Nate Gercken Drafted By Minnesota Twins
A historic career was made that much more memorable on Wednesday, June 10, as Academy of Art University baseball alumnus Nate Gercken was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 17th round with the 500th pick overall in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft. Gercken is the second ART U athlete ever to be drafted by a professional sports organization after Zach Babitt’s 10th-round selection pioneered the way in 2012.
“We are so proud of Nate and what he has accomplished,” said head coach Dan McDermott. “It has certainly been an emotional couple weeks for all of us after Nate received his degree and now being drafted by the Minnesota Twins.”
Gercken earned All-PacWest Second Team honors in 2015 and was once the PacWest Pitcher of the Week en route to setting multiple single-season and career records. He was the third PacWest baseball player drafted in 2015 after Azusa Pacific’s Josh Staumont went on Monday (2nd round, 64th overall) and California Baptist’s Adam Hofacket was picked on Tuesday (10th round, 315th overall).
In a stellar senior year, Gercken set single-season records in wins (6), strikeouts (79), ERA (2.90), opponent batting average (.206), complete games (7), shutouts (2), games started (14) and innings pitched (96 1/3). At the conclusion of the regular season, he led the entire West Region in innings pitched, was ranked third in the country in games started, and fifth in the nation in complete games. His 79 strikeouts were 43rd best in the NCAA.
Gercken finished his four-year career as the program’s leader in ERA (3.93), innings pitched (314.0), wins (10), starts (53), complete games (13) and strikeouts (196). His career opponent batting average of .259 was second best in program history. He was twice PacWest Pitcher of the Week in 2014 while leading the squad in ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts, and complete games that year.
Gercken becomes the fourth ART U baseball player in as many seasons to join the MLB professional ranks. The streak began in 2012 with Babitt’s draft selection. In 2013, Stefen Henderson signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Last year Brandon Poulson started the Urban Knights’ Minnesota pipeline by signing a contract with the Twins.