ONE STEP CLOSER: Mitch Ghelfi
ONE STEP CLOSER: Mitch Ghelfi
Milwaukee Brewers / Helena Brewers (Rookie)
Mequon, WI – With a pro baseball pedigree and experience at multiple positions, Mitch Ghelfi was a player that Lakeshore Chinooks’ GM Dean Rennicke labeled as “one to watch” as the 2015 MLB Draft approached. “Teams are always looking for guys like Mitch who can help in different areas, especially when it comes to rookie ball. From there, you always have a chance,” said Rennicke. No one knows that better than Ghelfi whose father, Andy, was a second round pick by the Cleveland Indians in 1985 and whose brother, Drew, was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013. “Ever since I was little, that has been a dream of mine to play professional baseball,” Ghelfi told the La Crosse Tribune. “Hearing stories from my dad, my uncle, things that happened back in pro ball, it was always an aspiration of mine to get to that level and join that family club.”
After helping lead the Chinooks to the 2014 Northwoods League title by hitting .289 while catching and playing second base, Ghelfi’s stock rose even higher when he hit .356 and knocked in 35 runs for UW- Milwaukee. On June 9, 2015 Ghelfi received a call from Harvey Kuehn, Jr., an area scout for the Brewers, with Milwaukee’s selection (841st overall pick in the 28th round of the 2015 MLB Draft). After signing a contract, Ghelfi headed west to Arizona to play 13 games for the Brewers’ Arizona Rookie League team. Despite hitting only .189, Ghelfi’s versatility, just as Rennicke predicted, paved the way for a promotion to Helena, Montana where Ghelfi logged 20 more games with the Brewers’ Pioneer League team. The mountain air proved to help Ghelfi’s bat as he posted a .306 average and a slugging percentage of .375. That sets Ghelfi up to hopefully advance in the organization in 2016. When we caught up with the former Chinook, Ghelfi had these comments about his pro experience:
1. The next step for me this upcoming season would be A ball with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Right now I'm spending the offseason training in Tampa getting ready for spring training. I think to make the next step all I can do is come into Spring Training in the best shape possible and be ready to hit the ground running. The rest is out of my control but it would be a lot of fun to be back playing in Wisconsin where family and friends would be able to come and watch games.
2. Looking back on my first professional season I think the best moment so far for me was on draft day being selected by the Brewers and getting the opportunity to play for my hometown team.
3. Rookie league baseball is really just baseball. We didn’t have much when it came to promotions.
4. The most difficult part of the minors so far is seeing guys get let go. Sometimes it's a guy you may not know very well or sometimes it can be your buddy, but either way it's always tough seeing a guy be told that he's got to hang ‘em up. It's a reminder that pro baseball is a business and to make the most of your opportunity as long as you've got a team uniform to wear.
Fans can track Ghelfi’s progress 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 www.northwoodsleague.com.