BOONE — Appalachian State Baseball alum and fourth-round MLB Draft pick Jack Hartman signed Monday with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Pirates took the 21-year-old right-handed pitcher with the 108th overall pick. He was the second college senior taken in the 2020 draft and the second-highest draft pick from a Sun Belt Conference program.
Pittsburgh made Hartman the fourth-highest selection of an App State player in school history and the highest pick of a Mountaineer since outfielder/pitcher Tony Welborn went 70th overall as a third-round selection of the Montreal Expos in 1986.
Welborn played his high school baseball at East Wilkes and is currently an assistant coach with the North Wilkes baseball program.
"Jack hasn't been pitching for very long but already shows very promising stuff with a fastball/slider combination that we believe has a chance to be very effective at the professional level," Pirates General Manager Ben Cherington said in a statement. "He's a strong, physical pitcher with strong character and work ethic. We look forward to working with Jack in a Pirates uniform."
Two years ago, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Hartman was at his third junior college still trying to make a mark as an offensive-minded third baseman. With minimal pitching experience to that point in his long baseball career, he finished his sophomore season at the College of Central Florida as a reliever with intriguing potential and joined Head Coach Kermit Smith's program at App State for his final two college seasons.
Working with App State Pitching Coach Justin Aspegren, Hartman had a solid debut for the Mountaineers while throwing 21.2 innings in 2019. With increased attention from scouts and buzz over his professional prospects, he then excelled in a pandemic-shortened senior year, striking out 22 batters in 12.0 innings and posting a 3.00 ERA with a 1-0 record and league-leading four saves for an 11-6 team.
His 10 appearances were highlighted by a victory during a five-out relief effort in which he struck out four batters, including the final three, on a rainy night at No. 24 Wake Forest with lots of MLB scouts in attendance.
For the third time in the last four seasons, one of Aspegren's pupils was picked in the first 13 rounds. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected Matt Brill in the 12th round in 2017, and the St. Louis Cardinals used a 13th-round pick on Colin Schmid in 2018.