Day three of the MLB draft occurs on a real-time conference call and ranges from rounds 11-40. With hundreds of picks being made, there were quite a few NC State players and NC State signees taken.
Eight Pack players were selected across the three days, tied for second-most in program history. Six of them, including five pitchers, were made during a busy day three on Wednesday. Head coach Elliott Avent has had 113 players get selected from his program in 23 seasons with the team.
Jason Parker, pitcher, 16th round (474th pick) to the Cincinnati Reds
Parker was the first Wolfpack pitcher off of the board, as he was drafted in the 16th round. Parker was a mainstay in the starting rotation for the Pack, starting 16 games.
He finished his season with a 4.38 ERA which is somewhat mediocre, but he was one of the leaders for the Wolfpack in some categories. He struck out the second-most batters of anyone on the roster, behind sophomore Nick Swiney, finishing the year with 70 strikeouts.
Parker also ranked second in total innings pitched, having pitched 76 innings, just behind sophomore Reid Johnston, who finished with 77.2.
Alec Barger, pitcher, 17th round (517th pick) to the Atlanta Braves
Barger did not have a great season with the Pack, as he posted a 6.14 ERA, but he did strike out 35 batters. He was taken before other Pack pitchers like Andrew Blake and Evan Justice, so the Braves must like what they see in the young arm.
Barger did flash some potential in his 2017 season when he pitched a 2.79 ERA with six strikeouts in limited appearances, and this may have bolstered his case for being drafted.
Andrew Blake, pitcher, 21st round (631st pick) to the Los Angeles Angels
Blake, a typical bullpen pitcher, played in 14 games for the Pack, including two starts. He finished the season with a 4.79 ERA and 26 strikeouts. Blake is the second Wolfpack player to be taken by the Angels in this draft, following Will Wilson on night one.
Michael Bienlien, pitcher, 24th round (712th pick) to the Detroit Tigers
Bienlien was the fourth Pack pitcher taken in the draft. He finished the season with a 6.23 ERA and a 3-1 record. He played in more games than Blake, at 19, and also started two games. Bienlien had three more strikeouts, 27, than he allowed hits, 24. He also only allowed two home runs all season, a solid number for a pitcher that pitched 21.2 innings.
Thayer Thomas, center fielder, 33rd round (1007th pick) to the Boston Red Sox
A recognizable name to Wolfpack fans, as he is a redshirt sophomore wide receiver on the football team. The talented two-sport athlete will likely return to NC State for baseball and football next season.
While the outfielder has limited at-bats and overall appearances with the team, the Red Sox were likely blown away by Thomas’ athleticism on both fields. In his games with the team, Thomas posted a .500 slugging percentage, four hits and an on-base percentage of .364 with the bat.
Evan Justice, pitcher, 39th round (1161st pick) to the Miami Marlins
Here’s another team with multiple Wolfpack alumni, having selected Evan Edwards on day two of the draft, the Marlins took teammate Justice in the second-to-last round of the draft.
Justice led the team in total appearances with 29, pitching 36.2 innings as a relief pitcher. He did post a 4.66 ERA, but most impressively he posted a 4-0 record for the Pack.
It is also important to look to the program’s future as some NC State baseball commits were also drafted and have the option to skip the collegiate level altogether. If they decide not to sign their contracts with big league clubs, they will come to NC State and be eligible again after turning 21 years old.
Blake Walston, pitcher, 1st round (26th pick) to the Arizona Diamondbacks out of New Hanover High School in North Carolina
With a first-round selection and an estimated $2.65 million pick value, it’s unlikely that Walston will ever see Doak Field, but some scouts project that he could be the first overall pick in the 2022 draft.
Choosing to go to college would be a risk but some talented high schoolers make that decision hoping their draft value will go up. Walston throws the fastball at 93 mph with a solid curve while developing both a slider and a changeup.
Andy Samuelson, pitcher, 12th round (367th pick) to the Atlanta Braves out of Wabash Valley College in Illinois
Samuelson was set to transfer to the Wolfpack next season following a solid season for Wabash Valley College. The lefty ended the season with a 2.93 era in 16 appearances, none of which were starts. Despite the 16 appearances, Samuelson only pitched 15.1 innings but was effective in those innings striking out 29 and allowing just three hits and five earned runs. The one knock on the pitcher could be that he walked 13 batters.
Noah Soles, center fielder, 19th round (572nd pick) to the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Ledford Senior High School in North Carolina
Soles finished his impressive high school season with Ledford with two home runs, three triples, seven doubles and 19 RBIs with an incredible .471 batting average.
Jose Torres, shortstop, 24th round (733rd pick) to the Milwaukee Brewers out of Calvert Hall College High School in Maryland
The 19-year-old shortstop is a notably good defender with a strong arm. At the plate, he hit .402 with 18 extra-base hits, 44 RBIs and 45 runs. Like most high school players, Torres said in The Baltimore Sun that he has a dollar amount in mind and if he doesn’t get it, he’s excited to come to NC State.