The Yankees picked, stop me if you’ve heard this before, a right-handed pitcher with their ninth round pick in this year’s MLB Draft. Right-hander Austin Gardner from the University of Texas-Arlington missed a ton of bats for the Mavs this season.
At 6’2”, 215, Gardner is a reliever all the way. He pitched to a 2.42 ERA in 44.2 innings between the rotation and bullpen at UT-Arlington this season. Gardner struck out 11.08 batters per nine innings and walked 2.01 batters per game. His fastball sits at roughly 90 mph.
Gardner was tremendous at keeping inherited runners from scoring in 2017, coming into games this year with 22 runners on base and only allowing seven to score. As a reliever, his numbers were even better. Gardner had a 2.11 ERA out of the bullpen and a 0.69 ERA in conference play.
He pitched for Wichita State as a freshman before transferring to UT-Arlington in 2016 after spending one season in Junior College for his sophomore year. Gardner’s 2016 numbers were not nearly as sparkling as his 2017 statistics, but he seemed to really figure it out as a senior. For reference, his numbers as a junior: 9.12 ERA in 25.2 innings. Opponents batted .351 against him.
In any event, he became UT-Arlington’s go-to reliever in 2017, and he made it work. He had a great season out of the bullpen, and will look to continue that success as a reliever at the next level.