Sharp was surprisingly left unprotected by the Nationals. The Drury University product was selected by the Nationals in the 22nd round of the 2016 draft. Sharp is a very athletic player who uses his athleticism to help him repeat his delivery consistently. Sharp had offers to play basketball at Ball State and Oakland University in Michigan.
Sharp is known as a ground ball specialist getting 63.3 percent of the balls put into play against him in Double-A on the ground. This is consistent with his previous levels results as he ranked 5th in all of the minors last year in ground outs to air outs ratio. The ground balls are a result of a sinker that is coveted by many. Sharp uses a one-seam grip he learned from former Nationals pitcher Blake Treinen. Sharp attributes the success to the grip working with his natural release and pronation.
Sharp throws his sinker in the low-90s, has a better than average change up, and a slider that he spent most of his time in the Arizona Fall League working on. The sinker really bores into RHHs and away from LHHs. There is a downward movement to it naturally as the name indicates. Sharp has had some issues with RHHs getting on base so he is trying to find something to get him over the top to become more effective against them. That’s where the slider comes in.
Sharp has spent his time in the minors as a starter. However, if the Royals were to select him I think it would make the most sense to move him to the bullpen to help him with the learning curve of getting MLB hitters out. If they wanted to try to stretch him out at some point, it wouldn’t be a bad idea after he has had some success at the highest level of the game.
Sharp missed time this season with an oblique injury which probably kept him from reaching Triple-A and being protected. There is still some projection left as he is still putting on weight and muscle. Sharp weighed in at just 170 lbs at the beginning of last spring training. There are some reports that you could see a physical difference in his body between the beginning and end of last season although I couldn’t tell you.
Sharp doesn’t get a lot of strikeouts like some of the other Rule 5 guys, but he does get outs consistently. The fact that he doesn’t give up free bases by walking guys and that he gets outs with the majority being on the ground makes me think Sharp can have success for the Royals, a team that values defense.
Photo by Gary Dize from MASN Sports.