Becker Signs with Reds

(photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)
(photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs' Junior Left-hander Chosen by Cincinnati in 11th Round of MLB Draft


CINCINNATI, Ohio — Nolan Becker, a left-handed pitcher on the Yale University baseball team, signed a professional contract to join the Cincinnati Reds organization Friday, just three days following his selection in the 11th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft.

Per policy of the Cincinnati Reds, the terms of Becker's contract were not disclosed. Becker is scheduled to participate in the Reds' mini-camp on Monday in Goodyear, Ariz., for all the signed drafted players. According to the Reds, following the completion of the mini-camp, Becker will mostly likely either report to Reds' rookie-level affiliate in Billings, Mont., in the Pioneer League, or he will stay in Goodyear to play for the Reds' team in the Arizona Summer League.

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.

Becker (New York, N.Y.) is one of three Yale players to be selected in this week's draft, along with senior pitcher Pat Ludwig (10th round, 316th overall pick) and senior outfielder Charlie Neil (37th round, 1144th overall pick). Together, the three former Bulldogs represent the 32nd, 33rd, and 34th players, respectively, to move on to the professional ranks during John Stuper's tenure as Yale's head coach. The selection of the three players 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 following Becker's selection by the Reds. "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."

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