In the 11th round of the 2018 draft the Yankees selected Tanner Myatt, a right-handed pitcher with one of the best arms in the system. Standing tall at 6-foot-7, the strong armed pitcher has held hitters to a .173 batting average against in his first two professional seasons. Tanner recently took the time to talk with Pinstripe Alley about his background and what he has been working to improve during 2020.
Baseball played a big role in Myatt’s life growing up as the youngest of three brothers in Spring Lake, NC.
“I come from a baseball family, we didn’t really play any other sports. We kind of eat, sleep and play baseball,” Myatt said. “The middle brother, he and I grew up and played on the same teams together in high school.”
As a Yankees prospect he has one of the strongest arms in the system, routinely throwing in the upper 90s on the radar gun. It comes as a surprise, then, that Tanner did not think playing professionally was a real option until later in high school.
“I didn’t think much about professional baseball, I thought only aliens played that. I’d never met anyone who played professional baseball,” Myatt recalled. “I played with my friends growing up and they were like ‘you should start to take this serious, you’ve got something special.’”
As his performances improved, Myatt was discovered by college scouts and a future in baseball started to seem like a reality.
“My junior year of high school, my velocity was getting a little bit higher, and higher everyday,” Myatt said. “Before too long I had a couple of colleges coming to watch me.”
Myatt picked Florence-Darlington Tech, a Junior College within driving distance from his hometown to continue his career.
“JUCO by itself, I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Myatt said. “It taught me a lot about maturity and how to be a young man... it was kind of humbling at the same time. Those guys at JUCO, they are all grinders. They all want to make it to a Division-1 school or get drafted.”
That level of competition left an impression on Myatt.
“There are a ton of kids, just like I, who didn’t see themselves at a Division-1 school,” Myatt said. “They didn’t think they had the talent or just grades in general. A lot of kids go to Junior Colleges. I’ve seen just as good a player at a JUCO as at a Division 1 school.”
Heading into the 2018 MLB draft Myatt had a commitment to the College of Charleston (S.C.) in his back pocket, but was ready for the challenge of turning pro.
“I had my mind already set. Its not that I didn’t like school, because I did, I was just ready to take the opportunity. You never know, you could have a career ending injury if I go to college” Myatt said. “The Yankees scout, Billy Godwin at the time, I had talked to him but kind of like the other scouts, I didn’t know who it was going to be. I’m glad it was the Yankees.”
When he arrived with the Charleston RiverDogs in 2019, he realized he was surrounded by a talented group of arms that would push each other to reach the next level.
“There was a lot of flames. Honestly, all those guys are good,” Myatt said. “It made you step up to be a better pitcher, because if you wanted the ball once a week you had to perform. Luis Gil, Luis Medina, Vizcaino they are good, Matt Sauer too.”
Myatt’s 2019 season ended a little early as he battled shoulder inflammation in mid-August. He was ready to go for the 2020 season before the COVID pandemic shut down spring training and resulted in the cancelation of the minor league season.
“I was excited, it was going to be a big year for me,” Myatt said. “It was unfortunate, but everybody is in the same waters right now. Just capitalize on the time we have.”
The Yankees pitching coaches have given Myatt some specific things to improve during his time away from the Yankees facilities.
“Just to harness in on the control,” Myatt said. “Nobody has to tell me to throw hard. Repetitive mechanics is number one, because if you can repeat it you can figure out what’s going on. I’ve been on my lower half. Trying to not land so much across my body. I’m fighting myself to get back over to glove side.”
Myatt has access to a state of the art facility to work out at in North Carolina and is seeing results from his efforts.
“BYoung Physical Therapy facility, they have the 3D pitching analysis and all the Qualisys motion capture machines,” Myatt said. “From the bullpens I’ve thrown so far, I think I’m heading in the right direction. I can’t say for sure right now, but I think its better than where I was.”
Despite losing a full season to the pandemic, Myatt still has his expectations on the ultimate goal for any prospect.
“Master your craft, try to get better and make it to the big leagues,” Myatt said. “I not going to put a date on myself and say be in the big leagues by the end of the year because everybody wants that, but to get better everyday and be the best pitcher I can be.”
Tanner Myatt has a very high ceiling if he harnesses his command and control moving forward. Depending on the progress he shows this coming spring, he could start the 2021 season with either Low-A Tampa or High-A Hudson Valley. Myatt has the type of arm talent that could move fast through the system if it all comes together this coming season.