After starting the season in Pittsburgh, making a spot start for Francisco Liriano, Casey Sadler hopes his consistency in Indianapolis will get him back to the majors by the end of the season.
“[The success is based on] just the normal,” Sadler said. “It is staying consistent and keeping the ball down. I’m really just trying to refine everything, makes some pitches and get better. There is nothing too specific or too drastic.”
Sadler is doing just that with Indianapolis, as he has pitched at least six strong innings in his first six starts of the season after Friday. He has a 2.50 ERA in those starts, with a 24:7 K/BB ratio. He has also done a nice job missing solid contact with a .194 BAA in 39.2 innings.
In addition, Sadler has his normal success on getting the ball down and having hitters top it into the ground. He has a 53.8% ground ball rate, and has double digit ground ball outs in his last two outings.
Much of this, Sadler credits to his arsenal of pitches and the movement that it creates.
“All three of my pitches have depth,” Sadler said. “If I keep it at the bottom of the zone, or even a little out of the zone at the bottom, guys are going to hit it into the ground.”
When watching Sadler this season, his bread and butter pitch – the two-seam fastball – has been getting even more movement than normal at times. However, he said that this is not always the best thing and something that he has been battling.
“I think that, when sometimes you see all of the movement, that is me manipulating it too much,” Sadler said. “We don’t necessarily look for drastic movement. It is the late, sharp depth that you look for. There have been some times that it has been moving a lot, but that is because I have been manipulating it too much. That is something that I am doing different on my end, and that may not be a good thing.”
However, conversely, he also said that he feels that the two-seamer has been his strongest pitch early in the campaign.
“When I get through it and trust it, it has been a little bit sharper,” Sadler said. “It has been a little later and I have been able to throw it to both sides of the plate this year, which has been nice.”
While Sadler doesn’t always get the hype that some of the top pitchers in the organization do, Indianapolis pitching coach Stan Kyles would take Sadler’s expertise every day.
“When you watch Casey throw, you can come out one outing and he may not be as impressive as some of the highly touted guys, but if you watch him the first day and then the 20th start, he is always going to be dependable,” Kyles said. “If that is not a major requirement in the big leagues, I don’t know what is. He can get the ball on the ground and pitches to contact.”
Sadler was a bullpen depth option for the Pirates last year, but moved into a bit of a “next man up” role after the season-ending injury to Brandon Cumpton. It is a role that he takes in stride and does not change his preparation much.
“[I stay ready] the same way that I did last year,” Sadler said. “They have some guys in the bullpen that are doing a great job that they have a lot of faith in. It helps focus on possibly going up and making a spot start and being ready if somebody does go down. I think that when you have done both start and relieve, you have to be ready for both. I just try to make all of my starts here and be ready when that phone call comes.”
Sadler said that his main goal this season is to build off the solid campaign last year and just refine his craft every day. However, he did admit that, with accomplishing this, the ultimate goal to again make it and then to stick at the next level.