KALAMAZOO, MI- The Kalamazoo Growlers are proud to announce that Growlers right-handed pitcher, Ryan Smoyer from the University of Notre Dame, has been ranked the number one prospect in the Northwoods League for the summer of 2014. Smoyer is also joined by Troy Montgomery, Karl Sorensen, Ryan Lidge, Justin Fletcher, Shane Bryant, Jared Kujawa, and John Rubino.
The list was compiled by Bradley Smart from Smart on Sports after discussions with all 18 Field Managers in the Northwoods League. Here is what Smart had to say about Smoyer:
"Almost every coach mentioned Smoyer, and for a good reason. He has excellent control of multiple pitches, including a lethal curveball- rated by managers as the league's best- a slider, and a changeup. His pinpoint control saw him hold opposing hitters to a .217 mark while posting a 2.01 ERA over 80.2 innings. And earning co-top pitcher honors. Smoyer isn't a strikeout pitcher- just 43- but he pitches to contact and gets hitters out routinely. His fastball isn't overpowering, sitting in the high-80's to low-90's but he has great control of his three off speed pitches that make him truly one of the toughest pitchers to face and practically unhittable. He only threw 19 innings as a freshman out of the bullpen for the Fighting Irish, but after enjoying an impressive summer campaign, expect him to be a crucial part of the rotation, which is graduating ace Sean Fitzgerald."
Smoyer was also voted to the mid-season and post-season all-star teams along with garnering Pitcher of the Year honors. Smoyer showed great progress coming out of his true freshman year at Notre Dame that impressed numerous scouts, coaches and staff members.
Fellow Growlers included in the top 100 prospects are Troy Montgomery (OF, Ohio St.) at number 31, Karl Sorensen (IF, St. Cloud St.) at number 63, Ryan Lidge (C, Notre Dame) at number 70, Justin Fletcher (SS, Northern Illinois) at number 74, and Shane Bryant (P, Purdue) at number 86. Jared Kujawa (OF, Western Michigan) and John Rubino (IF, Eastern Michigan) were also ranked at numbers 139 and 193 respectively.
Check out the full list of the top 200 prospects 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 (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 via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visitwww.northwoodsleague.com.