One of the newest additions to the Marlins family is athletic right-handed pitcher Sterling Sharp. He began his professional career by signing with the Washington Nationals as a 22nd-round draft pick out of Drury University in 2016. He performed well enough—career 3.71 ERA in 378.1 IP, reaching as high as Double-A—to merit serious 40-man roster consideration following the 2019 season, but the Nats left him unprotected entering December’s Rule 5 Draft. The Marlins selected him with the third overall pick.
A 6-foot-3 righty, Sharp has shown that he knows his strengths and continues to develop on the mound. His athleticism is top notch for the position and I would not be surprised to see him make an excellent defensive play from time to time while on the mound. He forces batters to play his style of game when at the plate, which typically ends with the ball being hit in the dirt.
Cool nugget on new Marlin Sterling Sharp— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) December 12, 2019
He has a 60.5% ground ball rate since 2018. Out of all the pitchers with 200+ IP in the minors over that span, Sharp's GB% is 5th-highest.
His pitches to watch are the fastball and the changeup. What he lacks in velocity, he compensates for with the amount of sink that he can put on the pitch, hence the extremely high ground ball rate. The changeup is ready for the majors and will allow him to get strikeouts against both lefties and righties. Marlins fans should be looking out for the continued development of the slider or the introduction of an effective curve.
Sharp should spend most of 2020 in a swingman role while getting adjusted to the increased level of competition, but if he performs and an opening becomes available in the rotation, I expect Don Mattingly to give him the first chance to prove he belongs. If he can develop the slider into an above-average pitch, the Michigan native could stick there long term.
I was lucky enough to be able to talk to Sterling this offseason and ask him a couple questions to introduce him to Marlins fans. Overall, it was an excellent experience talking to him and he is a very down-to-Earth person who is going to be a great presence moving forward in the Miami community.
In honor of the holidays, what is your favorite Christmas present you have ever received?
Favorite Christmas present I’ve received is my hot wheels set when I was really little.
What have you been up to this offseason?
I’ve been hanging out with my now-fiancée in Boston. Staying busy with working out five days a week and I have begun starting to ramp my throwing progressions.
What are five things you could not live without?
Five things I could not live without.... my family/fiancée, baseball, video games, sleep, and chipotle
What would you like to tell Miami fans about what you are going to bring to Miami?
Fans are getting a guy who attacks, goes straight after hitters. I take pride in commanding the zone and not walking guys. I’d like to think I’m a good athlete.
Who has been your favorite teammate so far?
My favorite teammate of all time is my brother. We are four years apart so we never played with each other, but one time, they needed a player for a travel ball game. I was 14 at the time, I think, playing with 18-year-olds. He caught and I pitched. I threw a complete game to my brother. It was a pretty cool moment and one I won’t forget.
What is your favorite restaurant to eat while on the road?
Favorite road food...I have to go with Chipotle. My go-to order on the road is double chicken bowl, extra rice, no beans, hot salsa, cheese, and I eat it with the chips [laughing].
Where do you call home?
Home is Detroit, MI.
If you had to use one word to describe yourself what would it be?
Competitor. You can probably see over the offseason a lot of whiffle ball being played, ping pong, video games and it’s always for bragging rights and to talk junk to whoever I’m playing.
What was your reaction when you were selected in the Rule 5 Draft by the Marlins?
It was relief mixed with a lot of excitement, obviously. I just got to my workout facility and my boys Aaron Civale and Andrew Lysy we’re sitting next to me listening to the live feed of the draft. My name was called and it was just a lot of excitement and high fives from people around the facility.
Who has been your biggest mentor so far in your professional baseball career?
I don’t know if I can name just one great mentor I’ve had my last three seasons. All these guys I will list have been a great lead by example and also great guys to talk to and learn from on and off the field. Michael Taylor, Aaron Barrett, Edwin Jackson.
What is the most important thing to bring with you on a road trip?
Most important thing to bring on road trips is 100% my PlayStation. I enjoy playing A LOT of MLB The Show. I consider myself the best player in the league and I play Fortnite. I occasionally dabble in COD.
What five songs are in your playlist to warm up for a game?
Roddy Rich—“The Box”
Sada Baby—“Bloxk Day”
Roddy Rich—“Start wit Me”
What are you most looking forward to doing in Miami?
Most looking forward to meeting my teammates and seeing the fans out at fan fest!
Favorite current player to watch?
Favorite current players to watch pitch...I like [Luis] Castillo and [Marcus] Stroman. Hitters, [Juan] Soto and [Alex] Bregman.