The Astros inked the last remaining unsigned player among their top 10 draft choices Thursday when third round pick and left-handed pitcher Kent Emanuel signed with the team.
“Kent is a polished left-handed starter with three solid pitches and excellent command,” Astros director of amateur scouting Mike Elias said. “He has been UNC’s ace the last two seasons and dominated in the ACC, which is one of the nation’s toughest conferences. He’s also very athletic, and we feel there is significant upside remaining with him. He immediately becomes one of our system’s most promising left-handed pitchers, so we are thrilled to have him in the fold.”
The Astros have now signed their first 14 selections in the June draft, and 31 of their 40 picks overall.
Emanuel went 11-5 with a 3.14 ERA for the Tar Heels this year and was the ACC Pitcher of the Year. His 28 career victories for North Carolina are a school record for the first three years in the program.
“It’s had to digest how exciting it is to turn baseball into a career,” Emanuel said on Thursday morning at Minute Maid Park. “I didn’t think I’d be at the big league park to sign so this is exciting.”
Emanuel’s signing was originally delayed because his University of North Carolina team advanced to the College World Series.
He said he hasn’t picked up a baseball since the College World Series so he’ll report first to Kissimmee, Florida to get back in shape and eventually report to Advanced Short Season Tri-City. The Astros’ No. 1 overall pick in the draft, RHP Mark Appel, is making his professional debut on Friday at Tri-City.
Over the summer, Emanuel has thrown close to 130 innings. He’ll probably throw only about 20 innings the rest of the year.
“It’ll be a pretty light workload,” Said Emanuel.
Elias also announced the signing of first baseman Chase McDonald, who was taken in the 13th round. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed.