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Published On: February 16th, 2016

ONE STEP CLOSER:  Andrew Waszak

Atlanta Braves / Carolina Mudcats (Class A-Advanced)

15_Headshot_Mudcats_8x10_300dpiMequon, WI – The path to the major leagues is not easy and for many, is rarely glamourous.  Long summers with no promise of promotion can take its toll, especially for players who have completed their academic work and have other career alternatives and aspirations.  Even though he had made progress in his three seasons of professional baseball, former Michigan State and Lakeshore Chinooks pitcher Andrew Waszak had a timeline set in his mind and hoped this year to have firmly established himself in Double A or higher.  In November, the former pick of the Atlanta Braves (673rd overall pick in the 22nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft) and 2013 Pitcher of the Year for the Danville Braves made the difficult decision to retire from baseball.

In three seasons, Waszak saw plenty of work, pitching 238.2 innings in 64 games for the Danville Braves (Appalachian Rookie League) in 2013 and 2014, the Lynchburg Hillcats (Carolina Class A –Advanced League) in 2014, the Rome Braves (South Atlantic Class A League) in 2014 and 2015, the Carolina Mudcats (Carolina Class A-Advanced League) in 2015, and finished the 2015 season with four appearances for the AA Mississippi Braves.  Despite posting a win with a 3.38 ERA and striking out five in his 5.1 innings of work, he was reassigned to Carolina on September 3.  Two months later, Waszak chose to “voluntarily retire,” which means the Braves will retain his rights.


Photo Credit: Nikolaus

Waszak was upbeat about his decision and had these comments about his professional experience:

1.  I retired after this past season and now have a new job at Flagstar Bank selling mortgages.

2.  The highlight of my professional career was winning the Danville Braves Pitcher of the Year Award.

3.  I saw quite a bit in my time with various teams, but nothing compares with the excitement we experienced in clinching playoffs and celebrating.

4.  One of the most difficult experiences we had was getting a bus crash this past season at 3 am. Our bus flipped and slid for 50 feet on its side. Definitely the worst part about minor league baseball is being on the bus so much and having something like that happen.

Lakeshore GM Dean Rennicke has always thought highly of Waszak and commented, “Andrew was one of the bright spots to the Chinooks’ first season.  He was one of those pitchers who excelled in all facets.  Andrew had three above average pitches, tremendous command of the strike zone and did all the little things right to win.  He was one of our most athletic pitchers and kept runners close as well as fielded his position well.  Andrew was a polished college pitcher and it showed in his performances.”  As Waszak makes the decision to move on from baseball, Rennicke and the entire Chinooks’ organization salute his effort and his contributions to the club.  “Andrew certainly had a shot at a career, but the path is not easy.  We wish him well and are confident that he’ll be a success in whatever career path he chooses!”

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