Northwoods League player selections continue to grow in MLB Draft
ROCHESTER, Minn. – The 2014 Major League First-Year Player Draft was held June 5 through June 7 and the Northwoods League was once again very well represented. A total of 175 current Northwoods League players and alumni were selected in this year’s draft. Three former players were taken in the first round, three were taken in the Competitive Balance A Round and one player was picked in the second round.
“The talent level in the Northwoods League continues to escalate as evidenced by the MLB draft,” said Northwoods League President Dick Radatz, Jr. “Not only did the League have 6 players drafted in the first round and Compensation A round but had over 50 players drafted in the top ten rounds. The total number of draftees is up almost 15% from 2013. On an annual basis, no other League has as many future draftees participating.”
The highest pick in this year’s draft was Nick Howard, a junior right handed pitcher and infielder at the University of Virginia. Howard was picked by the Cincinnati Reds with the 19th overall pick. Howard played in 51 games with the Madison Mallards in 2012, batting .252 with six home runs and 28 RBI.
Drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays immediately after Howard with the 20th pick was former Eau Claire Express first baseman and current Wichita State Shocker Casey Gillaspie. During the 2012 season with the Express, Gillaspie hit .333 with a team-record 12 home runs and 38 RBI.
Former La Crosse Logger Matt Chapman from Cal State – Fullerton became the sixth former Logger to be drafted in the first round when the Oakland A's selected him with the 25th overall pick.
Derek Fisher was drafted by the Houston Astros in the Competitive Balance Round A with the 37th overall pick. Fisher, a junior at the University of Virginia, played in 51 games with the Madison Mallards in 2012 and hit .315 with eight home runs and 36 RBI.
Former Lakeshore Chinook Mike Papi from Virginia was selected in the Competitive Balance Round A with the 38th overall pick. During the 2013 season with the Chinooks Papi hit .313 with 2 home runs, 5 doubles and 1 triple over 38 games. He also drove in 19 runs and stole 5 bases.
Connor Joe, a member of the Duluth Huskies in 2012, was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Competitive Balance Round A with the 39th overall pick. Joe, from the University of San Diego,
hit .295 with seven doubles, three home runs, and 24 RBI as the primary first baseman for the Huskies in 2012.
The Competitive Balance Rounds were started last year. These rounds give 10 teams with lowest revenues and 10 in the smallest markets opportunity to get additional picks through a lottery held last July. Six selections are awarded following the first round, and teams not receiving one of those are entered into a lottery for six picks following the second round.
The Wisconsin Woodchucks had a league high 16 players drafted this year and the Mankato MoonDogs were a close second with 15 players selected.
The highest pick for the Woodchucks came in the third round, when third baseman J.D. Davis from Cal State – Fullerton was taken 75th overall by the Houston Astros. Davis played for the Woodchucks in 2012 and hit .344 in 25 games.
The MoonDogs’ highest pick came in the fourth round when the Minnesota Twins selected Georgia Tech LHP Sam Clay with the 110th overall pick. Clay spent the summer with the MoonDogs in 2013 and went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 20-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, 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 via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.