The Pittsburgh Pirates have made a lot of over-slot signings the last few years, specifically with high school pitchers. Casey Sadler is one of the over-slot signings from the last few years, although he is one of the few that didn’t come out of high school. He was drafted by the Pirates out of the JuCo ranks in the 25th round of the 2010 draft, and given a $100,000 bonus, which isn’t huge, but is high for a 25th round pick.
The 6′ 4″, 200 pound right hander was a projectable pitcher, much like the high school pitchers the Pirates target. His stuff was good enough to put up a 3.00 ERA in 24 innings in State College last year, with a 7.9 K/9 and a 2.2 BB/9 ratio. However, he was only throwing in the upper 80s, after previously being able to get his fastball up to 93 MPH.
Sadler was moved up to West Virginia this year, where he has been pitching out of the bullpen due to the number of prospects at the level. John Dreker saw him twice this year, noting that he was throwing 86-88 MPH in the first outing in early June, but throwing 91-92, and touching 93 in his second outing in early August. So far this year, Sadler has put up a 2.35 ERA in 57.1 innings, with a 7.7 K/9 and a 2.4 BB/9. The ratios are similar to his numbers in State College, although Sadler has cut down on his hits allowed, going from 11.2 H/9 in 2010 to 7.1 in 2011. He’s been on fire lately, with no earned runs in 17.2 innings over his last nine outings, along with an 18:4 K/BB ratio. Since the start of July he has a 0.44 ERA in 20.1 innings with a 22:4 K/BB ratio, allowing just one earned run in those outings.
Sadler gets lost in the mix in West Virginia, with big bonus pitchers like Jameson Taillon, Zack Von Rosenberg, Colton Cain, and Zack Dodson. However, he’s got a projectable frame, has put up strong numbers, and as long as he throws in the 91-93 MPH range, he profiles as a legit pitching prospect. He’s a guy to watch going forward, especially if he can continue to add velocity to his frame. Odds are he profiles as a late inning reliever, best case scenario, but he’s 21 years old with good numbers this year, giving him something to build on as he moves up the ladder.