Bednar brothers reunite at Oracle Park

July 24th, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pirates reliever and his younger brother, Will, have taken different paths into professional baseball, but their journeys intersected on Friday afternoon at Oracle Park.

Less than two weeks after being selected with the 14th overall pick of the 2021 MLB Draft, Will officially signed with the Giants for $3.65 million, according to MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis. With the Pirates in town to kick off a three-game series against the Giants, Will got to share the moment with David, a 35th-round Draft pick of the Padres in 2016 who has taken over as a high-leverage bullpen option for his hometown Pirates.

“It’s so cool because right after I got drafted, we kind of looked at the schedule and saw that the [Giants’] first home game was against the Pirates,” said Will, a right-handed pitcher out of Mississippi State. “It was really cool how the stars aligned there and everything worked out the way it did.”

Hours before first pitch, Will, 21, and David, 26, took the field together as professional ballplayers for the first time, posing for photos along with their parents, Andy and Sue, and their younger sister, Danielle.

“You really can’t script it much better than this,” David said.

The past month has been a whirlwind for Will, who led Mississippi State to its first College World Series title this year by logging a 1.47 ERA over three starts and delivering six no-hit innings against Vanderbilt in the championship game to capture Most Outstanding Player honors.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Will posted a 3.12 ERA with 129 strikeouts across 92 1/3 innings in his sophomore season for the Bulldogs, but his standout performance at Omaha helped boost his Draft stock and capture the attention of the Giants, who were impressed by his competitiveness and his polished arsenal, which includes a mid-90s fastball and a plus slider.

“Just fired up,” David said of his reaction to Will getting drafted. “I know what all goes into it and saw all the work behind the scenes. So, to see him get rewarded for that is unreal.”

Will enjoyed a more straightforward path than David, who went into his Draft year without any guarantees that he would hear his name called.

David played not for a major Division I college like Will, but at Lafayette College of the Patriot League. After spending three years with the Leopards, posting a 3.84 ERA across 166 1/3 career innings with 188 strikeouts, David was selected by the Padres on the final day of the 2016 Draft.

“What was funny was that during David’s draft, on the third day, we were just praying to hear anything,” Andy said. “He was going, ‘Oh, maybe the 25th round. Maybe the 30th round.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, God.’ And then the 35th round rolls around, and he got picked by the Padres. All you can ask for was an opportunity, and he really took advantage of that.”

After getting traded to the Pirates as part of the Joe Musgrove blockbuster trade, David has evolved into a reliable late-inning option, taking a 2.84 ERA into the Pirates’ series against the Giants. In July, David has yet to allow a run in eight appearances.

How do Will and David compare as pitchers?

“Both guys really like to attack hitters,” said Andy, who coached both of his sons at Mars Area High School in Pennsylvania. “They’re very aggressive on the mound. I think they’re really good competitors. They don’t let the moment get to them a whole lot.”

Will has never been to San Francisco before, so he’s hoping to cram in a tour of Alcatraz before reporting back to the Giants’ Minor League complex in Arizona next week. When asked where his alliances will lie over the next couple days, Will joked that he’ll be a Pirates fan for the eighth inning, which is typically when David pitches. Otherwise, he’ll root for his new organization.

“It’s definitely cool to be here,” Will said. “Me and [David] have completely different paths, but I know from him that it’s a long road and it’s gritty. I’m ready for it.”