UBC pitcher Niall Windeler

It’s another proud day for UBC Baseball as starting pitcher Niall Windeler has been selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 19th round of the 2019 MLB draft.


The 6-foot-4 210 pound Toronto native is fresh off an outstanding junior season with the Thunderbirds where he was named co-winner of the 2019 NAIA West Pitcher of the Year award while also making the All-NAIA West team for a second straight year. He also earned an NAIA All-American honourable mention.


“It feels amazing, it’s something I’ve been wanting to accomplish for a long time,” said Windeler just minutes after seeing his name appear. “It was a goal when I came to UBC and just to have it happen, I can’t put it into words right now, I’m just so excited.”


Windeler posted a 5-4 record in 2019 with a 3.72 ERA and an incredible 105 strikeouts. This past season saw the T-Birds’ ace record the first-ever solo nine-inning no hitter in program history. Windeler also tied Jeff Francis’ program record of 15 strikeouts in a single game.


In 40 career starts with the Thunderbirds, Windeler amassed a 14-11 record with a 3.36 ERA and 247 strikeouts.


Coming to UBC from the Toronto Mets program, Windeler becomes the 23rd player to be drafted to the major leagues since the ‘Birds’ program re-started in 1997.


“They proved today that they liked him and want him in their organization, I think it’s a perfect fit,” said UBC head coach Chris Pritchett who himself was drafted by the Chicago Cubs back in 1988. “Niall’s going to go out and do a great job and we look forward to following his career in the pro ranks.”


Pritchett has now seen five of his players selected since arriving at Point Grey in 2015-16 as Windeler joins Mitch Robinson (New York Yankees, 2018), Curtis Taylor (Arizona, 2016), Alex Webb (Cincinnati, 2016), and Bruce Yari (Cincinnati, 2016).


“It’s a good message for high school Canadians who are looking at where to play, you can stay right here in Canada and be selected and follow that dream while still getting a great education at the same time,” added Pritchett. “We would love to have Niall as a senior here since he’s such a good pitcher, but we’re equally as committed to get guys ready to get to the next level and he’s ready.”


There’s no doubt that June 5th, 2019 will always be a big day in the Windeler household, a day that saw a long-held dream come to reality.


“It means everything. Coming to UBC, a big part of the draw was the Alex Webbs, the Curtis Taylors, the Bruce Yaris, even going back to Jeff Francis. There was that aspect that Coach Pritchett said was a possibility if you work hard. Nothing’s promised, but just having that chance to get my foot in the door and join this organization is a blessing, it feels like the three years (at UBC) have led to this and it feels awesome.”