New York Yankees Prospects: Matt Sauer

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Back in 2017, the New York Yankees selected a right-handed starting pitcher out of Righetti, California who had an impressive senior season which opened the eyes of many scouts in baseball. That starting pitcher would be Matt Sauer. Sauer has a four-pitch mix that he loves to use on the mound. He features a fastball that sits in the mid-90s, a really solid changeup, and a power curve and slider. Sauer is the kind of pitcher that is going to go right at hitters with his impressive mix. He loves to compete on the mound and is known as one of the harder workers in the organization. Sauer was only able to make two starts in 2019 before being shut down for Tommy John surgery. Prior to the surgery announcement, Sauer was known as one of the top prospects in the pitching ranks in the Yankees system after a very impressive 2018 campaign.

Good Start

Back in 2018, Sauer showed a lot of people in the New York Yankees front office why he was selected so high in the draft. In 13 starts, Sauer went 3-6 with a 3.90 ERA and a WHIP of 1.16. Sauer has a very high spin rate on all of his pitches which really showed in the amount of weak contact he was able to generate. 2018 was spent really trying to refine his secondary pitches. His slider and changeup were two pitches that Sauer really tried to work on in 2018 with his fastball and curveball already having plus potential. When 2019 started, Sauer picked right up where he left off in his two starts. Sauer went 8.2 innings only allowing two runs on six hits. While the sample size is small, there’s a lot to like when looking at Matt Sauer as a prospect.

Where to Improve

It will be interesting to see the form Sauer retains when he returns from Tommy John. Nowadays, pitchers seem to come back to form if not improve coming off the surgery, but as is the case with any operation, you never know until you see him back on the mound. If Sauer returns to form, there are several things I think he needs to look at when he returns. He needs to continue to refine his secondary offerings. With his high spin rates, he should be striking out more batters, but sometimes his secondary pitches are too easy to layoff. One of the reasons for this could be his extended arm motion which seems difficult to replicate pitch after pitch. Sauer is a big guy standing 6’4 and weighing over 200 pounds so ideally, you’d like to see him have more of a smoother delivery. Sauer has all the makeups to be a pretty good starter, but some think he will just be a serviceable innings eater. To me, it all comes down to the development of those secondary pitches. If they don’t improve much from where he is now, he’s going to slot in at the end of rotations. If he can polish them, he can work his way towards the top. Sauer is definitely a prospect I like and I’m going to be watching when he returns from TJ surgery.