Tanner Myatt | RHP
Myatt, 20, grew up in Spring Lake, North Carolina, near Fayetteville and Fort Bragg. He attended Overhills High School and pitched to a 2.75 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 18 walks in 43.1 innings as a senior, and also hit .312/.365/.395 in 52 plate appearances. Baseball America (subs. req’d) did not rank Myatt as one of the top 500 prospects for the 2016 draft and he went unselected out of high school.
After going undrafted Myatt headed to Florence-Darling Technical College in South Carolina. He put up a 3.76 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 16 walks in 26.1 innings as a freshman. Myatt again went undrafted in 2017 — he wasn’t among Baseball America’s (subs. req’d) top 500 draft prospects — and, as a sophomore, he threw 30 innings with a 1.89 ERA and 39 strikeouts against 20 walks. He made four starts and ten relief appearances.
Baseball America (subs. req’d) did not rank Myatt among their top 500 prospects for the 2018 draft, though they did rank him the 16th best prospect in South Carolina (subs. req’d). The Yankees selected Myatt with their 11th round pick (337th overall) last summer, making him the highest draft pick in Florence-Darling history. Myatt leveraged a transfer commitment to the College of Charleston into a $147,500 bonus. Every dollar over $125,000 given to a player taken after the tenth round counts against the draft pool, so Myatt counted as $22,500 against the pool.
“We were extremely excited to be able to select Tanner in the 11th round,” said scouting director Damon Oppenheimer after the draft. “He has a big arm and is an extremely uncomfortable at-bat for right-handed batters. We believe he has a high ceiling and look forward to having our player development staff help him reach it.”
After signing Myatt was assigned to the rookie Gulf Coast League, where he had a 6.06 ERA (5.07 FIP) with 22 strikeouts and nine walks in 18.1 innings. That works out to 30.8% strikeout rate and a 10.8% walk rate. He made five starts and four relief appearances. Myatt closed out his regular season with one appearance for Short Season Staten Island, striking out two and walking two in two scoreless innings. He then participated in Instructional League after the season.
Myatt is certainly a pitching prospect you can dream on. The kid stands 6-foot-7 and 220 lbs. and he came out of college with a fastball that averages 96-99 mph and touches 101 mph. According to Shaun Savarese, Myatt started training at a local pitching biomechanics lab (N.C. Biomechanical) during the summer between his sophomore and junior years of high school. I reckon that helped him develop his premium arm strength.
In addition to the velocity, Myatt’s fastball has explosive life through the strike zone, so it plays even better than the radar gun reading. Add in the fact he’s releasing the ball that much closer to the plate thanks to his height, and Myatt’s heater is a truly elite offering. He pairs it with a promising curveball and changeup, the former of which has flashed out-pitch potential. Myatt also threw a cutter in college but it seems it is no longer part of his repertoire.
Because he’s so big and his delivery can fall out of whack, Myatt does have trouble throwing strikes, and that is his primary development goal going forward. That and improve his curveball and changeup. Firm up the delivery and learn how to get the ball over the plate consistently. Given the quality of his fastball and overall stuff, Myatt does not need to develop above-average command (it would be cool if he did). He’ll get swings and misses and weak contact simply by being around the strike zone.
I expect Myatt to begin this coming season in Extended Spring Training for three reasons. One, he’s a big dude who needs mechanical refinement, and ExST is the best place to do that. Two, Myatt doesn’t have much pitching experience. From 2015-18, he threw 153.2 total innings between high school, college, and pro ball (plus a handful more in Instructs). His career high is the 48.1 innings he threw between college and his pro debut last year. I can’t see the Yankees throwing him right into full season ball. And three, Myatt’s still pretty young. He doesn’t turn 21 until May. Given all that, ExST to start with an assignment to one of the short season leagues in June makes the most sense for Myatt in 2019.
I knew nothing about Myatt when he was drafted and I’ve very quickly fallen in love after doing some research. I’m a sucker for big power pitching prospects and he is right out of central casting. Myatt has a long way to go between where he is now and the big leagues, but the raw tools are very impressive, and you can’t teach his size and arm strength. I’m not sure Myatt will ever develop good enough control and command to start. In short relief bursts though? He could be a monster. Myatt’s is a classic high risk, high reward type with significant upside. I’m not sure you could do much better than this with an 11th round pick and a $147,500 bonus.