Esch is the 159th former Northwoods League player to debut in MLB
Rochester, Minn. – Former Madison Mallard, Jake Esch, made his Major League debut for the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, August 31, 2016. Esch is the 159th former Northwoods League player to reach the Major League level.
Esch, who played collegiately at the Georgia Institute of Technology, played for the Madison Mallards in 2009 and 2010. He was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB Draft.
In 2009 with the Mallards, Esch was 3-1 with a 4.42 ERA over 11 games. He also struck out 42 batters in 53 innings pitched. At the plate Esch hit .284 with two home runs, 11 doubles and 16 RBI in 52 games. Returning for the 2010 season Esch hit .230 with 10 doubles, one triple and 22 RBI over 52 games. On the mound he went 2-2 with a 5.06 ERA in six games while striking out 24 batters in 21.1 innings pitched.
Esch started his Minor League career in 2011 with the Marlins Rookie level team in the Gulf Coast League. After four game he was promoted to the Jamestown Jammers of the Short-Season A New York-Penn League. For the season, Esch went 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 18.2 innings pitched.
Esch started the 2012 season with Jamestown and then was promoted, after 10 games, to the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the Lo-A South Atlantic League. Between the two clubs he went a combined 4-3 with a 3.15 ERA. He continued his high strikeout rate with 53 strikeouts in 68.2 innings pitched.
The 2013 season saw Esch begin and end the year in the Hi-A Florida State League with the Jupiter Hammerheads. The numbers were not as impressive this season as he went 2-10 with a 4.69 ERA over 23 appearances.
Back in Jupiter in 2014, Esch’s numbers evened out with a 6-6 record, 4.06 ERA and 105 strikeouts over 135.1 innings pitched.
The 2015 season was an interesting one for Esch as he played for three different teams. He began the year back in the Gulf Coast League with the Marlins Rookie level team. After two games he was promoted to AA with the Jacksonville Suns of the Eastern League. He appeared in 15 games in Jacksonville and then was promoted to the New Orleans Zephyrs of the AAA Pacific Coast League. Esch then made six more appearances with the Zephyrs before the end of the season. For the year he went a combined 8-8 with a 3.72 ERA in 23 games. He also struck out 95 batters in 123.1 innings.
Prior to being called up by the Marlins, Esch began the 2016 season with Jacksonville and then was promoted back to New Orleans. Over 26 games he was 12-10 with a 4.31 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 142 innings.
In his Major League debut against the Mets, Esch started and went 4.1 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out two.
The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. Playing its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball, the Northwoods 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 150 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 (CHC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.rochesterhonkers.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store and set the Honkers as your favorite team!