Jason Parker, Alec Barger, Andrew Blake, Michael Bienlien, Thayer Thomas, and Evan Justice get their names called on the third day of the 2019 MLB Draft.
After one NC State player got drafted each of the first two days of the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft, six Wolfpack players got selected during the final 30 rounds to complete the draft proceedings.
Round 16 (474th overall): Jason Parker — Cincinnati Reds
In the 16th round of the draft, the Cincinnati Reds selected junior right-handed pitcher Jason Parker at No. 474 overall.
After two seasons at Louisburg JC, Parker compiled a 4-4 record as the Wolfpack’s Friday starter with a 4.38 earned run average. Parker added 70 strikeouts on the year with 30 walks and 11 hit batsmen in 76 innings on the mound.
Parker’s best performance in the red and white came on March 15 against Florida State when the New Bern, N.C. product struck out 10 Seminole batters in seven shutout innings en route to the win in the Pack’s 16-0 decimation of FSU.
Round 17 (517th overall): Alec Barger — Atlanta Braves
One round after Parker was removed from the board, junior right-hander Alec Barger was drafted by the Atlanta Braves at No. 517 overall.
Like Parker, Barger was also a junior-college transfer. After leaving Polk State CC, Barger pitched 29-1/3 innings in 17 appearances for the Pack with six starts. The Savoy, Ill. native earned a 2-2 record on the season with a 6.14 ERA, 35 strikeouts, and 11 walks.
Barger’s talents were on full display on March 26 against Elon when the righty struck out 10 Phoenix batters in five innings of work as State powered its way to a 21-2 victory.
Round 21 (631st overall): Andrew Blake — Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
After watching fellow teammate Will Wilson get picked up by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the first round, junior right-handed pitcher Andrew Blake found out two days later that he would join him in the organization as the Angels drafted him in the 21st round.
Like Parker and Barger before him, Blake also made his way to Raleigh by way of junior college. With his tenure at Pitt CC behind him, Blake hurled 20-2/3 innings in a Wolfpack uniform, earning a 1-0 record in 2019. The Lewisville, N.C. right-hander also had a 4.79 ERA, 26 strikeouts, and 11 walks in his 14 appearances for NC State.
Arguably Blake’s best performances came against Virginia on March 29 and against Wake Forest on April 18. Blake shut out the Cavaliers in 4-2/3 innings with six strikeouts in a game that ended with a 4-3 loss for the Wolfpack. Blake matched his season-high six strikeouts against the Demon Deacons, but his 2-2/3 innings of work in State’s 7-3 loss were blemished with one run allowed.
Round 24 (712th overall): Michael Bienlien — Detroit Tigers
A member of the 2017 ACC All-Freshman Team, junior right-hander Michael Bienlien saw his named called at No. 712 overall when the Detroit Tigers picked him up in the 24th round.
Bienlien compiled a 9-7 record in his three years with the Wolfpack, striking out 96 batters and walking 53 whilst recording a 5.16 ERA in 53 appearances with 19 starts.
The Chesapeake, Va. native pitched arguably his best game in his first ACC start two years ago. On April 2, 2017, Bienlien held Notre Dame to one run on five hits and one walk while striking out three Irish batters in seven innings to help seal the Wolfpack’s 9-2 victory in South Bend, Ind.
Round 33 (1,007th overall): Thayer Thomas — Boston Red Sox
Only seeing action in 14 games in 2019, redshirt freshman outfielder Thayer Thomas got drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 33rd round at No. 1,007 overall.
Thomas went a combined 4-for-18 at the plate in his 14 games in which he saw action this season with a home run, three runs batted in, and four runs scored. Thomas is also known for his prowess on the gridiron as the Wake Forest, N.C. product caught 34 passes for 383 yards and three touchdowns in his first season of eligibility as one of the Wolfpack’s wide receivers.
On the diamond, Thomas’ best game came against Pittsburgh on March 9 when the Pack pummeled the Panthers, 21-3. Coming in as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh, Thomas crushed the second pitch he saw over the wall in center for his first career home run. One inning later, Thomas came to the plate again and hit an RBI double down the right-field line.
Round 39 (1,161st overall): Evan Justice — Miami Marlins
Like Evan Edwards a day ago, sophomore southpaw Evan Justice saw the Miami Marlins call his name in the later stages of the draft at No. 1,161 overall in the 39th round.
Justice has a perfect 6-0 record as a member of the Wolfpack but with a 5.60 ERA. The Richmond, Va. product also has 64 strikeouts and 33 walks in his 64-1/3 innings on the mound.
His top performance of 2019 came in the Pack’s game against Kent State in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Justice shut out the Golden Flashes in his four innings of work with five strikeouts and only four hits allowed in NC State’s 3-2 win in extra innings.
Photo by Liz Condo, Atlantic Coast Conference