KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Growlers are pleased to announce the signing of two rising stars from the Sunshine State. First baseman and outfielder Christopher Barr and infielder Johnny Ruiz will join Travis Wade’s bunch after completing their spring seasons at the University of Miami.
Christopher Barr: 6’1” – 200lb, 1B/OF, Bats L/Throws L, University of Miami (RS-Soph.), Royal Palm Beach, FL
Johnny Ruiz: 5’11” – 195lb, IF, Bats L/Throws R, University of Miami (Soph.), Coral Gables, FL
Christopher Barr returns to the field this spring after taking a medical redshirt in 2014. During his freshman season in 2013, the Royal Palm Beach, FL product appeared in 55 games, including 29 starts, serving as primarily a defensive replacement at first base and late-game pinch runner. Barr hit .217 and got on base at a .353 pace, scoring 27 runs and stealing seven bases.
A four-year letterman at Royal Palm Beach High School, Barr was named the 2012 Florida 7A Player of the Year after a stellar senior campaign. The Wildcats team MVP and Palm Beach Post All-Area selection hit .405 and stole 30 bases while leading his squad to a 24-4 record. Baseball talent runs deep in the Barr family: his father Jim won a Division II national championship as a member of the Florida Southern baseball team in 1985.
Johnny Ruiz made a splash early in his Hurricanes career, earning the starting third base job halfway through his freshman season. The Coral Gables, FL product hit .229 with a .352 on-base percentage in 45 games, slicing seven doubles and driving in 11 runs. He also turned 10 double plays from the hot corner. Ruiz went on a six-game hitting streak late in the season and got two hits in Miami’s NCAA regional tilt with Texas Tech.
A star for four years at Westminster Christian School, Ruiz earned 2013 Florida 4A-2A Player of the Year honors following his senior season. The Warriors team MVP and two-time Miami Herald First-Team All-Dade selection hit .564 with five home runs and 40 RBIs in 2013. Ruiz hit .505 during his junior year, building on freshman and sophomore averages of .361 and .444, respectively.
Kalamazoo begins its second season on May 26 at Madison. The Growlers’ home opener comes on May 29 against the Battle Creek Bombers. The full Growlers schedule can be found here. For information on 2015 Growlers season tickets, click here.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 21-year old summer collegiate 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, 120 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Allen Craig (BOS) and Ben Zobrist (OAK). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.