Continuing our series of 2017 MLB Draft Profiles, we turn back to the high school pitcher ranks with a look at right-hander Matt Sauer, whose stock has been rising in recent weeks.
Sauer is a prep right-hander from Ernest Righetti High School in Santa Maria, California. He has appeared in numerous showcases dating back to 2014, drawing the attention of pro scouts and college coaches.
Last summer he looked like a projectable and promising pitcher who needed to fill out physically and refine his secondary pitches, making it very plausible he would fulfill his University of Arizona commitment. However, he’s made enough progress this spring to move up into first round consideration, making it less likely he’ll wind up with the Wildcats.
Born January 21st, 1999, Sauer is a right-handed hitter and thrower. He was listed at 6-4, 195 a year ago but is now listed at 6-5, 210.
Sauer’s fastball has picked up as he’s filled out, going from 88-92 MPH last year to 92-95 with peaks at 96-97 this season. He’s polished up his slider, which is now a plus pitch. Although his control still needs some work, his mechanics are more consistent than a year ago and have led to command gains. His delivery adds deception to his pitches, and he has a strong mound presence with a good work ethic.
The fastball and slider have been good enough to dominate the prep ranks but he’ll need something softer to start at higher levels, so adding another pitch is the next thing on the agenda. He has used both a curveball and a change-up as a third pitch with the change showing the more promise of the two, though it will need considerable work. Some observers believe his mechanics are a bit stressful and could make him more suited for bullpen deployment than starting.
If the off-speed stuff improves Sauer could end up being a number two or strong number three starter, granted the usual caveats about pitcher injury risk. He was viewed as a possible third round or fourth round pick six months ago but has moved firmly into first round consideration. Signability will become a risk again if he falls past the second round but that seems unlikely given the gains he’s made this spring.