THUNDER BAY – Sports – Play Ball! Yes, it is baseball season. Action is coming together for the Northland League. That includes the dream of players to get into ‘The Show’ – a trip up to the Major League.
Former Bullfrog Josh Prince has been called up by the Milwaukee Brewers to replace third-baseman Aramis Ramirez, who is headed to the disabled list with a knee sprain. Prince is the first former Bullfrog to reach the major league level.
“This is a huge day for the entire Bullfrogs organization and all of our fans,” team president Jeff Royle said. “It is a very proud day for all of us, and speaks volumes to the level of baseball we have in Green Bay each summer.”
Prince, who played collegiately at Tulane University, played for the Bullfrogs during the 2008 season, and was drafted by Milwaukee in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
Prince began his minor league career in 2009 in short-season rookie ball with the Helena Brewers. He hit .298 in Helena, before being called up to finish the season for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, who compete at the low-Class A level
The former Bullfrog then played two complete seasons in high-Class A Brevard County. As a Manatee, Prince hit .251 with six home runs and 43 RBI.
Primarily a shortstop throughout his time with the Bullfrogs and in the minors to this point, Prince made the move to outfield before the 2012 season, which he spent with the Huntsville Stars.
In centerfield last year for the Stars, Prince recorded 266 putouts and 11 outfield assists, while posting a fielding percentage of .975. At the plate in 2012, he hit .251 with seven home runs and 55 RBI.
It was last fall when Prince began to establish himself as a legitimate major league prospect. He led the Arizona Fall League with 36 hits, and also finished second in batting average (.404), total bases (51), runs scored (23), and stolen bases (10). He was subsequently named to the AFL’s Top Prospects Team and added to the Brewers’ 40-man roster.
Prince began the 2013 season in AAA Nashville, notching one hit in seven at bats. He played two games in the outfield and one at shortstop. With five outfielders already on the Brewers’ roster, it would appear that the Brewers are looking to use Prince in the infield. However, left-fielder and All-Star Ryan Braun is also listed as day-to-day with neck spasms.
The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any other Summer Collegiate League in North America. The 2013 season will mark the 20th season of Northwoods League baseball. Ninety Six former players have gone on to play Major League baseball. Notable alumni of the league include Curtis Granderson (Yankees), Chris Sale (White Sox), Max Scherzer (Tigers), Josh Willingham (Twins) and Andre Ethier (Dodgers).
Photo by Corey Wilson/Press-Gazette / Corey Wilson