For the first time in three years, a former GW baseball player has been drafted to the MLB.
The Philadelphia Phillies selected former graduate center fielder Cade Fergus during the 13th round of the MLB draft last month, signing him to a $125,000 deal after hitting .315 with a team-leading 13 home runs, 37 RBIs and 55 runs this spring. Former pitcher Harrison Cohen also signed a free-agent deal with the New York Yankees last week after tossing 14 wins with a 3.97 ERA through 186 innings during his career with the Colonials.
Fergus, the 392nd overall pick in the 20-round draft, agreed to terms with Philadelphia and was assigned to the Phillies’ Single-A minor league affiliate Clearwater Threshers in Clearwater, Florida, Fergus’ home state. During his five seasons with GW, Fergus hit .280 with a .466 slugging percentage and 19 home runs.
Baseball Head Coach Gregg Ritchie said he was thrilled to see Fergus join five alumni in the MLB, a success for the coaching staff, which seeks to push their players to accomplish their dreams of playing in the major leagues.
“It’s something that is always a very fulfilling accomplishment,” Ritchie said in an interview. “For the purposes of the idea that you’re helping, your goal is to help every one of these young men achieve a dream.”
Fergus was among the A-10’s top 10 leaders in home runs, runs and RBIs during his final season, which he ended with a career-high 14-hit game streak between March 13 and April 3. He earned his first All-Conference honors of his career as a fifth-year when he was named to the First Team as an outfielder.
Ritchie said Fergus’ arm accuracy and baseball IQ define his raw skills as a star center fielder.
“He learned how to do these things, and I think that’s going to fare well for him in a fast-paced situation of professional baseball – his ability to handle adversities, moments, changes and adjustments,” Ritchie said. “The expectation of being better at mastering the idea of being consistent as a player and as a human being on a daily basis.”
Fergus has played in the Cape Cod League last summer with the Wareham Gatemen. The league is known for producing MLB talent, hosting about 16 percent of all its players during their years as young prospects.
Ritchie said Fergus helped balance the team’s energy with “tremendous excitement” and joy through the competition while leading the Colonials with his performance each season. He said Fergus exemplified the determination and commitment he expects of a GW student-athlete.
“When you’re trying to achieve greatness and excellence, sometimes you can get to the point where you kind of lose the fun a little bit because you’re trying to drive so hard,” Ritchie said. “He learned how to have that balance, and he brought it to the team. He brought in an air of tremendous excitement and atmosphere and joy.”
Cohen, another five-year member of GW’s baseball program, set a 3.97 career ERA with the Colonials. He was named to the A-10 All-Conference Second Team during his senior season, which he capped off with a 3.92 ERA and seven wins, four of which were in A-10 play.
Cohen ranked in the conference Top-10 in the five different pitching categories, where he ranked first with his 87.1 innings pitched and second with his 93 strikeouts. He also ranked 18th in strikeouts with 201 and 19th in wins with 14 wins in program history.
Ritchie said Cohen was the Friday night starter and longtime leader of the pitching staff who helped position players in center field and offensively.
“The ultimate dream for a Cade Fergus, Harry Cohen or any of the other guys I mentioned is getting to the major leagues, but this is a big part of their dream,” Ritchie said. “And they’ve achieved part of that, a good part of it, so it’s a smile, it’s a real nice smile on your face, and it’s a moment of joy.”