MLB Draft Profile: Noah Schultzby Alex Kielar July 12, 2022 0 comments
With the MLB Draft just days away, we continue to take a dive into the top prospects. The prep class of pitchers is pretty loaded and Noah Schultz is another left-hander to look out for. He is one of two top 50 prospects from Illinois (Owen Murphy) and is committed to Vanderbilt. Let’s look at what the tall, lanky southpaw carries with him to the rubber.
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Noah Schultz, LHP, Oswego East (IL)
Weight: 220 lbs.
Schultz is another strong left-hander in this class from the high school circuit who could sneak into the early rounds. While his commitment to Vanderbilt could hold teams back from taking him, he has the polish and physicality that will really interest teams. He didn’t pitch much his senior year but showed a lot of improvements with his pitch arsenal. Schultz is one of the more underrated prospects in the draft as I rate him as a top 20 talent, while MLB Pipeline has him ranked as the 49th prospect.
With his 6-foot-9, 220 pounds stature, Schultz has a lot of similarities to Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. He also answered a lot of the questions about his stuff this past season, improving his velocity which sat in the 93-98 mph area from the low-90s last summer. He finds the zone frequently with an excellent feel for throwing strikes from his three-quarter delivery. Not only did he add power and velocity to the fastball, but his filthy slider got even nastier, sitting in the high-70s and reaching 83 mph. The breaking pitch is perhaps the best pitch in the entire draft with its incredible horizontal break that is nearly impossible for lefties to pick up. The slider has a chance to be a plus-plus offering to really make him dominant competition early on at the next level.
After rarely throwing it on the showcase circuit, Schultz also showed a good feel for a mid-80s changeup which adds another wrinkle to his pitch arsenal. The power and pitchability are enough to make him a top talent for the draft. He has great body control and athleticism for such a tall young pitcher, and a very high ceiling.
After coming down with mononucleosis early on in his senior season, it took Schultz a bit to get his control back. Most of the time he was able to maintain his control, however, and really has a good feel for his pitches. There is a lot to like when looking at his game, and not much to hate. The one potential concern is whether or not he will be able to maintain a high level of play for a whole season as a starter. Even if it doesn’t work out as a starter, he could be a high-leverage reliever.
Pro Comparison: Andrew Miller
With the potential his slider has, Schultz could wind up being as dominant a pitcher as Miller was for the majority of his career. While Miller isn’t a starter, he pitched whenever teams needed to, and was a very dominant force for the 2016 American League champion Cleveland Indians (now the Cleveland Guardians). They are both tall and lanky left-handers with incredible stuff. Miller was drafted sixth overall by the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 MLB Draft after previously being drafted in the third draft of the 2003 draft out of high school. Schultz has a similar stock of Miller going in but could have similar signability concerns if he is set on attending Vanderbilt.
Draft Projection: Kansas City Royals, Round 1, Pick 9
Perhaps this high in the draft for Schultz is a little bold. But his pitch arsenal led by his disgusting slider and his feel for pitching is that good. Drafting him this early would also perhaps talk him into signing and going pro. The Royals took a similar approach with Frank Mozzicato last year, taking the left-hander from East Catholic High School at seventh overall. They wound up handing out a $3.55 million signing bonus to him, which was nearly $2 million below slot. That allowed Kansas City to over slot with their other picks.
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Main Image Credit: From D1Baseball.com