The 6-foot-9 prospect living up to early hype

May 23rd, 2023

This story was excerpted from Scott Merkin’s White Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

What were you doing at 19 years of age?

I was finishing my sophomore year at the University of Michigan, the Leaders and Best, and getting into a real groove living away from home for the first time in my life with a group of good friends.

As for my future work plans? I toyed with the idea of law school but knew I wanted to do something with sports media. I was nowhere near mature enough to handle the full-time responsibilities of a career. I hope to reach that point in the next year -- I kid.

Now, consider the story of , the White Sox top pick in the 2022 Draft and the organization’s No. 4 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. Not only did he begin his career at 18, but he started with a great deal of hoopla as a 6-foot-9 southpaw with impressive stuff and a lower arm angle upon pitch delivery.

Can you say ? ? I’ve made both comparisons in several articles, but Schultz’s first pitch for Single-A Kannapolis this season will be his first official pitch in affiliated baseball. Add on now a slowed road during Spring Training due to soreness caused by a left flexor strain, and this initial professional experience draws even greater notice.

Again, he’s only 19. It will take a couple of years for the White Sox to fully realize what they have in Schultz as he learns the game and grows into his body, trying to reach the initial projection of a top-of-the-rotation starter. So, what can they figure out about Schultz this season?

White Sox assistant general manager/player development Chris Getz gave his analysis.

“We’re talking about 6-foot-9 and a left-handed pitcher that’s very projectable,” Getz said. “So, he’s established daily routines, whether it’s been in the weight room, arm-care program, long toss, catch play, during his side sessions, the consistency of his pitches.

“He’s throwing a four-seam, a two-seam and a slider and a changeup. There’s always something to focus on. I don’t think there’s been a time that he’s been on a mound that we haven’t been impressed with what he’s capable of doing. And just like any player that’s playing this game, it’s about consistency.”

Schultz had his second live BP session Friday during extended spring camp, facing eight hitters and striking out all of them. I heard words of high praise from three or four people not even associated with the White Sox after Schultz threw two innings against the Dodgers during instructional league action in the fall and struck out four. The hype is real and well-deserved.

Remember, though, he’s only 19. When many of us are enjoying collegiate life with very few cares in the world, he’s already embarking on life under the spotlight.

“He’s been mid-90s with the slider we are accustomed to,” Getz said. “He’s attacking the zone throwing strikes, so things are trending in the right direction. As we continue to stretch him out and get him to an affiliate, get him into greater competition than what he’s experiencing right now, it’ll be very telling. We look forward to how he competes and responds to Kannapolis competition.”