The Northwoods League continued to filter players into professional baseball during June’s Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. A record five past and present Northwoods League players were selected in the first round, and overall, 179 league alumni and players on current rosters had their names selected to play at the next level.
The highest of these picks was University of Florida pitcher A.J. Puk, a former Waterloo Buck. Puk was selected sixth overall by the Oakland Athletics. Also selected in the opening round were Virginia catcher Matt Thaiss (16th by the Angels), who played for Madison in 2014, as well as Wake Forest third baseman Will Craig (22nd by the Pirates), who played for the 2014 St. Cloud Rox. Two of Puk’s Waterloo teammates, Illinois pitcher Cody Sedlock (27th by the Orioles) and Florida pitcher Dane Dunning (29th by the Nationals), were also taken in the first round.
The Madison Mallards led the league in past and present players selected, with 22, followed by La Crosse, with 18. The highest pick among current player in the league was Ridge Smith of the Mankato Moondogs, taken in the 12th round by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Some players will sign and depart the league, and some will stick around and wait another year. At any rate, another successful draft for the Northwoods League has come and gone.