With their second pick of the 2017 MLB Draft, the Yankees have selected right-handed pitcher Matt Sauer from Ernest Righetti High School with the 54th overall pick. If you were left wondering why the team drafted an injured Clarke Schmidt 16th overall, this is why. The Yankees are giving this kid all of the money.
Ranked the 6th-best prospect from the state of California and Baseball America’s 28th overall player, Sauer is committed to Arizona, and he likely fell to the first round over signability issues. The six-foot-five, 210-pound pitcher was considered to be a future college arm, but after a strong senior season, he’s turned himself into a potential signee out of high school.
Over the last year, he has been absolutely dominant with a 0.98 ERA while collecting 142 strikeouts as a fastball-slider guy. His fastball has gone from 88-92 mph to 92-95 mph, reaching as high as 97. Sauer’s mid-80s slider is now a plus pitch and his mechanics have improved, however, his control could still use some work.
He proved to be a dominant pitcher thanks partially to his funky delivery that adds some deception. However, if he wants to succeed at the next level, he will have to add a third pitch. Mechanical concerns and his lack of a full arsenal could ultimately put him in the bullpen, but we’re no where near there yet.
As the 54th overall pick of the draft, Sauer is valued at $1,236,000, though it might take more to keep him away from a program like Arizona. Schmidt will likely not see the money his slot values him at because of his arm injury, so that extra money will be used to line the pockets of Sauer. Hopefully they can make this happen and ensure that this whole plan was worth it.