06/08/11 — Phillies go after Wright

View Archive

Phillies go after Wright

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on June 8, 2011 1:47 PM

GREENVILLE -- Whether he was in the unfamiliar position of watching from the dugout early in his career at East Carolina or as an every day starter, Zach Wright never stopped working.

That commitment to constantly improving ultimately paid off.

Wright led the Pirates in home runs and slugging percentage this season, and was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies with the 211th pick overall in the 2011 Major League Baseball amateur draft on Tuesday.

A Charles B. Aycock alum, Wright played sparingly during his freshman season in Greenville, but took the opportunity to learn from older teammates. He matured and used the time to improve his defense behind the plate.

Now a staple in ECU's lineup, Wright has become one of the nation's top catchers and has been a Johnny Bench Watch List candidate each of the past two seasons.

Wright started in all 62 games this season and hit .272 with a team-high 13 home runs to go with 39 RBI. Wright led the Pirates in total bases with 118 and was fifth on the team in hits with 62. He finished the season with a .992 fielding percentage and made just four errors.

The Pirates finished 41-21 and runner-up to overall No. 1 seed Virginia in the Charlottesville Regional.

"It all started with my coaches," said Wright. "I couldn't do it without them. They've help me with everything I've ever needed. I've put in a lot of hard work and I've definitely matured a lot. One thing I kept up on is my defense.

"My offense struggles at times, but I always have my defense back there."

Wright hit a team-high 14 home runs as a sophomore in 2010 and set a new single-season record by hitting three grand slams over a five-game period.

"One thing that happened is my power really increased," said Wright. "It helped my draft stock a lot that my power just took off."

As a member of Charles B. Aycock's 2007 state championship team, Wright caught the eye of Golden Falcons' head coach Charles Davis. Davis saw in Wright the physical tools necessary to be successful at the next level.

"Physically the tools were there," said Davis. "He matured a lot and I felt like he was going to have a good college career. I knew that would open doors and playing for a successful program like ECU, that's a big accomplishment.

"He's worked for it and you always hope a kid like that gets a chance. I'm very happy for him."