It’s already difficult enough to put a real firm prospect number on a high school pitcher, but it’s even tougher when said pitcher misses most of his recent season like Noah Schultz did with mono, not to mention another season eliminated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
James Fegan does his best to paint an origin story around this incomplete track record, talking to Schultz’s first pitching instructor, White Sox scouts, and the manager for the collegiate summer team that afforded Schultz the opportunity to establish a positive presence and some dynamite numbers before the draft.
For what it’s worth, they looked like they should when a future first-round pick faces … a bunch of guys who are not future first-round picks. Schultz allowed two runs in 19 1/3 innings, across six games, striking out 37 and walking seven. Moreover, the Sox felt they got the opportunity to see Schultz face better competition than he did in high school — largely a mixture of Division I college and junior college players — at a point where other teams might have dropped off the scent.
“It was electric from the beginning,” said John Jakiemiec, who managed the Pistol Shrimp. “What impressed me with Noah against right-handers is he doesn’t even just go straight to a changeup, but he’s got a fastball that he’s not afraid to really paint on the inside part (of the plate) and make for an uncomfortable at-bat. And then he’ll still throw that slider to the back foot of a righty and get a lot of swing-and-miss as well.”
Fegan also provides some feedback from non-Sox evaluators who provide some welcome skepticism for somebody so unknown. Here’s a case where the bad news — his low arm slot and sweeping slider scream “future reliever” — is also sort of good news, in the sense that nobody questions the arm. I suppose he wouldn’t have had a commitment to Vanderbilt if he were a complete shot in the dark.
It’s going to be a while before anybody will see him in meaningful competition, so I imagine his spot in the White Sox farm system will be highly contested as the lists emerge during the offseason.
- Yasmani Grandal split time between catcher and first base in his first rehab game, going 2-for-4.
- Leury García DH’d and went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
- Lenyn Sosa was 0-for-3 with a walk.
- Duke Ellis went 4-for-5 with a double and two stolen bases.
- Colson Montgomery was 1-for-4 with a double and a strieout.
- Oscar Colás, 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.
- Bryan Ramos went hitless in five trips, striking out twice.
- Luis Mieses went 3-for-5 with a double.
- Yoelqui Céspedes was 1-for-5 with three strikeouts and two stolen bases.
- Cristian Mena: 3 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
Winston-Salem 10, Asheville 9 (11 innings)
- Colby Smelley went 2-for-4 with a walk, a strikeout and a stolen base.
- James Beard went 1-for-3 with two walks, a strikeout and a CS.
- Jordan Sprinkle went 0-for-4.
- Brooks Baldwin, 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.