In perhaps the least surprising development for the Washington Nationals at the Winter Meetings in San Diego, California, the team lost the pitcher MLB’s Pipeline scouts have ranked as their 13th overall prospect.
Sterling Sharp, 24, was selected by the Miami Marlins with the third pick of the Rule 5 Draft earlier this afternoon, after the Nats left the right-hander unprotected when they chose not add him to their 40-Man roster after a 2019 campaign in which the 2016 22nd Round Draft pick posted a 3.99 ERA, a 2.59 FIP, 14 walks, and 45 Ks in nine starts and 49 2⁄3 innings on the mound for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.
Sharp missed time with an oblique injury this past season, but returned to make nine starts at Double-A (along with three starts between the Gulf Coast and the NY/Penn Leagues), and went out to the Arizona Fall League where he put up a 1.50 ERA over six starts and 24 IP.
Sharp, the MLB Pipeline scouts wrote this year, “... is looking like a Draft steal after making steady progress in each pro season en route to his first taste of Double-A in 2018.”
“Sharp generates some of the best ground-ball rates in the Minors with a heavy low-90s sinker and a quality changeup,” MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis wrote in a preview of this year’s Rule 5 Draft.
“[Sharp] missed time with an oblique injury in 2019, but posted a 3.53 ERA, 65 percent grounder rate and 52 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings between three levels, then pitched well in the Arizona Fall League.”
Sharp was the only prospect taken from the Nationals’ system in the Major League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
In return for selecting Sharp, the Marlins must pay the Nationals $100,000, and the right-hander, like all players selected in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft, must remain on Miami’s 26-man big league roster for the duration of the 2020 season or be offered back to Washington for $50,000.
The Nationals passed on the opportunity to select any players in the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
In Round 1 of the Triple-A phase, the Nationals selected shortstop Manuel Geraldo out of the San Francisco Giants’ organization, taking the 23-year-old infielder after a 2019 campaign in which the switch-hitting prospect put up a .255/.298/.371 line with of 22 doubles, nine triples, five home runs, and 18 stolen bases at High-A in the Giants’ minor league system.
The Chicago Cubs selected infielder David Masters, a 2013 14th Round pick by the Nationals who put up a combined .256/.345/.466 line with 17 doubles and 13 home runs in 82 games and 305 PAs between the New York/Penn League’s Auburn Doubledays, High-A Potomac Nationals, and Double-A Harrisburg Senators, later in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft.