When the Binghamton baseball team faced off against Hartford in its first game of the 2019 America East (AE) Baseball Tournament, it was a pitchers’ duel from start to finish. During the bottom of the ninth inning in a 1-1 game, the Bearcats’ starting pitcher, junior Ben Anderson, watched from the dugout as his teammates rallied, scoring the one walk-off run necessary and delivering their ace a well-earned playoff win.
When Anderson left the mound in that game, he left behind a stellar three-year legacy as a Bearcat, as he awaited his imminent selection in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft. That call came on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 5, when Anderson was selected in the 13th round by the Texas Rangers. The BU athletics department immediately announced his decision to forgo his final year of collegiate eligibility and begin his professional career with the Rangers’ organization.
“I’m very excited for Ben and his family for this opportunity,” said BU head coach Tim Sinicki, according to bubearcats.com. “He’s worked extremely hard the last three years to develop and put himself in this position. The Texas Rangers have a very talented pitcher joining their organization and even a better young man.”
This year marked the second time Anderson has been selected in the MLB Draft. The Rexford, New York native was drafted out of high school, picked in the 26th round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, but declined to sign in order to play college baseball at Binghamton.
After spending his first two years at BU as a relief pitcher, Anderson entered 2019 as the top starter the Binghamton pitching staff. He quickly established himself as the ace of the staff and had a dominant 2019 season. Anderson, the 2019 AE Pitcher of the Year, finished the season with a 9-4 record and a conference-leading ERA of 2.76. His 108 strikeouts on the season set a school record, and he became the seventh pitcher in AE history to record over 100. The prior six all eventually played in the major leagues.
“I’m excited to start this new journey and owe a lot to the players and coaches of Binghamton University for where I am today,” Anderson said, according to bubearcats.com.
Of the five AE players chosen in the draft, Anderson was picked the highest. His fellow major award winner, reigning AE Player of the Year junior Nick Grande of Stony Brook, was picked in the 17th round.
With his selection, Anderson became the 15th Binghamton player selected in the MLB Draft. Notably, Binghamton has seen at least one player chosen in each of the last six drafts, and 2019 marks the fourth-consecutive year in which a Binghamton pitcher has been drafted.
While being selected and signing a professional contract is a great achievement for Anderson, the road to the big show is long and arduous for any baseball prospect. He will likely begin his minor league baseball career at one of the Rangers’ short-season or rookie-level farm teams before advancing to a Class A team next season.
If Anderson makes it there, he will be the third Binghamton alum to reach the big leagues. But for now, he will have to focus on climbing the ladder that is minor league baseball, taking on each level one at a time.