Prospect Talk

Prospect Spotlight: Noah Schultz

Imagine sitting in your stadium seat and you look over to see the home team at the the top step of the dugout, they are about to take the field. The lights go out and it becomes pitch black, you can barely see your hand in front of you, but the crowd starts to become restless with anticipation. Your seat starts to shake, as the bass of a song reverberates through the stadium. Everyone jumps up in excitement and begins to cheer with an overabundance of joy. The echo from the speakers and the crowd become one and sound like an engine revving. The guitar solo reaches its climax, and the word “Thunder,” breaks through the night air. At the same time the stadium lights flash and a spotlight quickly highlights the pitcher, before disappearing and bringing back the darkness. The engine revving sound starts up again, the crowd joining in, with their full force, until “Thunder,” breaks the chain of sound. It repeats getting faster and faster, each time “Thunder,” is heard, the lights and spotlight flash. The progression is finally broken when the lights come on fully and a towering giant is seen standing on the mound. At 6’9”, he makes the whole field seem insignificant. The crowd erupts into a massive euphoria and atmosphere that hasn’t been seen in that stadium in decades. The future has arrived!!!

I’ll be honest with you, I can actually envision this entire scene, the crowd, the field, the entirety of it all. No, it’s not a memory of the Randy Johnson days in Seattle or Arizona. It’s the legend foretold, in the here and now, by a wise man that has the powers to see into the future. The legend of a giant, one that has the skills to spin a baseball in ways the experts have yet to fathom. An imposing figure that causes hitters to second guess their career choices. Bats are no match for the flames he can sling from his arm. They just provide a breeze for him to cool down with in the summer, he laughs at their attempts to make contact. The giant is the future of one franchise and the bane of the rest of the league. Where he goes, the game will be forever changed in his wake. Let the legend take over your minds, so it can be passed by word of mouth to all of those near and far. The reign of Noah Schultz is on the horizon and will chase down the moon and stars if need be. It will not stop until the legend has come to pass, thus it is written. 

Too much? Not for Chicago White Sox fans. Noah Schultz represents hope and the need for a new reign in the windy city. What’s the saying about legends? That’s right, they are rooted in reality and molded by real life events. So, let’s pull back the curtain and see if this story is more legend or fairy tale. 

Schultz was drafted 26th overall by the White Sox during the 2022 MLB Draft. He came to the draft directly from Oswego East High School in Oswego, Illinois. With his hometown being part of the Chicago Metropolitan Area, the legend was instantly born. The White Sox opted to not have him pitch after being drafted, he would have to wait until 2023, thus allowing the legend to spread far and wide.

The beginning of the 2023 season was rough for Schultz, as he would miss the first two months of the season with a forearm strain, before finally making his debut on June 2nd. The White Sox would ease him into action after he also missed most of his senior season of high school with mono. He only pitched two innings in his debut and they did nothing but etch the legend into stone, for all to see. Two innings pitched, one hit, and five strikeouts equating to a 71.4% strikeout rate. Now it is most assuredly an overreaction, but with what fans had to endure watching the big league club, it was everything. I must say, looking further, it might not have been an overreaction. Through his first six games he threw 14.1 innings, allowing only five hits (one in that first game and four in his sixth) and striking out 21, for a strikeout rate of 42%. In fact, his only blemish on the season came during his seventh game, where he gave up four earned runs over 1.1 innings. He would finish his season with three more games, going an additional 11.1 innings, giving up seven hits, zero runs and striking out 37.2% of the hitters he faced. Unfortunately, his season would end early with a shoulder impingement injury, but it was enough to justify the legend and prove it was not in any way a fairy tale. 

2024 Outlook

Health and length are the keys to Schultz’s growing legend. He needs to stay healthy for most of the season and start to build up his strength and pitch deeper into games. If he can do that, he should skyrocket up fantasy baseball rankings and into the hearts of fans everywhere, not just in Chicago. Look for him to start the season at High-A in Winston-Salem. He will need to show he can pitch more than four innings in a game, his max for 2023, in order to receive a promotion to Double-A. He pitches from a nasty looking low three-quarter arm slot and is very difficult for hitters to adjust to. In one of his longer outings of the 2023 season, four innings, he threw three different pitches (a fastball, sweeper, and changeup), which appears to be what his main arsenal will entail as he moves through the minors. To turn his legend into reality, he will need to develop his changeup this season and show he has a solid third pitch. His fastball and sweeper will continue to make quick work of the lower minors, turning the upper echelon of his legend into reality is dependent upon his changeup development. 

Noah Schultz will bring the thunder to the south side of Chicago with the Zeus-like lightning bolts coming from his left hand. Don’t miss out on the fun, get him while you can and join the crowd everywhere going

……….THUNDER!……..THUNDER!….THUNDER!

The Author

Brian Labude

Brian Labude

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