A reader recently asked me for a quick take on Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Casey Sadler, who made two appearances in the majors earlier this year. So here it is.
Sadler was a 25th round pick in 2010 from Western Oklahoma State College. He had a good year in relief in 2011 (2.43 ERA, 57/17 K/BB in 67 innings for Low-A West Virginia), then moved into the starting role in 2012 and continued to do pretty well (3.73 ERA, 93/35 K/BB in 130 innings for High-A Bradenton). He went 11-3, 3.31 with a 67/42 K/BB in 130 more innings for Double-A Altoona in '13. Note the sharp decline in his strikeout rate, which was a caution flag.
However, the whiffs are back up this year: he has a 2.22 ERA with a 33/9 K/BB in 45 innings over seven starts for Triple-A Indianapolis. He pitched four shutout relief innings for the Pirates earlier this year and will certainly get more chances when the opportunity arises.
Sadler is a 6-4, 215 pounder born July 13, 1990. He doesn't throw particularly hard for a right-hander, ranging from 89 to 93 and averaging 91.6 (according to Fangraphs). He gets some cutting action and will mix in a traditional slider and changeup. He's not generally overpowering but he'll get some ground balls, throws strikes, and can pitch in any role. Pirates Prospects (terrific website, check it out) has some video:
Sadler is not an outstanding prospect but his versatility, ability to stay healthy, and knack for the strike zone mark him as a "sneak up on everyone" guy who could wind up with a productive career. Which I suppose is exactly what he's doing right now.