DALLAS - In this series we are going to take a look at various prospects, mostly Rangers, who have a chance at helping an MLB club in some fashion over the next few years. Each week we will take a look from a scouting perspective to get a good understanding of the player’s projection and the potential value he can provide his big league club.
The right handed pitcher, Connor Sadzeck strikes an imposing figure at 6’6” 235 lbs. Sadzeck, commonly referred to as Sadz, was drafted by the Rangers in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB amateur draft due in large part to one very loud tool; he could throw in the triple digits.
He spent the larger portion of two seasons effectively mowing through hitters in short season and Low-A ball before tearing his UCL, requiring Tommy John’s Surgery. In 2015 at age 23, Sadzeck returned to the mound and over the course of two seasons has worked his way into the AA rotation and onto the list of Ranger’s top prospects.
Sadzeck is a mature full bodied player with strong legs and core that are ideal for a pitcher. Sadzeck is a fair athlete who moves well for his size with good flexibility, a loose arm, and elite arm speed.
Sadzeck, delivering from the first base side of the rubber, winds up leaning towards second base with his weight on a bent back leg. Sadz drives his body and momentum forward and has a unique exaggerated step towards third base which keeps him coiled and closed until the hips fire and his arm comes across his body at a three-quarters arm slot. The delivery, while effective at producing power and velocity, can be difficult to repeat and occasionally Sadzeck struggles to get his arm into a consistent slot and release point.
The one thing no scout doubts is Connor’s velocity; when starting his four-seamer sits at 94 and his two-seamer at 93. When Sadzeck is in relief or he’s in his last inning of work he will let loose with high 90’s velocity, topping out near 100.
Sadzeck’s four-seamer is flat and hittable if hitters are timing it and he is struggling to locate, but his two-seamer has fringe-average arm-side action and Connor effectively mixes it in to keep hitters off balance. The other concern with Sadzeck is the lack of a plus or better secondary offering to compliment the velocity.
Sadz throws a 78 mph curveball with average depth, 10 to 4 movement, and spin as well as an 86 mph slider with average glove side break and some diving action when thrown low in the zone. As a mix in, Connor will throw a changeup with good deception, but very little fade or tumbling action.
The question for Sadzeck moving forward is how consistently he can hit zones with his entire arsenal of offerings. His delivery can make it difficult for him to repeat movements and often he will be cruising through a game before losing feel for hitting spots.
Without a plus secondary to fall back on hitters are able to zone in on a straight mid-90’s fastball, which all professional hitters will take advantage of. However, when Connor decides to let loose with the velocity, hitters struggle to catch up and Sadzeck regularly dominates the inning.
While it is possible that Sadzeck can continue to refine his consistency and stick in the rotation as a future #5 starter on an MLB team, at 25 and taking up a 40-man roster spot, time is running thin for his continued development.
With his elite velocity during short stints, Sadzeck likely profiles as a low-setup reliever out of the pen. When and if Connor transition to the pen he will be almost immediately ready to overpower MLB hitters and should be helping the team this season.
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