East Carolina featured one of the nation's deepest and most efficient pitching staffs in 2011, finishing the campaign with the nation's seventh-lowest team ERA.
Apparently, scouts were paying close attention to the dominance on the mound as five Pirate hurlers were selected last June in the MLB Draft.
Mike Wright was selected by the Baltimore Orioles early in the third round while Maness was the next member of last year's vaunted rotation to hear his name called - in the 11th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. Right-hander Shawn Armstrong was taken in the 18th round by the Cleveland Indians while Brad Mincey became a Florida Marlin 10 rounds later in the 28th. Finally, ECU's all-time leader in saves, Seth Simmons, was picked by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 40th round.
Thus far in 2012, each organization has every reason to be excited about their June selection.
Here's how Wright, Maness, Armstrong, Mincey and Simmons have fared during the early stages of their professional careers...
- One of the most highly-decorated players in East Carolina baseball history, Maness didn't skip a beat upon his arrival at the next level. He was named the St. Louis Cardinals' organizational Pitcher-of-the-Year while pitching in three different leagues. He compiled a 2-1 record in 15 games - seven of which were starts. He sported a 1.53 ERA in 53 innings of work while yielding 16 runs (nine earned) on 38 hits while walking just five and striking out 42.
- He is now a member of the Palm Beach Cardinals, the organization's A+ representative in the Florida State League. Through two starts, he carries a 1-0 record and 0.64 ERA. In 14 frames, he has surrendered two runs (one earned) on 11 hits while not issuing a free pass and striking out eight.
- The tall, lanky right-hander has been impressive through his first nine months as a member of the Baltimore Orioles family. After being promoted before the season to the Carolina League member Frederick Keys (A+), Wright has been nothing short of spectacular. He has pitched in two games (both starts) and allowed just one earned run in 11 stanzas while posting a 0.82 ERA. He has walked just two and struck out seven for Frederick.
- During his initial season as a professional, Wright pitched for three different teams, compiling a 3-2 record and composite 5.72 ERA in 12 games (eight starts).
- After becoming East Carolina's all-time leader in saves a year ago, Simmons carried that momentum into his professional career after being selected by the D-Backs last June. He is a member of the Midwest League's South Bend Silver Hawks, a Class A affiliate of Arizona. Through four appearances (all relief) in 2012, the diminutive and fiery right-hander has dominanted foes, giving up just three hits in six scoreless innings of work while walking four and striking out six.
- During his rookie campaign, he was a member of the Missoula (Montana) Osprey of the Pioneer League (rookie level). He ended the year with a 2-2 record and 4.04 ERA through 26 appearances. He earned one save while striking out batters at an eye-popping clip. He fanned 61 batters in 35 2/3 frames, an average of 15.4 punchouts per nine innings.
- The Marlins elected to use a pick on Mincey after the Wilmington, N.C., native finished the 2011 campaign with the ninth-lowest ERA in Division-I collegiate baseball. He pitched for three different affiliates last summer, finishing his first summer of work with a 1-1 record and 2.27 earned run average. He collected one save in 19 games.
- Mincey is now a member of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Marlins Class A farm team of the South Atlantic League. He has made four appearances this season and surrendered four runs (all earned) on five hits in six frames. He has walked two and punched out eight batters.
- After a late climb up the draft prospect list late in 2011, the flamethrowing right-hander has impressed the leaders within the Indians' organization. He joins Mincey in the Tar Heel State, though Armstrong finds himself as a member of the Carolina Mudcats, Cleveland's Class A+ affiliate in the Carolina League. The Mudcats play their home games in Five County Stadium, which is located in Zebulon, just over an hour-long drive from Greenville.
- Before his promotion to the Mudcats, Armstrong stood on the mound for the Lake County Captains, the club's Class A farm team. In two games for the Captains, he didn't allow a run in 3 2/3 innings and yielded just one base knock. He walked two and struck out four.
- He has only appeared in one contest for the Mudcats and continued his stellar performance as a professional. In two scoreless stanzas, he has given up just one hit and walked one while striking out a pair.
*Statistics - Baseball Reference*
Check out the '10th Inning' throughout the 2012 campaign for more extensive coverage of East Carolina Baseball.