Of the 179 current and former Northwoods League players who were selected in the 2016 Major League Baseball Amatuer Draft this past week, ten sported the Kalamazoo Growlers uniform over the past two seasons.
Shortstop Charles LeBlanc (Pittsburgh) was the highest former Growler taken after the Texas Rangers selected him in the fourth round and with the 129th pick overall. The Quebec native hit .203 with four RBI and nine walks over 64 at-bats with Kalamazoo in 2015.
Outfielder Troy Montgomery (Ohio State) was the next highest former Growler taken, as he went in the eighth round to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with the 246th pick overall. Montgomery led the Growlers in batting average (.357), runs (37) and stolen bases (13) in his only season with the team in 2014. Montgomery, who started 47 games in centerfield for the Growlers, was also named a Northwoods League Mid-Season and Postseason All-Star as well as participating in the Big League Showcase.
Left-handed pitcher Caleb Baragar (Indiana) went just after Montgomery, as he was taken in the 9th round by the San Francisco Giants. The Jenison, Mich. native threw 22 innings and had 12 strikeouts for the Growlers in 2014.
Right-handed pitcher Bryan Saucedo (RIverside City College) was taken in the 14th round by the Chicago White Sox. Saucedo appeared in four games for the Growlers in 2015, totaling four strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings pitched.
Right-handed pitcher John Schreiber (Northwestern Ohio), who played one season with the Growlers, was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the 15th round. The six-foot-two lefty recorded three saves and struck out 11 in 11 2/3 innings pitched with the Growlers in 2014.
John Ruiz (Miami Fl.) was selected in the 28th round by the Houston Astros. As a Growler, Ruiz hit .225 with five doubles and seven RBI over 89 at-bats in 2015.
Matt Frawley (Purdue) was picked in the 17th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Frawley started five games for the Growlers in 2015 and finished 1-2 with a 3.82 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings pitched.
Rouding out the former Growlers drafted were right-handed pitcher Sean Issac (Vanguard), outfielder Nick Yarnall (Pittsburgh), and outfielder Corey Dempster (Southern California). Issac was selected by the Angels in the 35th round and made five starts for the Growlers in 2015, tallying 17 strikeouts. Yarnall was picked by the Dodgers in the 35th round as well. He played two seasons for the Growlers, and totaled eight homeruns and 52 RBI in 104 games. Dempster went in the 37th round to the New York Yankees.
These ten former Growlers now join Seby Zavala (San Diego State), Kenny Koplove (Duke), Brett Sunde (Western Michigan) and Ryan Colegate (Ohio Dominican), who were taken in the 2015 MLB Dratt. Kalamazoo now has 14 former players who have been selected in the MLB Draft.
The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 22-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 140 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 (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (CHC). All league games are viewable via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.