Here’s a little bit on the Pirates’ many Day Three picks, starting with the early teens:
11th round (328 overall): Alex Manasa, RHP, Jackson (Mich.) CC
The Pirates’ 11th-round pick in the slotting era has typically been a high-upside one, somewhere to spend a little extra money in case one of the top picks doesn’t sign. Manasa’s primary position is listed as outfield, but he was a strong reliever in the junior college ranks, with 31 strikeouts in 21 1-3 innings, according to The Detroit News. He’s lanky, listed at 6’4”, 195. This profile from last year highlights his speed and athleticism.
12th round (358): Hunter Wolfe, SS, Walters State (Tenn.) CC
The Pirates went right back to the JuCo ranks with a shortstop noted for his defense and speed. Wolfe appears to have been headed to the University of Tennessee at one point, but he returned to Walters State and hit .393/.458/.655 with eight home runs in 44 games. There’s a little video on him in this story from December. Baseball America ranks Wolfe 34th among draft prospects in Tennessee.
13th round (388): Tristan Gray, 2B, Rice U.
Gray has also played third base, first base and left field, but Baseball America says he’s best defensively at second. He’s got a little bit of pop — his eight homers were tied for the Owls team lead. BA also says he’s been clocked at 92 off the mound. BA has him 52nd on its Texas list. He was drafted out of high school by the Mets in the 37th round in 2014.
14th round (418): Chris Sharpe, CF, UMass Lowell
Sharpe is a sophomore who saw much offensive improvement this season, leading off for the Riverhawks and hitting .338/.432/.685 with seven home runs. BA ranks him 34th in New England.
"He hit one that went 455 feet with a 108 mile-per-hour exit velocity," said Harring. "The only one I've seen that went further was by (former Major Leaguer) Carlos Pena when I was at Northeastern that went 470-something.
"The exit velocity and the way the ball comes off his bat is unlike anything I've seen in a while. But it's a complete credit to him. He works extremely hard. That weekend put him on the map."
Sharpe, who credits assistant coach Jerod Edmondson with helping him become a better hitter, belted six homers in UMass Lowell's first 11 games.
"I would love to say I'm a power hitter," said Sharpe, who is 6-foot-1 and weighs 200-pounds. "But I know I'm a gap-to-gap hitter. Just sometimes those gap balls go out."
15th round (448): Gavin Wallace, RHP, Fairfield U
Gavin is the brother of Mike Wallace (the Pirates’ 2015 30th-round pick, also from Fairfield, pitching in the West Virginia bullpen — not the former Steeler). The 6’5”, 200-pounder was a workhorse for the Stags, pitching 90 2-3 innings and seven complete games. This feature seems to indicate Wallace gets some contact.
“It’s definitely all about including the defense since I haven’t had too many strikeouts. I just let the opponent put the ball in play and have the fielders make the plays they need to, so it all works out in the end,” said Wallace.
In the game of baseball, being consistent is very important mainly as a starting pitcher and Wallace has been the quintessence of consistency, in which every start so far, he has completed seven innings or more. Being consistent and going deep into games are two fantastic qualities that a starting pitcher should have.
“It’s more of a mentality thing for me. I try to focus more on strikes. I’d rather give up four hits than any walks so I just try to focus on them putting the ball in play so my defense can make the plays behind me,” said the 6-foot-5-inch hurler.