Houston Astros draft Bradley’s Bircher

By Frank Radosevich II
June 6, 2012

The Houston Astros selected Bradley starting pitcher Joe Bircher ’12 as its first pick of the 10th round in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

“My phone was ringing off the hook for about four hours,” Bircher said from his hometown of Omaha, Neb. “You never know what is going to happen next.”

Bircher, who attended Roncalli Catholic High School in Omaha, said his time at Bradley developed more that just his pitching game and that he intends to make the most of his opportunity with a major league team.

“I grew up here not just as a player but as a person, too,” he said of Bradley. “I only get one shot and I don’t plan on wasting it.”

Bircher becomes the 70th Bradley Baseball player to be selected in the MLB draft since it was instituted in 1965. A starter in 50 of his 58 career appearances from 2009 to 2012, Bircher set school records with 302 career strikeouts and 359.2 innings pitched.

The psychology graduate finished his Bradley career with a 21-16 record and a 3.58 earned run average, the fifth-best career ERA by a Brave since metal bats were introduced in 1974.

“It’s really rewarding to us as a staff to see him succeed not only athletically but academically as well,” said Bradley Baseball head coach Elvis Dominguez. “He has reached where he is now thanks to all of his hard work.”

Dominguez offered nothing but praise for Bircher, calling him a great leader who was the first one on the field and the last one to leave the stadium. Dominguez, who began his coaching career at Bradley when Bircher was a freshman, said Bircher also served as the president of the University’s Braves Council student-athlete advisory board. 

The lefthander is also the 23rd Bradley player selected within the first 10 rounds and the third taken by the Astros, following Dave Panizzi (26th round) in 1987 and Steve McAllister (fifth round) in 1981. Bircher was an All-Missouri Valley Conference first team selection for the 2012 season, after being selected to the second team for the 2012 season.