Poppen, Gruener Selected in MLB Draft

Poppen, Gruener Selected in MLB Draft

Poppen was the highest Harvard player drafted since Ben Crockett in 2002 (Elan Kawesch).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After leading the Crimson on the mound in 2016, Harvard baseball's Sean Poppen was selected in the 19th round by the Minnesota Twins, while Nick Gruener went to the Baltimore Orioles in the 22nd round. The two right-handed pitchers are the third and fourth players selected in the draft under Bill Decker, the Joseph J. O'Donnell '67 Head Coach for Harvard Baseball.

"I think it's a great thing for our program and university that we have had two kids taken in the draft. It shows the success we have had in developing student-athletes" said Decker. "I am very happy for both kids and both families."

Poppen became the highest- drafted Harvard player since Ben Crockett '02 was selected in the third round by the Colorado Rockies. Hailing from Chesapeake, Virginia, Poppen tallied a 3-4 record in 2016, striking out 47 over 55.2 innings while allowing just 47 hits. Posting a 3.07 ERA over the course of the season, Poppen ranked fourth in the conference in punch-outs, including a career-best 10 against Brown April 24.

"As a senior and double major, for Sean to do what he did on the playing field and in the classroom speaks volumes about the career a student-athlete can have at Harvard. He is diligent, resilient and hard-working in his preparation, and is certainly showed through his four years," said Decker.

When his name was called on Saturday, Gruener gave Harvard its second-straight season with multiple players selected. A Miami native, Gruener led the Ivy League with seven complete games, including five in conference play, and ranked third in the country in the category. One of the top strikeout pitchers in the Ancient Eight, Gruener fanned 49 batters over 62 innings while surrendering just nine walks. He ended 2016 with a 5-4 record and a 2.76 ERA. In May, Gruener was named to the All-Ivy League second team.

"Much of the same can be said about Nick. He has worked extremely hard over the past three years, and it is a testament to his drive that he was able to be selected as a junior," Decker said. "Nick loves Harvard and being a student-athlete, and he has an important decision to make."

Harvard has had 54 players selected in the draft in program history. Frank Hermann '06 was the last Crimson player to appear in the major leagues, pitching for the Cleveland Indians from 2010-12.