Over the last five drafts, the Northwoods League has had averaged 149 alumni drafted. An all-star game does not give such a deep reservoir of talent a chance to showcase their skills. Therefore, the Northwoods League is holding a second all-star showcase, which is the first of its kind in summer college baseball history.
The inaugural Big League Dreams showcase, which will feature a scouting workout and two games matching teams from the North and South divisions against one another, will give 100 additional players a platform to be seen by scouts.
What makes the event even more unique is the player selection process. For the initial all-star game, which was held one week ago, each team has three representatives vote for deserving all-stars. But the only decision-makers for the Big League Dreams showcase are professional scouts.
“We had 12-15 professional scouts in a room and they picked all the guys they wanted to see,” Northwoods League Vice President Matt Bomberg. “Many other scouts sent in other suggestions as well.”
More than 80 scouts attended last week’s all-star game, and league officials expect nearly as many at the Big League Dreams showcase.
The Madison Mallards’ Warner Park will host the event on Monday, July 29. All the action can be seen on the Northwoods League YouTube channel, (http://www.youtube.com/user/NorthwoodsLeague), which broadcasts every game played in the league.
In game one of the event on Monday afternoon, the North roster will feature players from Duluth, Rochester, Thunder Bay and Wilmar. Lefthander Colin Poche (Arkansas) of the Wilmar Stingers will take the mound in the early game as a member of the North team. Poche, an unsigned fifth-round draft pick by the Orioles in 2012, was impressive in limited action as a freshman this spring. In 20 innings, Poche recorded 23 strikeouts and allowed just three earned runs.
Joining Poche on the North roster for game one will be Duluth catcher Chris Harvey (Vanderbilt) and Wilmar outfielder Michael Suchy (Florida Gulf Coast). In 29 games this spring for the Commodores, Harvey hit .250/.328/.442 with three triples. Suchy, who was the Northwoods’ No. 4 prospect last summer, was among the Eagles’ leading hitters as sophomore in 2013, hitting .314 with nine home runs.
The game one South roster will feature players from the Northwoods’ Wisconsin, Battle Creek, Green Bay and Eau Claire organizations. Battle Creek infielder Tyler Moore (Louisiana State) will be a cog in South lineup after hitting .281/.352/.396 with nine doubles for the Tigers in 2013. Austin Diemer (Cal State Fullerton), who hit .311/.391/.385 for the Titans, of the Wisconsin Woodchucks joins Moore on the South roster after posting a .281/.360/.479 line this summer for the Woodchucks with 13 extra-base hits, including four home runs.
In game two of the showcase, teams from the North and South divisions will square off. The North roster for game two will include players from Waterloo, Mankato, St. Cloud and Alexandria. St. Cloud outfielder Vincent Jackson (Tennessee) will be among the North’s seven outfielders. Jackson hit .290/.317/.426 with two home runs as a freshman in 2013 and started 38 games for Tennessee. On the mound for the North, lefthander Sam Clay (Georgia Tech) from Mankato will be one of the nine arms on display. Clay has started three games this summer for the MoonDogs including five-inning, one-hit outing against St. Cloud.
The South roster for the nightcap features a handful of ACC talent as Mike Papi, John LaPrise and Joe McCarthy (Virginia) join Taylore Cherry (North Carolina). Papi, a first-team All-American this spring, has posted a .309/.467/.436 line this summer for Lakeshore while LaPrise has impressed with a league-leading .431 average for Madison. Also from Madison, 6-foot-8 righthander Cherry has logged 24 innings and has struck out 17 batters.
Proceeds from Big League Dreams event will benefit the Northwoods League Foundation, which boasts the ability to enrich the quality of life for families in the Northwoods League community through the game of baseball. The foundation produces grants for little league teams and community projects for the cities where Northwoods Leagues teams play.
Full rosters can be found at http://www.northwoodsleague.com/pdf/2013-Northwoods-League-Big-League-Dreams-Rosters.pdf