Thrilled to be a Phil

By on June 5, 2019

Ephrata grad Nate Fassnacht drafted in eighth round by Phillies


Ephrata’s Nate Fassnacht, seen here during his high school days for the Mounts, was selected by the hometown Philadelphia Phillies in the eighth round of the MLB draft Tuesday.

Ephrata’s Nate Fassnacht, seen here during his high school days for the Mounts, was selected by the hometown Philadelphia Phillies in the eighth round of the MLB draft Tuesday.



It had already been a pretty special week for Ephrata’s Nate Fassnacht.

First, the junior shortstop at George Washington University earned All-America distinction from Collegiate Baseball when he was named a Third Team selection by the publication last Thursday.

Then Tuesday came.

Surrounded by his family, who made the trip to his brother’s Washington DC home, Fassnacht learned he not only was drafted in the eighth round of the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft, but by his hometown Philadelphia Phillies, the team he’s rooted for his entire life.

Fassnacht, whose family has been long-time Phillies season ticket holders, was the 240th overall pick in the draft.

After waiting anxiously for several hours watching the draft Tuesday afternoon, the official word came in around 5 p.m. And needless to say, Fassnacht was thrilled.

“I was super pumped,” he said by phone Tuesday night. “It’s awesome to be able to go to Philly, just growing up watching that team and not having to change teams honestly. I’ve always been a Phillies fan. I watched them growing up— Rollins and Chase Utley and all of them. It was always a dream of mine (to play for the Phillies) but it’s actually like happening. It’s kind of weird. It still hasn’t hit me yet.”

Fassnacht, 21, is the first Ephrata grad to be drafted since pitcher Brandon Miller was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 6th round (177th overall) of the 2016 Draft from Millersville University.

He is believed to be just the fourth Ephrata product to be selected since the draft was instituted in 1965, and the first position player. He joins Miller along with fellow EHS alums in pitchers Brad Crills, who was selected in the 25th round of the 1994 draft by Baltimore, and Ross Buckwalter, who was picked by Toronto in the 26th round of the 2007 draft.

Incidentally, Fassnacht will be the second in his own family to play pro ball as his great uncle Orie Wolf once played in the Milwaukee Braves system.

While Tuesday was super exciting for Fassnacht and his family, it didn’t come without some stressful moments. Tuesday was Day Two of the three-day Draft, rounds 3-10. Prior to the Draft, Fassnacht said he heard from 20 or so teams but felt like Boston, Miami, and San Diego and of course the Phillies had shown the most interest. He also had a sense from talking to the teams that he would go somewhere between the third and sixth rounds.

“It was pretty stressful honestly,” Fassnacht said of waiting out his selection. “I was pretty confident I was going to go today…I just had no clue which team it would be or or how it was going to unfold. I was talking to teams earlier in the day and kind of thought it was going to happen earlier. I had a couple teams saying they were going to take me in the fourth (round), and then their pick came around and they didn’t pick me I was just like scrambling and trying figure out what was going on. But in the end, it wound up being the Phillies so I could not be mad. Eventually the Phillies were like, ‘hey, this is our offer.’ I was like, ‘yep, absolutely.’

Fassnacht, who graduated from EHS in 2016 and helped lead the Mounts to the District title that year, started 168 games out of a possible 169 in his three seasons at George Washington. He was solid his first two seasons before enjoying a monster campaign during his junior year.

In addition to his All-American status, he was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and a First Team All-Conference recipient after putting together one of the more complete seasons in A-10 history.

Fassnacht tied the school record with 23 doubles as part of his breakthrough campaign, finishing second in the A-10 and 48th nationally with a .372 batting average, nearly 100 points higher than his sophomore year. He also became the first A-10 player to reach 60 RBI in the last six seasons and blasted 11 long balls as part of a 1.108 OPS that was second on the team.

The Colonials’ everyday shortstop ranked among the nation’s top 100 in 13 categories overall, including doubles (sixth), doubles per game (11th), total bases (20th), hits (21st), and hits per game (22nd).

“This year, I think it was the fact that I was a smarter player, an older player,” he said when asked about his junior season success. “Plus I really worked in the off-season, studying film and working on my stance in the box…the mental side and things like that. I felt like I was a more complete player.”

He also thrived competing in the prestigious Cape Cod League in parts of the past two summers. He was scheduled to head to New England again, but now will take a detour next week to Clearwater, Florida where he’ll take part in extended Spring Training before being assigned to a minor league team for the summer.

The Phillies boast a Gulf Coast Rookie League team, a short season Class A team in Williamsport, a regular Class A team in Lakewood (NJ), and an advanced Class A team in Clearwater.

His journey will most likely begin at one of those stops. He and his family of Phillies fans hope it ends with him one day donning the “real” red pinstripes?

“(My family) was just happy I don’t have to buy gear for a new team,” he joked. “We can now keep all our Phillies stuff, which is really cool.”


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