Breaking Through: Hissong, Kowalczyk & Steele
A look at how Lakeshore Chinook alumni performed throughout baseball in 2017!
Travis Hissong – Lakeshore Chinooks 2013
Hissong, 25, was released by the New York Yankees organization on June 20 and promptly picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers. In 18 relief appearances with the Yankees between Advanced-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, the righty was 2-1 with a 4.73 ERA. Across four years in the Yankees organization, the Bellville, OH native went 10-4 with a 2.70 ERA. Hissong was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2014 out of Wright State University.
After signing with the Brewers, Hissong was assigned to AA Biloxi where he pitched 35 innings in 16 appearances with 34 strikeouts and 17 walkouts. With a 4.11 ERA and a WHIP of 1.23 for the Shuckers, the smooth right-hander will look to make his mark with his new club in 2018.
Karch Kowalczyk – Lakeshore Chinooks 2013
Los Angeles Dodgers
Signed as a 34th round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, Karch Kowalczyk has made steady progress in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system and has carved out a nice four year career, spending the entire 2017 season with the AA Tulsa Drillers after injury limited him to 21.1 innings in 2016. The former Valparaiso University Crusader made 44 appearances, striking out 46 batters in 62.1 innings of work out of the bullpen. Walking only 23 over that span, he posted a 5-7 record with a 3.18 ERA. Over his career, Kowalczyk is 13-13 with a 3.42 ERA with 18 saves. The substitute teacher in the off-season will look to continue his journey in 2018.
Keaton Steele – Lakeshore Chinooks 2012
Drafted as a right-handed pitcher in the 8th Round out of Missouri in 2014 by the Minnesota Twins, Keaton Steele has been a model of steady progress. Steele pitched 30.2 innings in Rookie Ball during his first summer and then 89.2 at Class A Cedar Rapids in 2015, followed by 132.1 innings for Advanced A Fort Myers in 2016. This season, Steele returned to the Miracle where he made eight starts and pitched 56.2 innings before being promoted in mid-August to the AA Chattanooga Lookouts where he posted a 1.29 ERA in seven innings of work. Going into a pivotal 2018 season, Steele has posted a 19-22 record and a 3.73 ERA in 78 appearances, 45 of which have been starts, and has struck out 211 batters while walking only 86. Hopefully, the consistency Steele has shown will allow him to continue to move up and break through this season.
The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Entering its 25th anniversary season, the Northwoods 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 185 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (TOR). 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.