Yankees' Prospect Strikes Out 17, Setting 2022 League-High

His career is still just getting started, but Yankees’ prospect Matt Sauer’s is looking like a potential impact big league pitcher after an absolutely dominant outing yesterday. Pitching for New York’s Double-A affiliate, the Somerset Patriots, Sauer struck out 17 hitters over just eight innings, giving up two hits and a run. The performance marked the most strikeouts for any pitcher so far this year, in the majors or minors, and the most in a minor league since 2019. The craziest part? The Patriots lost the game 4-3 in extra innings to Toronto's affiliate, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Sauer was drafted in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft. His 6’4”, 245 pound frame gives him a good chance at handling a starter’s workload. Despite undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2019, he still throws his fastball in the mid-nineties, with a slider and changeup as his secondary pitches. It was just the third Double-A appearance for the 23-year-old. He got off to a rough start in Somerset, giving up nine earned runs and striking out just three in his first start as he struggled with his control. He has struck out 28 hitters over his last two appearances, a very encouraging development for the Yankees’ brass, who will be keeping a close eye on Sauer’s growth.

With the future of the pitching rotation looking awfully shaky since the All-Star break, with poor performance and injuries leading to a sudden slump and uncertainty about who can be expected to bounce back, Sauer could be in line for a call-up next season. And if the injury bug keeps hitting the Yanks like it has been, that call-up might come as soon as September. 

© ~ Ed Pagliarini / USA TODAY NETWORK