Pair of Yale Hurlers Selected in MLB Draft

Pat Ludwig, left, and Nolan Becker (photos by
Pat Ludwig, left, and Nolan Becker (photos by

Ludwig Selected by Pirates in 10th Round; Reds Take Becker in 11th Round



SECAUCUS, N.J. — The Yale University baseball team saw two of its pitchers selected in the second day of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft, with Pat Ludwig (Okemos, Mich.) going to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 10th round and Nolan Becker (New York, N.Y.) going to the Cincinnati Reds in the 11th round on Tuesday.

Ludwig, who recently completed his senior season at Yale, was the 316th selection overall. It is the highest selection for a Yale player since the Boston Red Sox drafted catcher Ryan Lavarnway in the sixth round (202nd overall pick) in the 2008 Draft. In the 47-year history of the draft (1965), Ludwig is the seventh Yale player to be selected inside of the first 10 rounds.

"If ever a guy earned a chance to play after college, it's Pat," said Yale head coach John Stuper. "He busted his butt for four years, including pitching every summer. He worked hard on his craft and he worked hard in the weight room. He came in as a mid-80s guy with a nice clean delivery. He leaves as a low-90s guy who has touched 94. He has a great selection of pitches with a very good curve ball, slider, cutter, and a change that is improving. Our entire program is very proud of him."

Becker, who just finished his junior season, was the 352nd selection overall. He is the eighth-highest selection to come from Yale in the draft's history.

Ludwig and Becker represent the 32nd and 33rd players, respectively, to move on to the professional ranks during Coach Stuper's tenure as Yale's head coach. Their selection represents the eighth straight year in which a Yale player was selected in the draft.

Becker boosted his credentials for the draft with a 16-strikeout performance in seven innings of a 13-7 win over Brown on the last day of the season.

"Nolan has really persevered," Stuper said. "He had Tommy John surgery during his freshman year, and for him it was a long and arduous rehab. He never stopped believing and working. One day this year, he looked like the Nolan I knew was in there. He reaches 90 to 93 miles per hour and there is a lot more in there. If you're building a pitcher, he might be the prototype. He's 6-foot-6 with long levers, and he is left-handed. He is a tremendous athlete. His coming-out party came on the last day of the season, but his performance didn't surprise me at all."

Ludwig, who earned All-Ivy League Second Team honors, went 1-5 in nine starts and shared the team's Ducky Pond Pitching Award, a career award for pitching excellence and character, with fellow senior Eric Shultz. Ludwig led the team in strikeouts (64), strikeouts looking (23), earned run average (2.73), and innings pitched (62.2). He led the Ivy League in strikeouts and strikeouts looking and was third in ERA, third in innings pitched and seventh in opposing batting average (.256).

Becker, who earned All-Ivy League Honorable Mention recognition in 2012, went 2-4 in 12 appearances and nine starts. He led the Bulldogs in opposing batting average, holding hitters to a stellar .238 average, which was second among Ivy League leaders. He was second on the team in strikeouts (56) and strikeouts looking (16), strikeout numbers that placed him fifth and third, respectively, among Ivy League leaders. He allowed just 46 hits all season, which led the team's starters and was second among Ivy League leaders. His 16 strikeouts in the final game against Brown were a season-high for the Ivy League.

Report filed by Jon Erickson Jr., Yale Sports Publicity