South Jersey pitcher is 37th pick in MLB draft

by Marc Narducci | Jul 21, 2021
South Jersey pitcher is 37th pick in MLB draft

Left-handed pitcher Anthony Solometo, a recent graduate of Bishop Eustace, was projected in many mock drafts to be a first-day selection in Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft. There were 36 picks on the first day: 29 in the first round and then compensatory selections. When the first day ended, Solometo surprisingly didn’t hear his name called. 

But he didn’t have to wait at all when the second round began the next day: Solometo was the first player selected on Day Two, the 37th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates. A slot value for each of the selections in the first 10 rounds.

Teams can give a player more than the slot or less than the slot. The slot value for the 37th pick is $2 million; MLB.com is reporting that Solometo signed for a $2.8 million bonus. While Solometo had his heart on being selected the first day, he didn’t want it to spoil his moment when he actually was picked.

He was asked on a Zoom call by the Pirates media about what it was like to not be drafted on that first day. “I saw everybody go by, and I’ve played with a lot of these guys and I wish them all the best and for a brief second there, I was kind of wondering, what more I could have done and how do I get better, but it just made me a really hungry player, a hungry person…” Once he was drafted, Solometo said it was a huge relief and also exhilarating. “Words can’t really describe the way I was feeling and how I’m still feeling,” he said. “I am floating on cloud nine.” Solometo has a scholarship to the University of North Carolina, but it would be a surprise if he didn’t sign with the Pirates. The 6-foot-5, 218-pound left-hander was 4-0 with one save in six games this season.

He helped lead Eustace to a 21-1 record and the Crusaders were named South Jersey’s top team by NJ.com, among others. Solometo struck out 64 in 32½ innings and had a microscopic 0.22 ERA. He was the second South Jersey player selected, with Mainland right-hander Chase Petty going 26th overall in the first round to the Minnesota Twins.

It says something about South Jersey talent to have two players picked in the top 37. Solometo entertained the Pittsburgh media by telling them he was a Steelers fan growing up, which will no doubt endear him to Pirates fans. What has made Solometo so successful is that he has an insatiable desire to continue improving. “I am not a finished product and I know that and understand that,” he said, “but I am really excited to see how I can progress myself as a complete pitcher going forward.”

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Author: Marc Narducci

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