From Crusader to Pirate: Solometo signs deal with Pittsburgh

Bishop Eustace grad was drafted 37th overall in 2021 MLB Draft earlier this month

As the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 37th overall pick in the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft, Bishop Eustace graduate Anthony Solometo knows what kind of player his new ball club has in him.  

“I think they drafted the hardest working kid in the world and a guy that has the most determination to be the best he can be,” said Solometo.

And when it comes to what he wants to accomplish during his career?  

“I want to be the best player of all time,” Solometo added.

The hard-throwing lefty isn’t short on confidence, and while speaking with South Jersey Sports Weekly, he said he couldn’t be more excited to get his professional baseball career started.

During senior year, the 6-foot-5, 215 pound pitcher went 4-0 through 32 and a third innings, striking out 65 batters for a 0.22 ERA while also earning first  All-State honors. The Sicklerville native signed with the Pirates for $2.8 million on July 20, before flying to Bradenton, Florida, to join his new team at spring training Going into the draft, Solometo was rated the No. 17 prospect by MLB Pipeline and was expected to potentially go in the first round by several mock drafts. During the winter before his senior season, Solometo said he spoke with numerous teams, including the Pirates, through virtual introductory meetings.

But once the season started, Solometo was able to tune out the noise of potential draft boards and speculation and instead focus on a final season with his teammates at  Eustace.

“Once that was over with, I didn’t hear much from teams other than seeing them come and watch me play, and it was up to me to make the most of those moments,” said Solometo. “All season long, I wasn’t thinking after every game like, ‘Oh my God, I’m improving my draft stock.’ It was never about that for me.”

It was a different story once his senior year ended.

“Once there was no more baseball to be played and I couldn’t do that to take my mind off it; the anticipation started to really get to me,” said Solometo.   

Solometo, eager to have a team give him a chance, became aware about two minutes before the selection was broadcast live that he would be a Pittsburgh Pirate and be announced as the first pick of day two of the draft.

“I was just excited about the idea of getting drafted at some point during that day,  and I was made aware a few minutes beforehand that the Pirates wanted me the most. And it brought a huge smile to my face,” Solometo recounted. “After I finally heard it on the TV, it all felt so real so fast.”

Going into the draft, Solometo hadn’t settled on a specific team, but his destination ended up being a city on the far side of Pennsylvania, with a team he had been a fan of while growing up.

“I was known as a big Steelers fan growing up,” Solometo noted. “I never cared too much about hockey, so the Flyers and Penguins beef doesn’t matter much to me. But I’ve always loved the Pirates history and the Steelers in general growing up, so I’m super excited to be a part of the Pirates organization and Pittsburgh as a whole.”