Thursday, January 10, 2019

Welcome to the Blue, Jaime Schultz!

Last week the Dodger completed their first trade of 2019, and they did it in the most unsurprising way. The Dodgers, as they are wont to do, added additional depth to their pitching roster by trading their 20th round 2018 pick, pitcher Caleb Sampen, to the Tampa Bay Rays (Andrew Friedman's former employer) for righty reliever Jaime Schultz. Per a Dodger press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired right-handed pitcher Jaime Schultz from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Caleb Sampen.
Schultz made 22 appearances (one start) with the Rays in 2018, going 2-2 with a 5.64 ERA (19 ER/30.1 IP) while striking out 35 batters against 17 walks. In six minor league seasons, the Albany, New York native has a record of 22-17 with a 3.57 ERA (169 ER/425.2 IP) while limiting hitters to a .230 batting average. The 27-year-old was originally selected by the Rays in the 14th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of High Point (NC) University.
Schultz, who debut for the Rays last season, was designated for assignment last week, so his departure from the organization may have been likely. Given that, trading him to the guy who originally drafted him in 2013 is not surprising. BTW, you can follow Jaime on twitter here: @JMSchultz12. You can also follow him on Instagram here: @jmschultz12.

As for what he does on the mound, here's a brief report (via David Hill at Rays Color Glasses)
There is no questioning Schultz’ stuff. His fastball easily sits in the mid 90’s, and has been clocked at 99 MPH. He also has a solid curve and the vestiges of a change, although the latter still needs a lot of work. However, his command is still a work in progress, and could be a continual battle.
Whether he's coming to Los Angeles will entirely depend on him. Hopefully, he can impress the Dodgers this spring and earn a spot in the bullpen. It certainly sounds like he's got the stuff to be successful. Below are some other reports/stories worth checking out:
It’s not hard to see why the Dodgers front office — which is, of course, led by former Tampa Bay GM Andrew Friedman — decided to take a shot on Schultz’s right arm. Though his MLB debut last year did not go as hoped, he did show a mid-nineties fastball. Schultz has struck out 11.7 batters per nine over the course of his minor-league career, though that has also come with more than five free passes per nine.
The high octane velocity, lack of control, and two plus pitches has many looking at Schultz as a relief pitcher, but if he ever gets that under control he’s shown a good enough change up to work in the rotation if required.
Age 26, long-time denizen of Rays prospect lists, was ready for MLB trial in 2017 but lost most of season to groin muscle pull injury; effective when healthy, with 3.66 ERA, excellent 32/6 K/BB in 20 innings between Triple-A and rookie ball rehab work; mid-90s fastball, some reports have him as high as 99; plus slider, fairly good change-up; can dominate when his command is on; future role unclear so look for spring training reports; ETA 2018.
Schultz was designated for assignment by the Rays last week. He had Tommy John surgery in 2011 while in college.
“For the first three years, it was hit or miss. I had a lot of control issues. I had four no-hitters, but it didn’t seem like I knew what I was doing. My senior year, it kind of all clicked and I started throwing more strikes and I pitched in every one of our playoff games except for one.”
The problem was obvious. It had nothing to do with Schultz’s talent, more to do with Schultz’s location. Pro scouts tend to find players in every remote field in America, and now across the world. However, that doesn’t make getting there any easier. As the draft approaches, time is of the essence as scouts and cross-checkers criss-cross thousands of baseball fields. 
“There just wasn’t much visibility,” Schultz said. “Being from the upstate, not a lot of guys make it up there to see us play. I had an Angels scout call me asking if I was pitching today, and the game wound up getting rained out. I called him back to ask if he was coming back tomorrow, no, I don’t have enough time. That was about the only contact I had out at the high school level.”
In celebration of Jamie joining the Dodgers I made the above two fantasy custom Baseball cards.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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