1st-round pick Schultz draws comparisons to Randy Johnson

Chicago selects RHP Peyton Pallette in the 2nd round to cap Day 1

July 18th, 2022

CHICAGO -- There wasn’t much time needed for Noah Schultz to express his euphoric feelings about being selected No. 26 overall by the White Sox in the first round of the 2022 MLB Draft.

In fact, White Sox assistant director of media relations Ray Garcia didn’t even get to the question portion of Sunday night’s Zoom for the left-handed hurling Schultz to get going.

“It’s the best night of my life,” said a smiling Schultz, wearing a White Sox cap as part of the Zoom as Garcia introduced him.

Schultz, 18, is a 6-foot-9, 220-pound pitcher out of Oswego East High School in Oswego, Ill, located 43 miles from Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. That pick has a slot value of $2,788,000, with the White Sox total bonus pool checking in at the third lowest among MLB teams at $6,289,100.

He’s committed to Vanderbilt, a strong commitment, but not strong enough to keep Schultz from pursuing his dream.

“I am part of the Chicago White Sox now,” Schultz said. “It was a great school to be committed to and everything. I loved it, but I think this opportunity is something I could not pass up. I’m excited to see what happens in the future.”

“This guy has a unique skillset. It’s an extreme talent who we think can anchor a rotation someday,” said White Sox director of amateur scouting Mike Shirley of Schultz on a late Sunday Zoom. “It’s a unique frame at 6-foot-9. He moves easy in a big frame.”

The Schultz family is an athletic one, with sisters Emily and Ashley playing softball at Stanford and Northwestern, respectively. It was his dad, Larry, who got Noah interested in baseball, but Noah is neither a Cubs nor White Sox fan, following his father’s past allegiance to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

A connection exists to the White Sox through J.J. Lally, a longtime White Sox amateur scout, who coached Schultz in the area code games over the last two years. Schultz has made six appearances with Illinois Valley in the Prospect League, going 1-0 with a 0.93 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings and just eight hits allowed. He missed most of his senior season at Oswego East due to a bout with mono and inclement weather.

“I have a four-seam fastball, a slider and a changeup,” Schultz said. “Those are three pitches that I’ve been working on and I’m confident in all of them. I’m excited to see how they can take off and become the best they can in the future.”

Peyton Pallette, a right-handed pitcher out of Arkansas who was ranked as the No. 43 Draft prospect coming into Day 1, was taken by the White Sox with the 62nd pick overall in the second round. The 21-year-old Pallette had first-round draft potential but underwent Tommy John surgery on Jan. 31.

Shirley discussed the drafting for need vs. picking the best player available conundrum during a pre-Draft Zoom call, but also stressed pitching as a priority. These two hurlers represent more long-term help, but what Shirley believes are elite additions.

“We are tickled to death to land two talents of this significance on Day 1,” Shirley said. “Major League Baseball, we are all on the same program trying to find and develop quality starters.

“Tonight, we landed two guys who have the pedigree and the stuff to pitch at the Major League level. It’s very difficult to do. These two guys offer the arsenal and makeup to be starters and answer the bell every 5 days.”

Kris Honel was the last high school pitcher selected in the first round by the White Sox in 2001 out of Providence Catholic in New Lenox, Ill, approximately 40 minutes from Oswego East. In Schultz, the White Sox have a pitcher compared in the MLB Pipeline scouting report to Randy Johnson because of his size and low three-quarters arm slot, although Schultz also has heard numerous comparisons to Chris Sale.

Those Sale comparisons are awesome ones for Schultz, who couldn’t contain his excitement to be part of the White Sox.

“My heart stopped,” Schultz said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the Major Leagues. And being drafted by the hometown team, it’s something I’ve been looking forward to my entire life. It was surreal.

“I don’t want to say I didn’t believe it, but I didn’t ever picture myself being in this situation. It’s truly a showing of all my hard work and everything paying off. It’s something that I never could have imagined. It’s a dream of mine to be able to play with the Chicago White Sox.”