In the second round of the MLB Draft, the Cleveland Indians selected Southern Miss right hander Nick Sandlin.
Sandlin is a very interesting pitcher and a very interesting selection. MLB Pipeline ranks Sandlin as their 164th best prospect, so one could be forgiven for thinking this pick was a bit of a reach. But there’s some potential upside here.
For the first two years of his college career, Sandlin was a reliever, and he recorded 20 saves in that time. This year, he moved to the starting rotation and was able to dominate. So he has a future as a starter, but experience at the back end of a bullpen.
What’s odd about Sandlin is his use of multiple arm slots. Most pitchers will want to stick with one arm slot for every pitch, otherwise hitters might be able to figure out what pitch is coming based on the arm slot. He’ll range from an overhand slot, to a sidearm motion, to a low three-quarters slot. And he has success with all three.
That’s likely to change as he faces better competition in the minor leagues. He can hit 94 MPH on the gun and has some pretty good offspeed pitches. He has very high spin rates on those offspeed pitches which helps his offspeed stuff, but Trevor Bauer may not be the biggest fan.
At 5’11” and without great stuff, Sandlin appears destined for the bullpen, despite possessing four pitches in his arsenal. Harold Reynolds said on MLB Network that the Cleveland Indians should throw him in the bullpen right away.
A fast moving reliever
College relievers are known as the fastest risers through a minor league system and are generally the first of a draft class to reach the big leagues.
Could the Indians have taken a slight reach on Sandlin with the hopes that he can be ready to join the big league club in September? It’s possible. It’s not likely, but it’s possible.
They know that the big league bullpen has been terrible and acquiring relievers at the deadline could be expensive as other teams are well aware of the Tribe’s desperation for bullpen help. So why not grab a guy in the draft to bring up for the pennant race?
Again, this is pure speculation on my part, but with three high school players going in the team’s first three picks, going with a college reliever in the second round is very interesting to say the least. We might see him in Cleveland soon, but the odds of that happening are still very slim, so don’t get your hopes up, but just keep an eye on Sandlin.
The Cleveland Indians will go through rounds 3-10 of the MLB Draft tomorrow starting at 1 PM.