Sawyer starts again in his senior season

The left-hander was taken by the Twins in the 27th round of the 2015 MLB draft.

Kaitlin Merkel

Pitcher Dalton Sawyer was one of three Minnesota players drafted in June, but he’s the only one who returned to school.
 
 
 
The Minnesota Twins picked the senior in the 27th round of the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft, but the team’s contract offer wasn’t enough for him to leave college.
 
 
“That was a really fun and cool experience overall. I was honored that the Twins would even consider me to be drafted,” Sawyer said. “[But] as far as signing goes, we just couldn’t reach an agreement that I was comfortable with forgoing my senior year of college.”
 
 
Sawyer, the only lefty in the Gophers starting rotation, is 2-0 in his two starts this season. He allowed one earned run in 11 innings in those two games, with 10 strikeouts and three walks.
 
 
Sawyer pitched six-and-one-third innings in his last start on Saturday, giving up one run on seven hits with five strikeouts in a 3-1 victory over Campbell.
 
 
“He has the potential to, night in and night out, do what he did this past weekend, where he makes his pitches well and just keeps hitters off balance,” senior second baseman Connor Schaefbauer said.
 
 
Sawyer’s development hit a rough spot in the middle of last season. He began the 2015 season in the starting rotation but missed a few starts and later moved to the bullpen due to fatigue in his arm.
 
 
“The summer before [2015], I wanted him to take the summer off, but he didn’t want to, and I don’t think he was able to train his arm properly,” head coach John Anderson said. 
 
 
The southpaw finished his junior season with a 4.53 ERA in 15 appearances, eight of which were starts. He struck out 38 batters in 49-and-two-thirds innings but also issued 32 walks.
 
 
He took the summer off after deciding to return and the rest seems to have paid dividends so far. Sawyer said he feels more confident on the mound this season, which partly goes back to a lineup that’s put up 47 runs in seven games.
 
 
“We’ve been really firing on all cylinders as far as a team between defense, offense and pitching,” Sawyer said. “Knowing that if you have a bad inning or if you don’t have your best stuff, they’re going to pick you up … is huge.”