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Published On: February 1st, 2016

ONE STEP CLOSER:  Gunnar Eastman

Toronto Blue Jays / GCL Blue Jays (Rookie)

EASTMAN.p490236Mequon, WI – Former Green Bay Southwest alum and UW-Milwaukee pitcher Gunnar Eastman had significant impact for the 2013 Lakeshore Chinook pitching staff.  As a mid-season pick-up, the right-handed pitcher helped lead the Chinooks to their first NWL playoff appearance as he made eight appearances and recorded a 2-1 record with a 1.97 ERA in 13.2 innings of work.  While not getting a draft call after his solid senior season for UWM (2-0, 2.45 ERA in 22 appearances), Eastman received a text message from the Toronto Blue Jays indicating they would be interested in signing him to a free agent contract.  As the first player from one of the four Green Bay public high schools to sign professionally, Eastman boarded a plan to Florida, signed a contract with the Jays, and proceeded to pitch in 14 games for Toronto’s Gulf Coast Rookie team.  With a 5.40 ERA, Eastman has an offseason of hard work to prove he belongs in professional baseball.  As he works to achieve that goal, he had these comments about his first progress:

1.   I need to complete a full year of pro ball and have success.  In order to do this I need to consistently throw more strikes – more specifically my secondary pitches.

2.   Seeing big leaguers like Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez at the complex rehabbing are pretty cool moments, as well as occasionally playing against big leaguers like Freddie Freeman, for example.

3.   Funniest prank would have to be when one of our coaches told a Dominican player that he was drafted into the military.  He took it seriously and was pretty distraught.

4.   The toughest part of minor league baseball is that you’re basically living out of a hotel room and you have a lot of downtime.


Keep up with Eastman’s progress at:



Detroit Tigers / Connecticut Tigers (Class A – Short)

Vinson.p467081Mequon, WI – Florida pitcher Mike Vinson had a solid freshman season for the Gators in 2013 as he struck out 19 in 20 innings, but little did he know when he boarded a plane to Wisconsin that his stay in Mequon would be so short.  Despite high expectations from his coaching staff in Gainesville, Vinson struggled through four appearances and sensed something wasn't quite right.  The tall righty flew home for a medical exam in which an injury that would sideline him for all of 2014 was discovered.  And even though he returned to throw just six total innings in 2015 for the Gators, the Detroit Tigers still saw enough potential to select Vinson (730th overall pick in the 24th round of the 2015 MLB Draft).  With his injury behind him, Vinson had a productive summer, pitching 27.1 innings and posting a 2.96 ERA for Detroit’s Gulf Coast rookie team followed by two appearances with the Class A Connecticut Tigers.  Vinson, who will look to stay healthy and continue his development, had these remarks about his experience:100px-ConnTigers_Logo

1.  The next step for me is to go to spring training, work hard and be productive to set myself up to have a good season.

2.  My best personal minor league moment was getting called up to the next level, the Connecticut Tigers.

3.  I can't think of a specific promotion that I liked the most but I love the whole atmosphere and the promotions that go into making a minor league game, a minor league game.

4. The most difficult part of the minors is dealing with the mental and physical grind that it takes.  Playing every single day can wear on your body and you can get tired very quickly if you don't take care of yourself.

Though we didn’t get to see much of him at Lakeshore, Chinook fans can follow Vinson’s career at:

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 (KC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit