Bednar's hometown is Valencia, Pa. He attended Mars High School, where he became a standout baseball player. He was the team's MVP as a senior and was MVP of the Western Pennsylvania All-Star Game.
David attended Lafayette College, where he led the team in ERA, Inning pitched, complete games, Strike out, and batting average against during his junior season.
2017 season: After being drafted, Bednar was sent to play in Single-A Short-Season for the Tri-City Dust Devils where he immediately made a name for himself. In 10 innings pitched, he gave up zero runs and had 15 strikeouts. He was soon sent up to play at Single-A (Full-Season) for the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
In Fort Wayne, Bednar was 4-5 with a 2.65 ERA and 75 strikeouts. Midway through the 2017 season, Bednar was called up to play at Single-A Advanced for the Lake Elsinore Storm.
Bednar played with the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League. In eight innings, Bednar posted a 1.13 ERA with seven strikeouts.
2018 season: Bednar played the whole season in Lake Elsinore. In his time with the Storm, Bednar had 12 saves with a 3.16 ERA and 127 strikeouts.
2019 Season: Bednar played most of the 2019 season at Double-A for the Amarillo Sod Poodles. In 58 innings pitched, he had 14 saves with a 2.95 ERA and 86 strikeouts.
Bednar had a long journey through the minor leagues that was helpful for him.
“It was a grind,” Bednar said. “Long bus rides and playing every day, you definitely get used to that lifestyle pretty quick. It was a great experience and I can't complain.”
On September 1 this past season, Bednar was called up to the Major Leagues.
“It was one of the best days of my life,” he said. “It was unbelievable and a true dream come true. It’s what you work for everyday and to have the opportunity to play in the big leagues is special.”
Bednar allowed zero runs in his first four appearances in the big leagues. He finished the season with an 0-2 record with a 6.55 ERA and 14 strikeouts. His ERA really doesn't speak for how he did though. Other than his final appearance, he pitched great and showed that he could battle with good hitters in the league.
“Just the competition and there's a lot less room for air,” Bednar said when asked about the differences in pitching in the Majors and Minors.
Bednar has spent some time this offseason with his friends and family. He has been building up his workouts to be ready for Spring Training. He is hoping that he will get call to the Majors again this season. (BH Journalist - SBNation - Nov. 8, 2019)
March 3, 2021: David Bednar is Pittsburgh through and through.
Bednar grew up in Mars, Pa., just outside of Cranberry Township in the North Hills, where he pitched for Mars Area High School. He was undrafted out of high school, and he stayed in Pennsylvania to pitch college ball at Lafayette College and returned to western Pennsylvania to play for the Butler BlueSox in collegiate summer ball. His family still lives in the same place. And his house is in Pittsburgh, too.
So when he was dealt to the Pirates from the Padres as part of the return for Joe Musgrove, the story didn’t come full circle for Bednar. It just fell right into place. And recently against the Blue Jays, the right-hander made his first appearance in the Bucs’ black and gold, pitching a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. “Just shagging [batting practice] yesterday, I looked around and saw all the Pirates jerseys,” the 26-year-old Bednar said. “It just kind of hit me. It was like, ‘Wow, this is real.’”
The Bednar family could soon hold claim to two Major League pitchers, too. David’s younger brother, Will, is a standout pitcher at Mississippi State and the No. 41 prospect in this year’s Draft, per MLB Pipeline. But for now, it’s just the older Bednar trying to work his way back into a Major League bullpen mix with the Pirates, and he has a lot of competition in camp.
“I think right now, I just need to go out and continue to get outs and earn the trust of the coaching staff and continue to prove that I can get outs at the big league level and make the most out of every opportunity I’m given,” Bednar said (J Crouse - MLB.com - March 3, 2021)
David retired the only batter he faced in his Pittsburgh home debut. The crew that Bednar had on hand spanned from Ohio to Philadelphia, with his parents, his cousins, his girlfriend and her family among those in attendance. They had a vinyl sign made for their man of the day, reading “BEDNAR PROUD #51.” It’s little surprise he had more than two dozen people in attendance; when the Pirates traveled to Chicago for a near-freezing Opening Day game, his girlfriend and uncle bundled up to make the trip.
The Bednar jerseys donned by fans walking the concourse would typically be a rare sight for a first-time Pirates reliever who has pitched only 20 2/3 Major League innings. But when the Bucs’ faithful sing “We are family!” each seventh-inning stretch, they mean it. The cheering contingent must have had their eye on the bullpen all game, because before Bednar was even announced, he was getting hearty screams from the third-base line.
“You really can’t put it into words hearing them go crazy,” Bednar said. “Their section was really cool. I’m just really happy they were able to share it with me.”
The support surpassed the confines of the Pirates’ home ballpark. The Mars Area School District, in which Bednar played high-school ball, tweeted out photo after photo of their students wearing black and gold in honor of their 2013 alumnus, and even shared a few photos of Bednar in his varsity days. (Crouse - mlb.com - 4/8/2021)
July 23, 2021: David and his younger brother, Will, have taken different paths into professional baseball, but their journeys intersected at Oracle Park.
Less than two weeks after being drafted #14 overall, Will officially signed with the Giants. 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 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. (JD Santos - MLB.com - July 23, 2021)
July 2022: Bednar was selected to the MLB All-Star Game. Bednar, a first-time All-Star, was used to pitch the ninth inning in a one-run game. Bednar, who has 16 saves this season in 20 opportunities, pitched a scoreless frame.
Pirates closer David Bednar reacted as if he had not quite heard Braves bullpen coach Drew French correctly.
“Bednar, you’re in the game,” French said after the top of the eighth inning during Tuesday night’s All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.
Bednar, a first-time All-Star at 27, pointed to himself in the National League bullpen, touching his chest, as if to say, “Me?”
It wasn’t that Bednar was unprepared; he had been ready to pitch the entire game. But after warming up in the fourth, only to sit back down, he thought his moment had passed.
It might have, if not for Edwin Díaz.
The Mets closer did not necessarily know every detail of Bednar’s story, how in 2016 the Padres had selected him out of Lafayette College in a round that no longer exists in the amateur draft, the 35th. How the Padres in Jan. 2021 had traded Bednar to the Pirates as part of a three-team deal that sent Joe Musgrove to San Diego. How Bednar, who grew up in Mars, Pa., about 25 miles north of Pittsburgh, had become a fan favorite while emerging as a stalwart for his hometown team.
Díaz, however, knew this much: He had pitched in an All-Star Game, in 2018 as a member of the Mariners, and Bednar had not. He kept pestering French, telling him Bednar could take his inning. Manager Brian Snitker’s original plan was for Díaz, one of the game’s most dominant relievers, to pitch the ninth if the NL led or the score was tied.
The game moved into the later innings. The NL continued to trail, 3-2. Díaz, knowing Bednar would relish the experience of pitching on the All-Star stage, again told French, “I don’t have any problem if you want to pitch him.” He had expressed a similar sentiment to French and Braves pitching coach Rick Kranitz before the game, saying he was more than happy to give up his inning or split it with another pitcher to give someone else a chance.
Snitker, managing an All-Star Game for the first time, was struck by the unselfishness of Díaz and other veteran All-Stars. Albert Pujols was among those who told him: “I’ve done this before. Let the guys who haven’t been here play.” Snitker, mind you, was not about to deprive Pujols of an at-bat in his final All-Star Game. But the manager, after returning to Atlanta on Wednesday, said the willingness of veteran All-Stars to sacrifice playing time for first-timers, “was a really cool part of this whole thing.”
French joked that the Braves wanted Díaz to pitch, seeing as how he plays for the division rival Mets. But the entire NL bullpen, it seemed, had a soft spot for Bednar.
“Edwin was the ringleader of it. He really spearheaded the effort,” French said. “But once this was kind of going down, everyone started to get involved emotionally, wanting him to get out there, get him in the game.”
“I was still holding out hope,” Bednar said. “They were all kind of nudging me, ‘Go tell him you want to throw. Go tell him you want to throw,’” Bednar said. “I was saying, ‘Obviously, I want to throw, but it’s not really my place to make a stand, pound the table, force my way in there.’”
“Look, Edwin really wants Bednar to have his inning. It’s his first All-Star Game. (No one knows) if he’s ever going to be back,” Braves bullpen catcher Jose Yépez told French.
As he took the mound Tuesday night, he was not especially nervous. He was just excited.
“I wanted to go out, just attack, let it rip, try and showcase my stuff, represent the Pirates and the city of Pittsburgh the best I could,” Bednar said.
Bednar’s fiancé, Casey Merritt, was in attendance, along with his parents, Andrew and Sue; his brother, Will, a right-handed starter who was the 14th-overall pick by the Giants in last year’s draft; and his sister, Danielle, a shortstop who is headed to St. Francis on a softball scholarship. A number of other relatives also made the trip.
“That made it even cooler, seeing all of their reactions after the game,” Bednar said. “I know I was beyond pumped. To see everybody else being that excited for me was even more special.”
"It put the cherry on top of this whole experience,” French said. “These guys don’t know each other from Adam, for the most part. You see each other compete. You have mutual respect. But the way they emotionally connected for one or two days, that was something that I was really taken aback by.”
Bednar, for his part, will never forget Díaz’s gesture.
“It speaks volumes of who he is as a person and teammate,” Bednar said. “He didn’t have to do that.”
Perhaps in a future All-Star Game, Bednar will be in position to make the same accommodation for a teammate, and pay it all forward. (Rosenthal-TheAthletic.com-July 21st, 2022)
Sept 26, 2022: David Bednar is an All-Star pitcher, but he's apparently skilled at solving brotherly infighting as well. It all started when a couple of young Pirates fans, Wesley and William, attended the game against the Reds at PNC Park.
Their father caught a foul ball off the bat of Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds in the bottom of the first inning, but Wesley grabbed it from his dad's hands, leaving his brother in tears. During a rain delay, Bednar signed two signed baseballs for the pair to ease tensions. And Bucs left fielder Jack Suwinski also threw a ball to them. Wesley -- whose family is from Mars, Pa., Bednar's hometown -- said he got exactly what he came to the ballpark hoping for.
"I was hoping for a signed ball," Wesley said, "... from David Bednar."
"Honestly, I had no idea," Bednar said. "I was doing my normal routine. I was heading out, and [sideline reporter] Robby [Incmikoski] had these two balls. He said, ‘I’m going to go give these to a fan.’ I was like, ‘Do you want me to sign them?’ I just ended up signing them. Come to find out, it was some Mars kid, and they actually ended up coming to [my camp that benefited Mars High School's baseball team], so that makes it even more special. It’s really cool. Watching the live feed and seeing their reactions is really funny and really cool, one of those full-circle-type things. That’s really what it’s all about. I was one of those kids once, and to see how much joy they had. They love coming to PNC Park and watching the Buccos. It was really cool to see how pumped up they were." The brothers watched the rest of the game with four baseballs and smiles on their faces. (D Svoboda - MLB.com - Sept 26, 2022)
Oct. 2022: Bednar committed to play for Team USA in the 2023 WBC.
Feb 3, 2023: Every seat in Mars Area High School’s basketball gymnasium was occupied. Those who couldn’t find a seat either made themselves comfortable on the hardwood or stood by the doors. There was no shortage of students or faculty members rocking Pirates regalia.
On this frostbite-inducing afternoon, one that warranted standing-room-only status, Mars Area High School paid homage to David Bednar, the most prolific flamethrower in school history, by retiring his No. 24, the first time the school has retired a number for an athletic alumnus.
“I grew up being heavily involved in Mars athletics and always looking up to some of the great athletes that have been through here,” Bednar said. “I’ve seen some of the athletes who have been through here, and they’re incredibly talented and doing big things. So, to be the first one, it’s really an honor. I’m incredibly proud of it. I’m so proud of this high school, so proud to be from Pittsburgh, and I try to do my best to represent the area as well as I can.”
The idea of retiring Bednar’s number was pitched last year by Mars' athletic committee to Andy Bednar, David’s father and a coach and teacher at the school for more than two decades. The event didn’t materialize then -- COVID played a part -- but on Friday, David’s digits were officially enshrined.
“The word surreal gets used all the time, but it’s just unbelievable,” Andy said. “Ten years ago he was in this school, just like the rest of this student body. It’s hard to believe that he’s here now with his number being retired, being a big leaguer for four years with the Padres and Pirates. Just incredible. It’s been incredible.”
Added Bednar's mother, Sue: “All of his hard work, all of his diligence, all of his efforts, just to see it pay off in such a special way is amazing. I’ve been cheering for that number for years and years and years, so to see it retired is just a little bit overwhelming and just awesome. It’s such a blessing, and he couldn’t be more deserving.”
Bednar may currently wear No. 51 for the Pirates, but he sported No. 24 for much of his life. His affinity for No. 24 comes from Ken Griffey Jr.
“I liked how he did the backwards hat and hit homers,” Bednar said. “I’m obviously not a hitter, but I always thought he was awesome. Unbelievable player; I always wanted to be like him and I liked his number, so I kept it and I’ve always liked it. 51 is all right, though.”
Bednar’s athletic accomplishments alone made the one-time All-Star a worthy recipient of the honor, but his impact at Mars stretches beyond his acumen as a ballplayer.
Bednar, the Pirates’ 2022 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, remains an active member of the community, whether it be helping to donate baseball equipment to his elementary school or hosting baseball camps during the summer.
Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, who played alongside Andy in high school, spoke to Bednar’s dual impact in Pittsburgh.
“We get to see what he does on the field and how great he is … but he means just as much in the community and the way he gives back,” Kelly said. “You look at the things he does in the offseason -- he’s always there. For the Pirates, for Mars, for everybody.”
Before Bednar unveiled framed Pirates and Mars jerseys -- “Renegade” by Styx, Bednar’s walk-out song and a Pittsburgh anthem, blared in the background as he did so -- he took the microphone and offered his gratitude. He thanked the community, his family and his teachers, admitting after the fact that he was more nervous in this setting than during a save situation. As he concluded, he left the next generation of students with a bit of wisdom.
“Keep your head down, keep working,” he said, “and anything is possible." (JD Santos - MLB.com - Feb 3, 2023)
June 2016: The Padres chose Bednar in the 35th round, out of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.
- Jan 18, 2021: In a three-team deal, the Mets received RHP Joey Lucchesi in exchange for catcher Endy Rodriguez, who went to the Pirates. The Pirates also received OF Hudson Head, RHP David Bednar, and LHP Drake Fellows from the Padres. And the Padres received RHP Joe Musgrove from the Pirates.
|Birth City:||Pittsburgh, PA|
|Draft:||Padres #35 - 2016 - Out of Lafayette College (PA)|
Bednar has a FASTBALL in the upper 90s and a SLIDER that flashes plus. His CURVEBALL is also a quality pitch. A 12-to-6 curve is his primary breaking pitch.
A physically mature right-hander, Bednar operates from a three-quarters slot while creating plane toward the plate. His fastball sat with late life and arm-side action that enables him to record whiffs inside the zone. Bednar's curveball, which features 11-to-5 shape, has regressed a bit but is still an average pitch. His splitter, meanwhile, was his most effective secondary pitch in the big leagues, registering with late tumbling action.
Bednar does a good job of pitching down in the zone and has kept the ball in the park as pro. He still has gains to make with both his curveball and his overall command, and the jury is out on Bednar's ability to retire left-handed hitters consistently. But a strong record of success against righties, on top of a successful big league audition, has Bednar's stock trending up going into 2020. (Spring 2020)
2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 43.4% of the time, his Change 31.1%; Slider 3.1%; and Curve 22.5% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 95.3 mph, Changeup 88.1, Slider 87.7, and Curve 76.8 mph.
2020 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 59.3% of the time, his Curve 14.4%; and Split 26.3% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 95.9 mph, Curve 75.3, and Split 89 mph.
2022 Season Pitch Usage/Avg. Velo: Fastball 54.6% - 96.5 mph; Curve 29.4% - 77 mph; Split 16% - 90 mph.
2020 Improvements: “I never really had a great feel for a changeup. In 2017, after I first got drafted and was in instructs, I was kind of toying around with it when one of our pitching coordinators pushed me towards Hideo Nomo, who was one of our special assistants and helping out. The coordinator got me throwing in front of Hideo. He gave me a few pointers, and kind of switched up my grip in a way that worked better for me.
David Bednar’s splitter grip:
“The grip is a slight variation [from Nomo’s splitter]. My two fingers are kind of offset on the seams, so that I have something to pull down on. There’s a little bit of slider action to it at times, but for the most part it’s either straight down, or has a little bit of cut.
“Something Nomo emphasized was to treat it like a fastball, and to just let it work. Let it do what it wants to do. So I just try to throw it to the bottom of the zone, and not try to do too much. I basically just throw the crap out of it, and let it eat. I try not to do things like [steal strikes with it]. I try to throw the same one every time, just because if you think about just landing it, it kind of flattens out.
“Obviously having Hideo, and now Kirby Yates here to talk to, is awesome. Kirby obviously has a really good one, so I’ll pick his brain. Our grips are a little bit different, but the mindsets are basically the same. Throw it to the bottom of the zone and let it do its thing. It’s evolved into one of my key out-pitches.” (David Laurila - Mar. 24, 2020)
2020 Season: This past season, Bednar struggled with injuries that kept from playing only four games for the Padres. In those four appearances, he pitched 6 1⁄3 innings, finishing with an 0-0 record, and an ERA of 7.11. He allowed 11 hits, five earned runs, one homer, and struck out five. (MTPeterson@ZoneTracks - Dec 16, 2020)
2021 Season: The 2021 season was the rookie season for Bednar. In his first full MLB season, Bednar had one of the best rookie seasons in Pirates' history for relief pitchers.
Bednar pitched 60.2 innings in 61 games. He posted a 2.23 ERA, 2.69 FIP and a strong home run rate of 0.74 HR/9. Bednar walked just 8.0% of batters faced while he struck out a very strong 32.5% of batters faced.
During September, Bednar spent time on the injured list. This IL stint, however, was probably in large part to help watch his workload and limit the amount of innings/work put on his arm in a lost season.
Moving forward Bednar looks like a potential All-Star level reliever for the Pirates. (Marty Leap - Oct. 21, 2021)
June 3, 2022: The words just spilled out.
David Bednar had just thrown a career-high 50 pitches across two innings to nail down a win against the Dodgers, the first of three the Pirates took in Los Angeles en route to a sweep. Bednar allowed two runs in the eighth inning, blowing his first save of the season. The Pirates scored two of their own. Bednar got a second crack at closing the door. He slammed it. The win was gritty. The adrenaline was high. So, when reporter Robby Incmikoski placed a microphone in front of Bednar, the words just spilled out.
“(Expletive) exciting, man,” said Bednar, who instantly realizing he used a pirate’s vocabulary on live television. “Sorry.”
Bednar did not earn the save, but it was his signature moment of the month, if not the entire season. The outing was one of many performances that net Bednar National League Reliever of the Month.
“It’s cool,” Bednar said. “It’s definitely an honor. Ultimately, it means when I’m throwing it well, it gives our guys a chance to win games. That’s ultimately the main thing that matters.”
“Very deserving,” said manager Derek Shelton. “I would be hard-pressed to find somebody that deserves it more, with what he’s done, the situations he’s done it in with the leverage and the non-traditional two-inning saves and just the way he’s performed. I’m very happy for him. I think he’s very well-deserving of it.”
In May, Bednar posted a 1.65 ERA and 1.74 FIP. He struck out 21 batters and walked just two. He recorded 7 saves in 8 opportunities. What arguably stands out the most from this month, though, was Bednar’s workload as he posted those numbers.
The right-hander’s 16 1/3 innings were the second most thrown by a reliever in May and the most by any reliever in the National League. His 26 innings on the season are tied for the fifth most by a reliever. Of his seven saves this month, three were of the two-inning variety.
“Well, I think the way David’s built, it definitely handles that endurance because he’s a strong guy,” Shelton said. “The one thing with David is there’s not a lot of effort. You watch him warm up, there’s not a lot of effort there. When he plays catch, there’s not a lot of effort. So he conserves everything for that, then he’s strong as an ox.” (JD Santos - MLB.com - June 3, 2022)
2022 Season: The team’s only All-Star did come from this position group in David Bednar, and he finished the season leading the team with 19 saves. The 28-year-old local boy got off to a blazing hot start this past season, racking up six-plus-out saves like they were going out of style, but things slowed down for The Renegade as the season wore on and he struggled with injuries.
He did finish with a 2.61 ERA, a 1.123 WHIP, and 69 strikouts in 51 innings to go along with a 3-4 record. (Darren Yuvan@DarrenYuvan Oct 13, 2022)
May 3-12, 2019: Bednar was on the IL.
Sept 11-26, 2021: Bednar had been unavailable on Sept. 11 and 12 as he dealt with right oblique discomfort. David didn’t recover as quickly as the club had hoped, so they sent him to the IL
- July 31-Sept 22, 2022: Bednar was on the IL with low back inflammation.