Growlers add star power to roster in Grant Van Putten and Jake Baldwin
Grant Van Putten and Jacob Baldwin put together huge seasons for their collegiate teams in 2013. The Kalamazoo Growlers are hoping they can repeat that success in Northwoods League competition this season.
Grant Van Putten (Left): 5’10” – 165lb, Bats/R-Throws/R, OF, Calvin College (Jr.), Holland, MI
Jacob Baldwin (Right): 6’0”- 190lb, Bats/R-Throws/R, RHP, Ashland University (SO.), Madison Heights, MI
Van Putten brings a record-breaking presence to the Kalamazoo lineup. The outfielder had a huge 2013 for the Calvin College Knights hitting a couple of home runs, smacking 12 doubles, and piling up 25 RBI in 41 games. His .426 batting average led the team and finished as the third highest single season batting average in Calvin College history (.442 – Ken Stuursma 1987, .467 – T.J. Cummings 1994). Van Putten also broke the school’s single season records for hits (63) and stolen bases (23) last season. His 41 runs scored and 85 total bases were both good for second in the all-time single season record books as well. Calvin College achieved their first ever berth in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Tournament in 2013. Van Putten was an All-MIAA performer for the Knights.
Success has followed Van Putten into the 2014 season. Through 25 games, he is hitting .337 with a home run and 12 RBI. The speedy outfielder has added 22 more stolen bases to his career Calvin College record for steals; 2 more stolen bases will break his own record for single season steals set in 2013.
Van Putten made national news in a 3-2 win over Albion over the weekend. Calvin College had a man on second base, and Van Putten on third base in the bottom of the 9th inning. With the score 2-2, Van Putten edged down the line at third and stole home plate to give the Knights an unorthodox walk-off win. The play was featured in several national baseball news organizations including MLB.com.
Baldwin adds a big arm with tremendous pitching ability to the Growlers staff. The 6-1 right-hander from Ashland University was named the 2013 GLIAC pitcher of the year after racking up massive numbers in Division 2 for the Eagles. Baldwin went 8-0 in 14 appearances spanning 79.2 innings in 2013. His 1.58 ERA and 66 strikeouts led the Ashland pitching staff; both totals were first and second in the GLIAC respectively. Baldwin also tallied four complete games and displayed an ability to eat up innings for the Eagles while pitching deep into games.
The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) named Baldwin to their 2013 All-America Third Team in 2013. He also made the NCBWA’s first team all-region and was the Midwest Region’s pitcher of the year. Baldwin has high expectations again this year after being named to the NCBWA Preseason All-America Second Team for 2014.
In 2014, Baldwin has accrued a 3.50 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 18 total innings this year. Those innings have been logged over 3 starts for the Ashland Eagles.
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 21st season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (DET) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live and free of charge via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit http://www.growlersbaseball.com.