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Pirates Prospect Profile: Thomas Harrington Has Come Long Way in Short Time

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Thomas Harrington, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pirates prospects

Thomas Harrington has come a long way from his days as a high school pitcher in Sanford, N.C.

The right-hander had no scholarship offers from Division I programs during his senior year. He ended up going to Campbell University as a walk-on.

Three years later, including redshirting as a freshman, Harrington was good enough to be selected in the supplemental first round of the 2022 amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Less than two years since the draft, Harrington has emerged as a top prospect.

Baseball America ranks Harrington, who is now pitching for Double-A Altoona, as the Pirates’ No. 6 prospect.

“My body was just immature going into college,” Harrington said. “I never really hit the weight room hard in high school. So, I finally started to hit the weight room once I got to college, and I blossomed. So, yeah. I’m definitely what you would call a late bloomer.”

Harrington grew into a 6-foot-2, 185-pound star pitcher at Campbell. He became good enough to receive a $2.05 million signing bonus from the Pirates.

It is not as though Harrington never felt professional baseball was out of reach. However, he also knows it’s a pretty good story for a scrawny high pitcher to grow into the 36th overall pick in the draft.

“It’s definitely cool,” Harrington said. “You always believe you can do it but until it becomes a reality you really don’t know. It’s definitely a cool experience but I couldn’t have done it without those guys at Campbell – the coaches, the staff, my teammates – all helping me grow. They really helped me figure out who I am on the mound and who I want to be.”

What the 22-year-old Harrington has become is an intriguing starter with a three-pitch mix.

His fastball sits at 93 mph, but it has a high spin rate. He also locates it to all parts of the strike zone, and the pitch has deception because of his slinging-type delivery.

Harrington complements the fastball with a sweeping slider and an improving changeup.

Harrington is 7-6 with a 3.28 ERA in 29 minor-league starts over two seasons. He has allowed 118 hits in 137.1 innings while striking out 158 and walking 43.

Harrington missed the first five weeks of this season with a strained shoulder, delaying his debut until May 7 with Low-A Bradenton. He has since started twice for Altoona. Overall, he has pitched 10 scoreless innings, allowed only one hit and struck out 12.

“The biggest adjustment to pro ball has just been the schedule,” Harrington said. “The schedule is just slammed packed and you’re throwing and pitching a lot more so that was a big adjustment period for me as well as just the competition. Everyone is so good, everyone is such a good hitter, and everyone has so much information on you coming into a game and the gameplan is so much more extreme than in college.

“My goal is just to get better at something every single day and have focus every single day and just let my ability grow from there. I’m hoping to keep competing at a higher level and see where it takes me.”

It has already taken the one-time walk-on far.

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