RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: July 13, 1990
Height: 6′ 4″
Drafted: 25th Round, 747th Overall, 2010
How Acquired: Draft
College: Western Oklahoma State
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Sadler was an Oklahoma State recruit. He threw 89-93 with a cutter and curve. His 2009 JC stats, especially the BB and K numbers, were impressive, but although he was the ace on a team that went 56-6, his ERA was actually above the team average and his K rate was below the average. He signed in late June.
Pitched rather sparingly for unknown reasons. He did well in July, but struggled a little in August. He only threw eight innings that month, so maybe the Pirates were concerned about his workload. For the season opponents hit .309 against him. He did have good walk and K numbers. At the time, he was throwing mainly in the upper-80s.
Sadler opened 2011 in extended spring training but joined West Virginia in mid-April. Except for one start he pitched in relief, mostly in roughly two-inning stints. He pitched decently early in the season, but starting around mid-season was lights-out.
First half: 31 IP, 32 H, 11 BB, 25 K, 1.39 WHIP, 3.48 ERA.
For the season he had a .213 opponents’ average, with a huge platoon split: left-handed batters hit .290 against him, right handers .157. This probably has something to do with the fact that he throws sidearm. I’m not sure whether that’s a new development. I do know that his velocity increased in 2011, as he was sitting around 92 and touching a little higher.
Sadler opened the season in the Bradenton bullpen, but he made a spot start in May and then shifted permanently to the rotation in June. He was surprisingly successful, posting a 3.56 ERA as a starter until he seemingly tired in August. He probably won’t be a starter over the long term. For one thing, his K rate was 5.7, compared to 8.1 as a reliever. For another, he continued to have a significant platoon split, holding right-handed hitters to a .232 average, while left-handed hitters batted .280 against him with a much lower K rate. The fact that the Pirates were inclined to keep him in the rotation for much of the year–he even led the Marauders in innings, with the help of Tyler Waldron’s and Jameson Taillon’s promotions–shows that they regard him as more than an organizational pitcher.
Sadler spent the season in the Altoona rotation, except that he missed most of July after getting hit with a line drive, and then he moved up to Indianapolis for his last start. He continued to pitch well, except the bottom fell out of his K rate. He had almost no platoon split this time. Sadler was eligible for the Rule 5 draft after the season, but the Pirates added him to the 40-man roster.
Sadler opened the season in the Indianapolis rotation and got off to a strong start, going 3-0, 1.67 in April. The Pirates called him up for brief stints in May, June and August, using him solely in relief. Out of the bullpen, his velocity was a little over 92 mph and he relied almost entirely on his slider as a secondary pitch. He didn’t have great success in the majors and didn’t finish the minor league season strongly, posting ERAs of 4.38 and 4.43 in July and August, respectively. A lot of that appears to have been BABIP-driven, as he had figures of .208 and .254 in his two best months (April and June) and .336 and .333 in the season’s final two months. For the year, opponents in AAA hit 266/308/395 against Sadler, but they batted .305 against him after June, with a .464 slugging average. He had no real platoon split. The Pirates called Sadler up for September but he threw only one inning.
Sadler is a solid, upper level pitcher who doesn’t have a great ceiling, as he’s too hittable, but he’s come a long way for a 25th round draft pick. Maybe most importantly, he can start or relieve and has two years of control left. He should be back in the Indianapolis rotation, but shouldn’t be seen in the Pirates’ rotation except as the result of injuries. Whether he can compete for a bullpen job in the majors may depend on whether he can miss more bats pitching in relief.