with the Trojans.
Armenta played and started in all 57 games for the Aztecs this season, hitting .307 with 65 hits, a team-high 15 doubles, one triple, two home runs and 39 RBIs. He also stole six bases on seven attempts.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Currently in its’ 26thseason, 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 200 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.