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Survive & Advance: Draft Class of 2014

 

Karch Kowalczyk – Tulsa Drillers (Photo by Mark Christensen)

Since the team’s founding in 2012, the Lakeshore Chinooks have produced 82 MLB Draft picks or free agent signings.  Of the 13 players selected or signed in 2014, four have survived five seasons of minor league baseball and head into the 2019 spring training season with high hopes of advancing in their careers.  For each of them, the clock is ticking on their development and the 2019 season looms large in their career development.  Here is a recap of where each of them stands:

 

 

 

 

Brian Anderson/IF/Arkansas/Lakeshore 2012/2014 MIA Marlins – 3rd Round

Anderson became the first Chinook ever to start on an Opening Day roster as he was promoted by the Miami Marlins in 2018 and went on to have one of the top seasons for a rookie anywhere in the National League as he played in 156 games and hit .273 with 11 home runs, four triples, and 34 doubles and knocked 65 RBI.  His surge to the majors was no surprise as he was first called up late in the 2017 season after quickly progressing from the AA Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp and the AAA New Orleans Baby Cakes.  Anderson racked up Organizational All-Star Honors in the Marlins system in 2014, 2016, and 2017 and earned All-Star selections in the Florida League in 2015 and 2016 and in the Southern League in 2017, while also jumping on to the MLB radar with an outstanding performance in the always-important Arizona Fall League where he was named a top prospect in 2016.  Anderson heads to Spring Training looking to develop a consistent spot in the Miami line-up and for his success will be honored by the Lakeshore Chinooks with his own bobblehead sponsored by Gordon Food Service on June 29th at Kapco Park.

 

Karch Kowalczyk/P/Valparaiso/Lakeshore 2013/2014 LA Dodgers – 37th Round

Karch Kowalczyk battled through some injuries in 2018 after making steady progress in his time in the Dodgers’ system.  After a 2017 full season at AA Tulsa where he pitched 62.1 innings with a 3.14 ERA and 46 strikeouts, the tenacious 37th round pick battled through several stints on the DL with the Drillers in 2018.  He pitched 30.2 innings in 22 relief appearances with 31 strikeouts and made one call-up appearance with the AAA Oklahoma City Dodgers.  The righty returned to Tulsa to close out the season and will look to put together a healthy spring in 2019.  He’s all in as he spent the off season in California to train and put a potential career in education on hold saying, “I feel better than I have in a couple of years and will focus on what I can control and go from there – hopefully, things continue to trend up!”

 

Mike Papi/IF & OF/Virginia/Lakeshore 2013/2014 CLE Indians – CB Round A

The former Virginia Cavalier is coming off a full season of Triple A ball with the Columbus Clippers.  The first baseman turned outfielder will get a chance this spring as a non-roster invitee to the Indians Spring Training Camp where he will look to cash in on the high expectations that made him the 38th pick in the draft.  Papi hit .247 in 83 games with seven home runs and 26 RBI for the Clippers.  Pitch selection and patience at the plate continue to be a Papi trait as he has established career averages of .357 on-base, .380 slugging, and an OPS of .737.  With the spring invite, 2019 appears to be a critical season for Papi as he looks to make an impact within the Indians’ organization.

 

 

Jerrick Suiter/OF/TCU/Lakeshore 2013/2014 PIT Pirates – 26th Round

Strong and physical, Jerrick Suiter also spent the entire 2018 season in Triple A with the Indianapolis Indians.  He battled through some injuries to hit just .204 in 61 games after a stellar 2017 when he hit .281 combined between stops in Advanced A Bradenton with the Marauders and with the AA Altoona Curve.  After an off season coaching a 17-under select team from Katy, Texas, Suiter knows he will have to take advantage of every opportunity he gets in 2019.  Honored as the Unsung Hero of the 2017 AA Altoona Curve when he was recognized as he set a career high with 10 home runs and led the team with 58 RBIs. His .376 on-base percentage is ranked sixth overall in the Eastern League that year as he played three different positions – first base, left field, and right field.  Suiter hopes that his versatility and intangibles will extend his career over the next few seasons.

 

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 MiLB bio page.

The Lakeshore Chinooks are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 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, over 200 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.