Chinooks in the Minors: Jake Noll
A look at how Lakeshore Chinook alumni performed throughout baseball in 2016!
Grafton, WI – During the Lakeshore Chinooks’ 2014 drive to the Northwoods League Championship, no star shined brighter than Jake Noll, a do-everything second baseman from Florida Gulf Coast University. While adjusting to cooler weather and being away from home, the 2014 Louisville Slugger National Freshman of the Year led the Chinooks in hitting (.316), at-bats (228), and triples (5). With an aggressive attitude on the bases, Noll also stole 20 bases and posting and an impressive .461 slugging percentage and .797 OPS. Armed with well-wishes and a boatload of memories, Noll returned to FGCU for his second season and the hopes of being drafted in 2015.
Despite switching to the role of lead-off hitter and still leading the Eagles with a .348 batting average, major league teams passed on Noll that season, which allowed him to return to FGCU where he continued to improve and rack up stats that led to his selection as the Atlantic Sun Conference 2016 Player of the Year and to be selected by the Washington Nationals with 217th pick in the 7th Round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Jake signed immediately with the team and quickly made progress in his first summer with stints for the Nationals’ Gulf Coast Rookie team, the Class A Auburndale DoubleDays, and finally, the Class A Hagerstown Suns. After hitting .318 in 18 games for Auburndale, Noll finished the summer hitting .259 with 15 RBI and three home runs in 32 games for the Suns. In all, Washington's seventh-round pick enjoyed a solid professional debut, batting .275/.332/.401 across three levels while playing strong defense up the middle. Noll was selected as the club’s Organizational All-Star at second base and left a familiar impression on the club’s front office.
"It was a nice debut, right from the first day," Washington director of player development Mark Scialabba said. "Our scouts did a good job acquiring someone with an advanced approach, plus speed and solid athleticism. He controls the strike zone well, has good discipline and a quick, compact stroke with gap-to-gap strength. We already like what we've seen, and we think he's got a bright future ahead of him." That comes as no surprise to the Chinooks! As Noll prepares for an important season, he took time to answer a few questions:
How are you spending your offseason?
This off season I've been working out and practicing. I’m not working a job at the moment, just working on my skills here in Florida.
What expectations do you have for the 2017 season?
My goal is to get to the Advanced A team in Potomac, Maryland by the end of the year.
What has been the most challenging aspect of playing minor league baseball?
Hardest thing about the minor leagues is mentally preparing to play every day. It was tough for me to move around to three different places last season and trying to stay comfortable.
What is the best advice you’ve received since beginning pro baseball?
Best advice I have received in the minors is to play every game like it's your last because you never know when it's going to be over.
You got out of your comfort zone when you traveled from Florida Gulf Coast University to play during a chilly 2014 summer at Lakeshore. How did that experience help you in your first year in the Nationals’ system?
Lakeshore helped me to prepare for minor league baseball because of the Northwoods League schedule. Playing every takes a toll on your body mentally and physically and you have to figure out what gets yourself ready to bring it every day
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.