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Thoughts on Texas Rangers prospect Connor Sadzeck

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Hard-thrower finds niche in relief

Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers promoted right-hander Connor Sadzeck to the major leagues on August 31st. He’s already pitched in two games, throwing one shutout inning total with two walks (one intentional), one hit, and a strikeout. Sadzeck’s September will be an audition for a bullpen spot in 2019; let’s take a quick look.

Sadzeck was drafted by the Rangers in the 11th round in 2011 from Howard Junior College in Texas. Initially a starter, he was successful at first but missed all of 2014 with Tommy John surgery. He reached Double-A late in 2015 and had a solid season at that level in ‘16, but his 2017 season was problematic (6.25 ERA in 94 innings) and he switched to the bullpen for ‘18.

This has worked well: he’s got a 3.61 ERA in 42 innings between Triple-A Round Rock and rookie ball rehab work for an oblique injury, with a 53/17 K/BB.

Sadzeck is a big guy at 6-7, 240. His fastball is as intimidating at his size, 96-99 MPH with occasional 100 MPH readings. His slider was inconsistent as a starter, ranging from loopy/slurvy to hard/plus depending on the day, but in the bullpen the pitch has been more consistent and particularly tough on right-handers. Change-up development as a starter was also weak but in the bullpen he can rely on the harder stuff.

He’s 26 now, getting old as prospects go although this is less of an issue for pitchers than it is for hitters. His biggest problem has been keeping his mechanics in gear from game to game, but this has been less of an issue in shorter relief stints and he seems well-suited for bullpen work.