Ben Anderson Continues To Impress; On Route To Set Single Season Strikeout RecordPosted: Updated:
Vestal, N.Y. - Great things happen when talent and hard work come together. Some athletes have one or the other but it's the special players that have both. Binghamton University's Junior starting pitcher Ben Anderson epitomizes what can happen on a playing field when your dedication and work ethic is just as strong as the natural talent you're given.
"His attitude, work ethic, all the intangibles are off the chart and he's truly been putting together one of the best seasons we've had in a long time from a starting pitcher" said head coach, Tim Sinicki.
It was his junior year in high school when he decided to walk away from home plate and join his teammates from a different angle, from the pitchers mound. Switching from catcher to pitcher was a bold and incredibly smart decision, considering what he's been able to do ever since. The New York native became Binghamton baseball's first-ever MLB Draft pick out of high school. In 2016, he was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 26th round.
But listen to this. Anderson, turned down the offer from the Toronto Blue Jays to begin his professional career and instead of putting on a Blue Jays jersey, he put on a Bearcats jersey. Since then, his role as a Bearcat has certainly transformed. Not only has it transformed in the numbers but also in the intangibles and what he can bring to this team.
"My role has changed quite a bit" said Anderson. "My first two years here I was a reliever and came out of the bullpen on the weekends to shut the door and finish games for the team. This season I'm starting, but the goal is still the same. I need to limit the the opposing offense and give our guys a chance to win."
If you were to watch Anderson play his freshman and sophomore year here in Binghamton, you would see him walking from the bullpen to the mound. Taking the ball from his starting pitcher and taking over in relief. Here in 2019, he's viewed as the main guy, the starting pitcher who leads the America East conference in strikeouts (74), wins (6-2) and third in ERA (2.25). He now leads a Binghamton baseball team who ranks first in pitching throughout the conference.
"Ben's development has been really good from my standpoint" said Sinicki. "I'm really happy with it. He was used out of the bullpen the first two years because he really only had two pitches. It was basically a fast ball and a changeup. But, to his credit he's really worked hard to develop his breaking pitch now that he has a curve ball and three pitches for strikes. He can get through a line-up multiple times now. In the past couple of years it was only a one time through the line up or get 6-9 outs, now he's able to go a little further into that 6th and 7th inning."
It was in Anderson's 2018 season exit interview where Binghamton baseball's head coach Tim Sinicki expressed that he wanted to see Ben in a different role in the 2019 season. After graduating four pitchers, including right-handed pitcher Nick Wegmann who was selected by Seattle in the MLB Amateur Draft.
Ben accepted the challenge and certainly ran with it. He's on pace to set the single-season strikeout record of 87, set by Mike Bunal in 2016.
"I definitely think this is some of the best baseball I've ever pitched in a Bearcats jersey" Anderson said. "I've been given a great opportunity. Our guys are playing great behind me. Defense has been exceptional. Connor Aoki (catcher) has been doing a great job behind the plate. Especially as a freshman. I couldn't ask for a better group of guys to pitch in front of."
Binghamton University (15-17) begins the most crucial part of their season on Saturday as they host the University of Hartford in a three-game series, starting at noon.