Nevada's Owen Sharts was the first local player taken in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft as a 13th-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Sharts was a top-150 prospect in the 2018 draft but opted to go to college after being selected in the 32nd round by the Texas Rangers, who tried to sign Sharts as a late-round draft pick. He spurned major offers to try and boost his stock and get the college experience by enrolling at Nevada.
A 6-foot-2, 190-pound right-handed pitcher, Sharts had elbow surgery in the middle of this season but the Pirates are banking on his ceiling and signability coming off the elbow injury. Sharts could return to college as he has two more years of eligibility remaining with the Wolf Pack.
During his redshirt junior season in 2021, Sharts was 2-1 with a 5.12 ERA, striking out 35 batters while walking 32 in 31.2 innings. Sharts got off to a strong start to the season (3.20 ERA in his first four starts) before two poor outings to end the year (8.25 ERA in his last two starts). He last pitched April 3 against Air Force before being shut down for the season.
A native of Simi Valley, Calif., Sharts is 5-12 with a 5.55 ERA in 24 starts during three seasons at Nevada. His best season came in 2020, a year that was shut down due to COVID-19. He posted a 4.91 ERA over four starts, going 0-3. Sharts struck out 32 batters and walked seven batters in 22 innings. As a freshman, Sharts went 3-8 with a 5.96 ERA.
Sharts has until Aug. 1 to sign a pro contract or opt for college. Players drafted after the 10th round can get up to $125,000 signing bonuses before cutting into the drafting team's slotted salary pool.