Kent State left-handed pitching star Eric Lauer ’16 is known for being cool, calm and collected on the mound, but even he expressed excitement over learning he was selected by the San Diego Padres in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft in June, going as the 25th overall pick.
“This is a dream come true,” says Lauer. “To be drafted in the first round has always been one of my goals, and it’s a bit surreal to have it actually happen. I’m really excited to be a part of the Padres organization, and I can’t wait to work on my next goal of making it to the major leagues.”
Three years ago, coming out of high school, Lauer passed up a seven-figure signing bonus offer by the Toronto Blue Jays after being drafted in the 17th round—choosing to further his education and raise his draft stock at Kent State.
“He elevated himself quite a bit,” says pitching coach Mike Birkbeck, who in 20 seasons at Kent State has had many pitchers advance to the major leagues. “He’s got great aptitude. You can suggest something, and he has the ability to take those words and put them into action.” That “coachability” will allow him to pitch a long time, Birkbeck predicts.
“These past three years have been a lot of fun, and I truly believe choosing college out of high school was the right choice for me,” says Lauer, who graduated in May with a degree in business management. “I hope to make Kent State proud.”
- National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball
- Consensus First Team All-American (second in KSU history)
- Second Team Academic All-American by College Sports Information Directors of America
- 2016 Pitcher of the Year by Mid-American Conference
- 2016 Pitcher of the Year by National College Baseball Hall of Fame
- Finalist for 2016 Dick Howser Trophy by Easton Foundations
- Semifinalist for 2016 Golden Spikes Award by USA Baseball
Eric Lauer: By the Numbers
|0.69||ERA, best in the nation and best in Division I since 1979|
|125||Strikeouts in 104 innings; 2nd most in Kent State History|
|31||Consecutive scoreless innings to close the season|
|11th||No-hitter in Kent State history|
|7th||First-round pick in Kent State history|
|3.7||GPA in business management; graduated in 3 years|
|505||When drafted out of high school by the Blue Jays in 2013|
|25||When drafted out of college by the Padres in 2016|
Faces of Kent State: Eric Lauer