The No. 8 Nats prospect got to pitch at Nats Park during the club’s preparation for the 2017 National League playoffs. Right-hander Sterling Sharp and a few of his minor league teammates helped Nats batters get ready for the Chicago Cubs with simulated games. Sharp, at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds, was a 22nd-round selection in the 2016 draft out of Drury (Mo.).
Sharp, 23, pitched for Double-A Harrisburg in 2018, going 6-3 in 13 starts with a 4.33 ERA in 68-plus innings. An outstanding athlete, Sharp was recruited to play basketball in college.
Baseball America national writer Carlos Collazo likes the move up the chain Sharp has made this past season, and looks to Sharp as a possible back-of-the-rotation starter in years to come. Sharp has made 57 starts (out of his 63 games) in the Nats system since 2016.
“He’s one of the guys that maybe has taken one of the biggest jumps,” Collazo noted. “Obviously, he wasn’t in our top 10. I’m not even sure we ranked him in the top 30 prior to this year. Drafted in 2016. With Sharp what stands out with him is just exceptional athleticism.”
MLB.com did not have Sharp in its top 30 in 2017, but ranked him at No. 11 in 2018.
“He might not have a plus tool in a sense of his pitches or his control at this point, but his athleticism is elite,” Collazo added. “He was recruited to play basketball at the college level and could’ve played there, so I think he’s probably the most athletic guy in this entire system. Maybe Victor Robles has an argument there as well, but we went with Sharp.”
Collazo says Sharp’s fastball is 90-92 mph, but has a real good boring action down to the lower half of the strike zone, which makes it difficult for hitters to loft. Sharp features the fastball, slider and changeup.
“He’s a fastball, slider guy, kind of a sinking fastball,” Collazo said. “With his body control and the groundball rate that he has, and a really exciting arm, in my mind, and I heard nothing but good things about Sharp when I talked to scouts and Washington officials this year.”