Yankees MLB Draft 2017: Yankees select high-upside high school pitcher Matt Sauer with second round pick

With the 54th pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, the New York Yankees have selected RHP Matt Sauer out of Righetti High School in California. Sauer was ranked the 28th best prospect in the draft by both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America. Sauer is commonly regarded as having some of the highest potential of any high school arm in this year's draft.
Photo Credit: Scott Smith

At 18-years-old, the 6’4,” 195-pound right-hander was committed to the University of Arizona, but the Yankees are going to likely pay over the $1,236,000 slot value to ensure they sign the high schooler who has some serious upside.

Sauer put together a dominant senior season going 9-1 with a video-game type 0.98 ERA. He also struck out an astonishing 142 batters in 78.1 innings pitched. In his high school career, Sauer went 25-9 with a 1.35 ERA and 324 strikeouts in 222.1 innings.

After selecting a lower-valued Clarke Schmidt with their first overall choice, it was expected that the Yankees would look into high schoolers with signability and major upside in the following rounds. Sauer fits that mold.

With his size and mechanics, Sauer currently sits between the 91-95 MPH range with his fastball, but it has reached 97 MPH this spring. He also throws an 87 MPH slider that he throws deceptively to get swings and misses. His changeup went underused in high school as he didn’t need it much against his competition, but that is something the Yankees will likely focus on developing in the system.

Sauer has his doubters, as some see him as a future flamethrowing bullpen arm, but others see him as a mid-line rotation workhorse in the years to come.

The Yankees went with the safe pick in the first round, and they are going with a high-risk, high-reward high school arm in the second round. This is a good draft strategy for the Yankees because if Schmidt doesn’t work out, they can shift their focus on developing Sauer, and vice-versa.

Article by: Chad Raines


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