Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.- The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters are pleased to announce the addition of three LSU Tigers to the 2020 roster, CJ Willis, Hayden Travinski, and Collier Cranford.
Willis, a returning Rafter, finished the 2019 season as the team leader in batting average (.362), on-base percentage (.525), and slugging percentage (.565). Before his introduction to the Northwoods League, Willis was rated as the nation’s 60th best prospect by Perfect Game out of Ruston High School in Ruston, LA, where Willis hit .338, with 23 doubles, 11 triples, and 12 home runs. Following his exquisite high school play, Willis was drafted in the 39th round of the MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays but elected to play at LSU. In his freshman year with the Tigers, Willis received 11 starts at first base and designated hitter, compiling 11 hits and 4 doubles.
Head Coach Craig Noto is enthusiastic about the return of Willis: “CJ is a special young man. Grounded, super athletic, and blessed with great confidence and unwavering demeanor. His presence in the middle of the order and his versatility to play 1B and the OF is a great way for us to begin piecing this offense together. I am expecting a lot of him this summer as he chases the top of the MLB Draft.”
Travinski, a Shreveport, LA native, excelled at Airline High School before heading to Baton Rouge. The catcher hit .429 with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs for Airline in his senior season. In addition to his offensive excellence, Travinski was named the Defensive Player of the Year in Shreveport and was named to the All-State team twice. Last summer, Travinski impressed, hitting .241 with 4 home runs for the Saugerties Stallions in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. Travinski will begin his collegiate career with LSU this Spring.
Cranford, a Jackson, LA native, is a similarly talented freshman at LSU. Before LSU, Cranford hit .394 with five triples, five home runs and 18 stolen bases in 2018 for Zachary High School. In 2019, Cranford hit .453 before an arm injury required season-ending surgery. Despite missing the majority of his senior season, Cranford was rated the 256th best prospect in America by Prep Baseball Report.
The Rafters Home Opener is slated for 6:05pm on Wednesday, May 27th against the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders. For more information on the different ticket packages visit Raftersbaseball.com, call the Rafthouse at 715-424-5400, or visit Historic Witter Field. The Rafthouse is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday at Witter Field, 521 Lincoln Street in Wisconsin Rapids.
The Wisconsin Rapids Rafters 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’ 26th season, 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 230 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Stars Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). 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.raftersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rafters as your favorite team.