Winter camp is a way for the younger players to get some work in with the big league club before spring training begins with the goal of making the roster. The Rangers have plenty of talent in the minor league system, and interesting enough was able to keep it during the offseason amid rumors of various trade talks.
One of their top pitching prospects took part in last week’s winter camp and could find himself on the mound in Arlington in the near future. Connor Sadzeck was selected in the 11th round by the Rangers in the 2011 MLB draft. Sadzeck was known to bring the heat, reaching 100 miles per hour at times on the radar gun. Unfortunately, he missed all of the 2014 season and part of 2015 due to Tommy John surgery after tearing his UCL.
“It felt good coming back in 2015,” said Sadzeck. “The arm felt great. Of course, last year having a full season finally, it felt great down the stretch.”
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The 25-year old righty spent last season with Double-A Frisco, going 10-8 with a 4.16 ERA in 25 games for the Roughriders, 23 of those as a starter. More importantly, Sadzeck had 133 strikeouts in 140 innings pitched. He was named to the Texas League All-Star Game, striking out two in an inning of work.
“Being back and kind of having my feet wet there, it was awesome,” Sadzeck said while talking about playing in Frisco. “It’s a great place to play.”
Sadzeck’s fastball averages in the upper 90’s, and work continues with command and development of pitches. Once that’s in check, Sadzeck has “ace” stuff.
The Rangers will have competition for the fifth spot of the starting rotation once pitchers and catchers report to Surprise, Arizona next month. Sadzeck could possibly insert himself into that conversion with a good showing in spring training.
“That’s everyone’s goal,” said Sadzeck. “We all have that goal in mind. If it doesn’t happen, you hope to get up there as soon as possible. If something was to happen, you want your name to be in those conversations.”