A look at how Lakeshore Chinook alumni performed throughout baseball in 2016 . . .
Grafton, WI – Nobody who followed the Lakeshore Chinooks during the summer of 2015 was surprised to hear that Luke Raley, the team’s MVP from Lake Erie College, was selected in the 2016 MLB Draft. However, many were impressed that the former Chinook slugger was selected in the 7th Round with the 221st pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers. After hitting .424 with a .528 on-base and .747 slugging percentages for the Lake Erie Storm, Raley bypassed a second stint with the Chinooks to workout for several teams. He made a quick visit to Kapco Park to accept his MVP award before hearing his phone buzz with the news of his new future in professional baseball.
Raley adapted quickly in his first season as he hit .625 in five games for the Dodgers’ rookie team in Arizona and then .417 in five games for the Pioneer League Ogden Raptors before a final promotion to the Class A Great Lakes Loons. He settled in for the Michigan-based team and hit .245 with and a .370 slugging percentage in 56 games for the Midwest League Champions. Playing for three teams in a short span after a full college season had the normal effect on a power hitter such as Raley, but the charismatic outfielder impressed the Dodger’s staff on and off the field. Loons’ manager Gill Velazquez told The News Herald, “I can see him as a leader,” Velazquez said. “I see him as a leader not only because he’s a high-energy guy, but plays the game right and he’s vocal. He does speak out, which is good.”
As Raley approaches the off-season after making the jump from Division II baseball to the pros, he responded to a few questions for the Chinook faithful:
How are you spending your offseason?
I'm currently living at home, not going to school and I’m selling Christmas trees to make some extra money. I do eventually plan on finishing school, but not until I am done playing.
What is your workout routine like right now?
My workout routine is all given to me by the Dodgers and consists of conditioning, lifting and stretching/mobility exercises.
What is a typical day like for you and does it change as you approach Spring Training?
A typical day consists of working, working out and eating four meals a day because they want me to put on some weight. I work out five times a week and they take about an hour and a half. As spring training approaches, I will be adding in more baseball work. I'm still doing work now, but giving the body a little rest as well.
What has been the best advice, instruction, or criticism you have received from the Dodgers?
I think the best thing is that the Dodgers not only focus on improving you as a baseball player, but also focus on making you the best person you can be and becoming the best teammate you can be.
Do you have any advice for young players who want baseball careers?
The advice I have for young players who want baseball careers is to continue to work hard on and off the field, you never know when and how you will be noticed, so it is important to always play and act with passion. Also being from a small Division II school I think it's also important for people to know going to a smaller school isn't a bad thing. It’s most important to find a place you feel will help you develop as much as possible.
To follow the progress of any of the Lakeshore alums who are playing professional baseball, click on the Alumni tab under the Team section at the top of this page. Click on a specific player’s name to open a link to view their MLB bio page.
The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year-old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 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 160 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.lakeshorechinooks.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Chinooks as your favorite team.