There’s no such thing as too much pitching, and that applies to every level of the game. The Yankees have added a lot of pitching, exclusively from the college levels so far, in this year’s draft, and they continued doing so in the ninth round by selecting Matt Keating with the 280th overall pick.
Keating is a reliever from the University of Southern California (USC), and though he is listed as a two-way player he’s almost exclusively a pitcher going forward. Keating got just 11 at-bats in 2022, going 0-for-11 with two walks and one RBI, but he was recruited for his arm and he delivered on the mound — he posted a 3.60 ERA in 30 innings with 44 strikeouts.
In his first full year as a college pitcher, Keating flashed a breaking ball that became his bread-and-butter pitch. He displayed an ability to throw it for strikes and generate plenty of whiffs, and that sounds exactly like the prototypical reliever that the Yankees have targeted for the big-league club recently.
Another guy that checks off the boxes to have an elite breaking ball in the 2022 Draft is Matt Keating @usc_baseball— Brett Homer (@B_HOMERun2) July 14, 2022
Looks like a FB ✅
High Spin (2600) ✅
Late Downward Break (-3 to 1 IVB) ✅
Good Velo (82-83, T86) ✅
30 IP, 44 Kspic.twitter.com/eXGzqrlHOJ
Baseball America had Keating ranked 292nd, and called his breaker a potential plus pitch. They described it as having “the 12-to-6 trajectory of a curveball, but its power and depth are more like a slider.” Right now Keating’s breaker shows more like a curve, but he could perhaps benefit from picking up the whirly slider that has proliferated in the Yankees organization.
Keating is in an interesting position now, as he was committed to transferring to the University of North Carolina for next year. Now he’ll have the option to go pro instead, and the Yankees should be a tempting choice. His slot is listed at $157,900, but the Yankees should have room thanks to their previous picks to go over that mark if they need to convince him to leave school.