He was a catcher, mostly, who turned into a pitcher.
Now he’s an amateur ballplayer about to turn himself into a pro.
Shenendehowa High School graduate Ben Anderson was picked by the Texas Rangers on the 13th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft Wednesday, following his twin brother Ian into the professional ranks.
He was on the receiving end of his brother’s pitches in high school, but Ben Anderson just finished his junior season for Binghamton University, where he was the 2019 America East Pitcher of the Year after setting school single-season records in wins and strikeouts in his first season as a starter.
The Rangers took Anderson with the 385th of 1,217 total picks in the draft. He was the ninth Binghamton player selected in the last eight years and the fourth Bearcats pitcher in the last four years.
“I’m super-excited to get a chance to play for the Texas Rangers organization,” Anderson said by phone Wednesday afternoon. “They were showing interest all year, so it was not a huge surprise that they picked me.
“My good season started last summer when I was in the Coastal Plain League, and I was able to carry that over and get a chance to start.”
After two seasons at Binghamton as a relief pitcher, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound right-hander was 9-4 with 108 strikeouts for an average of 11.05 per nine innings this season. He led the conference with a 2.76 ERA.
His final start was a complete-game 2-1 victory over Hartford in the opening game of the America East tournament. The Bearcats lost in the championship game 7-5 to Stony Brook on Saturday, May 25.
“I can’t thank everybody from Binghamton enough,” Anderson said. “Probably the biggest thing I did was I had to really, really learn to be a pitcher, and then this year as a starter, I had to be able to battle through tough innings.”
News of the draft was welcomed by the Plainsmen as they prepare for the New York State Class AA Tournament.
“He showed up every day and worked; that’s what successful people do,” Shen pitching coach Keith Lansley said.
“Keith saw something in him,” head coach Greg Christodulu said. “When he first started pitching, he threw like a catcher. We lengthened him out.”
Anderson was drafted on the 26th round by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2016 draft, but opted to go to Binghamton. His brother Ian was drafted third overall by the Atlanta Braves that year and currently is 2-4 with a 3.27 ERA for the Braves’ AA affiliate in Mississippi of the Southern League.
Now they share an agent, Matt Wright of ACES Baseball Agency, and Ben said he expects to have more information about a contract and where his next stop will be by the end of this week. In the meantime, it’s fun to envision some time in the future when he and his brother could be in opposite dugouts playing against each other, instead of opposite ends of Ian’s pitches.
“That would be awesome,” Ben said. “We’ve always been on the same team.”
Also in the Draft, Siena College junior pitcher Brendan White was selected on the 26th round by the Detroit Tigers as the 772nd pick overall.
A first-team all-MAAC selection, White is the 26th MLB Draft pick in Siena history.
He ranks third all-time in program history in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.91).
“Thank you to the Tigers organization for choosing me, and thank you to the Siena Family for everything they’ve done to help get me to this point,” the Mahopac native said in a school athletic department release.
Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz contributed to this story.