Three Local Products Sign with Honkers
The Rochester Honkers, five-time champions of the Northwoods League, are excited to welcome a trio of Minnesota natives, two local to the Rochester area, to their 2021 roster with the additions of North Carolina’s Mac Horvath, Minnesota’s Otto Grimm, and Minnesota State Mankato’s Brendan Knoll joining The Flock this season.
Horvath, a freshman infielder, will return home for the summer and play just 10 minutes from where he went to high school. Before transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., Horvath starred as a middle infielder for Century High School.
The Rochester native will add some major pop to the Honkers lineup. Horvath made 31 starts in his first season at North Carolina, belting four regular season home runs and collecting 15 RBIs. He appeared in 41 of the team’s 50 regular season games primarily as a third baseman. Before arriving in Chapel Hill, Horvath’s play at Century and IMG tabbed him as the second-best player in Minnesota and the 11th best shortstop in the country, according to Perfect Game.
“We are excited to have Mac playing back home in Rochester this summer,” Honkers field manager Paul Weidner said. “The amount of time he’s spent getting meaningful at bats right from the start at a program like North Carolina as a freshman speaks to his all-around talent. I can’t wait to watch him play with a ton of joy and energy in front of a lot of people that supported him growing up in Rochester.”
Knoll, a right-handed pitcher, brings swing-and-miss ability to the Honkers pitching staff. The junior from Kasson, Minn. has posted seven strikeouts per nine innings for Minnesota State Mankato in 2021, and sports a strong 2.48 ERA over 54.1 innings. The Kasson-Mantorville High School grad has helped the Mavericks to a 37-8 regular season record, good for a three seed in the Division II Central Regional this weekend in Warrensburg, Mo. This season, opposing hitters batted just .222 against him. Before joining the Mavericks, Knoll pitched his sophomore season at Century Community College where he earned Second Team All-American honors, and helped lead the Wood Ducks to an NJCAA World Series appearance.
“Brendan is an incredible competitor on the mound and has the stuff to match it,” Weidner said. “All I keep hearing from people I’ve talked to about him is how much of a bulldog he is when pitching. That’s fun to coach, fun to watch, and should lead to winning baseball as that is overall the mentality we hope all of our players have.”
Grimm, a sophomore outfielder, brings a good glove and solid left-handed bat to the Honkers roster. The Minnesota Golden Gopher appeared in 10 games this season, making 4 starts. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Grimm batted .400 with a homer and 5 RBIs in 13 games. The Bemidji, Minn. native starred for the Bemidji High School Lumberjacks, where he was a 2018 Minnesota Mr. Baseball finalist, 2018 First Team All-State, served as a two-year team captain and twice named team MVP, and ranked as the top outfielder and number 8 overall player in the state of Minnesota according to Prep Baseball Report.
“Having a player from the major university in the state of Minnesota is great for the organization and the fans,” Weidner said. “We look forward to seeing Otto’s abilities on display in the outfield this summer.”
The Rochester Honkers enter their 28th season of play on May 31st on the road against the Eau Claire Express at 7:05 PM. Connect with the team on social media by liking them on Facebook at Rochester Honkers Baseball Club and following them on Twitter (@RochHonkers) and Instagram (@HonkersBaseball). Join the conversation by using the hashtag #FunForTheWholeFlock, and follow along with all Honkers roster reveals with the hashtag #ReleaseTheGeese.
The Rochester Honkers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its 27th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league of its kind in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans and provides a friendly ballpark experience. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 250 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB Gold Glove finalist and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TOR) each participated in the NWL before they were MLB stars. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. 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 or on Google Play and set the Honkers as your favorite team.