A 14th-round pick in 2013, Schultz has done two things very well throughout his short pro career – strike guys out and limit his hits allowed. Unfortunately for him, he has not be nearly as successful at limiting his walks allowed or at getting ground-balls. Schultz has a free and easy delivery with plus velo on his fastball (93-to-95 mph) to go with a serviceable breaking ball. When he is on, he can be overpowering, and generate significant swing and miss. Since being drafted, he has averaged 11.1 Ks/9 and 7.1 Hits/9, including 11.2 Ks/9 in 2015, his first season at Double-A, and 10.6 Ks/9 thus far in 2016, his first taste of Triple-A action. He has also put up a .226 BAA through 108.1 IP for Durham, up slightly from the .216 mark he posted for Montgomery last year.
So how is a 25-year-old that’s putting up those kind of numbers not in the big leagues for a last place club AND not even on the 40-man roster? Well, the career 5.2 BB/9 is the first big clue. He has made some improvements in 2016, posting a 4.5 BB/9 over 108.1 IP down from the 6.0 BB/9 through 135 IP last season – but after seeing him throw against Toledo on 7/27, it is apparent that while he has increased the number of strikes he is throwing, the number of quality strikes is still shockingly low. He was behind in the count often, and it took him 108 pitches to get through 5.2 IP. He showed that he has the stuff to battle back from bad counts – he struck out seven over that span – but he hit his spot maybe one out of every four pitches, missing up in the zone often with the fastball where the pitch tends to flatten out and not have the same life it gets when down.
He is a strong kid, well put together with fairly simple mechanics. He doesn’t require a ton of effort to generate the velocity and held his velo well late into his outing. That arm strength carries over to the breaking ball, where he generates some tight spin and occasional hard finish. While he showed above average with the curveball, it was wildly inconsistent, and he really had to back off in order to throw it for strikes.
So even though he is getting old to be considered a prospect, he didn’t sign until he was 22 and he has moved moved up a level each year since then. It has not been the rapid rise you hope for with a college arm, but in the 14th round, the arm strength alone should be seen as a win for the organization. That is not to say that he is ready to be thrown into the fire in Tampa Bay, but if the walks continue to go in the right direction and he can at least show the better breaking ball for strikes, I believe that he will be able to replicate the swing and miss at the next level. Ultimately I think he is a bullpen guy, and the sooner he makes that move the better. He has match-up stuff and in shorter looks the below-average command may be slightly less of a factor. While he is yet to be put on the 40-man, I would not at all be surprised to see Tampa Bay add him in September to get a better feel for what they have going into 2017.