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Four NC State junior pitchers sign with MLB teams

Parker, Barger, Blake, and Bienlien forgo final year of eligibility to begin professional baseball careers

Chris Baird,

As expected, the four NC State junior pitchers who were selected in this year’s MLB Draft have elected to - wisely - forgo their final years of eligibility and sign professional contracts with the respective teams that drafted them.

Jason Parker (Cincinnati Reds) and Andrew Blake (Los Angeles Angels) both signed on June 11. Alec Barger (Atlanta Braves) signed on June 17. Michael Bienlien (Detroit Tigers) was the last of the four to sign, inking his deal on June 23.

Via the Draft Tracker, the indication is that each player signed for $125k, but that is likely a placeholder figure until actual signing bonuses are announced. For those wondering, $125k is the max amount for which a team can sign a player drafted after the 10th round without it counting against their Top 10 round slot pool. MLB Draft signing bonus structures are weird.

The signing of the four junior pitchers definitely hurts the returning depth of the pitching staff for next year. Parker led the team with 16 starts this year, starting every game he appeared in during his only season in Raleigh. For a program that couldn’t find a third starter all year, losing one of the two established starters hurts severely. While the Wolfpack should return their top seven bullpen arms in terms of appearances, Barger, Blake, and Bienlien combined to throw 71.2 innings over 50 appearances, including 8 starts.

There are still two unsigned NC State draftees: RS-FR OF Thayer Thomas and SO LHP Evan Justice. Neither Thomas or Justice are expected to sign as they can each vastly improve their draft stock with another season of college play, plus they won’t be seniors so they’ll maintain their financial leverage in the 2020 draft.