After concluding their productive careers with the Yale baseball team, four Bulldogs successfully landed spots on minor league baseball rosters — the greatest number of draftees in Yale’s history.
First baseman Griffin Dey ’19, righthander Scott Politz ’19, pitcher Kumar Nambiar ’19 and infielder Simon Whiteman ’19 all made the move to professional baseball this summer. Whiteman went in the ninth round to the San Francisco Giants, before being moved to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes who play in the A league. Next came the Elis’ prolific slugger Dey, who was selected in the 23rd round by the Detroit Tigers. He currently plays for the GCL Tigers West ball club. In the 29th round, the St. Louis Cardinals chose Politz and in the 34th, the Oakland Athletics took Nambiar.
“It’s awesome to see how last years seniors’ work has come to fruition and are able to make their dreams a reality in the minor leagues,” infielder Dai Dai Otaka ’20 said. “I am sure many of the guys on the team have been keeping in touch with them as well as keeping track of their progress. We all are very happy to see their success continue.”
Whiteman was a force to be reckoned with throughout his time in New Haven, with his defensive prowess matched only by his efficient hitting. The Connecticut native saved his best for last, however, by setting career highs in multiple categories as captain during his senior year. Whiteman batted an impressive .337 average through 41 games, ranking fourth on the team.
His speed was unmatched as he led the squad with 34 stolen bases. Whiteman began his minor league career with the Volcanoes, batting .279 and gathering 14 RBIs. He has since moved to the Augusta Green Jackets, where he has totalled 28 hits and stole 13 bases.
“I’m taking in all I can to make myself the best I can be this offseason and moving forward,” Whiteman said. “I’d like some day to be a premier base stealer in the big leagues — it’s a dream I’ve had for a long time. I’m still far off, but closer than I’ve ever been before. It’s an exciting time, and more than anything, I feel blessed. I’m ready to put in some work this offseason to come back to Spring Training 2020 ready to go.”
Dey was a nightmare for pitchers during his time at the plate for the Bulldogs. The slugger finished just one home run shy of Ryan Lavarnway’s ’09 record of 30 home runs in a career. He also ranks fifth on the career RBI list for Yale with 126 runs scored in his tenure. Dey batted an exceptional .362 his senior season while also lifting 11 moonshots. The Tigers, recognizing his major hitting ability, assigned him to their Rookie league team: the GCL Tigers West. Dey played in two games, batting .250, before being placed on the injured reserve list.
Politz, meanwhile, consistently tossed well throughout his Bulldog career which put him in a position to play professionally. The three-time All-Ivy player’s crowning moment with the team undoubtedly came during his untouchable 2017 campaign, when he finished third in the NCAA with 11 wins in 13 starts, including a victory in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals’ pick was assigned to the Single A New York-Penn League, where he currently boasts a reasonable 3–3 record over 13 games and 12 starts.
Nambiar, taken by A’s general manager Billy Beane, was a strikeout machine for the Elis, capping off a successful career with a win in his final outing for Yale against Dartmouth. The southpaw, who pitched a complete game, gave up a mere two hits and struck out nine. Unfortunately for Nambiar, the transition to the pros has not been as fruitful. The New York-state native lays claim to a 1–4 record in the Athletics’ rookie league with an ERA of 5.25.
“Being able to watch these guys that we played with play professionally and find success shows all of us Ivy Leaguers that our league is legit and we can play with anyone,” pitcher Alex Stiegler ’20 said. “It’s great for younger guys to be able to see it.”
In total, nine Ivy players from five schools were selected in this year’s MLB Draft.
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