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Rays Top 50 prospects: No. 27, Jaime Schultz

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MLB: Spring Training-Tampa Bay Rays at Atlanta Braves Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more intriguing names to monitor for the Rays this season is Jaime Schultz, a pitcher that was supposed to make his mark on the team in a bigger way in 2018. The Rays seemed to hope he’d help out the pen in 2017, but health got in the way. Now seemingly ready to step up, we consider him as one of many high-end pen options Kevin Cash and the Rays will get to decide on this season.

No.27, RHP Jaime Matthew Schultz, 26 years old

Born: Jun 20th, 1991 in Albany, NY

Height/Weight: 5’10” 200 lbs Bats/Throws: R/R

Signed: by the Rays after being selected in the 14th round of the 2013 draft

Twitter handle: @JMSchultz12

Twitter profile statement:Tampa Bay Rays organization Former High Point University Panther. Proud Australian Shepherd dad #teamNB #teamRawlings”

Baseball America Rankings

  • Ranked 291st in Baseball America’s Top 500 draft eligible list for 2013
  • Ranked as the 23rd best Rays prospect in 2015
  • Ranked as the 12th best Rays prospect in 2016
  • Ranked as the 28th best Rays prospect for 2017

DRB Writers ranking

  • High: 24th
  • Low: 35th

Jaime Schultz: Abilities

  • Plus curve
  • Plus fastball that works in mid-90s, reaches 98-99 miles per hour at times
  • Change up that grades as average
  • Average change up
  • Rated Best Slider in the Tampa Bay Rays system after the 2017 season

Scouting grades ‘17 (Pipeline): FB: 65 | SL: 60 | CH: 45 | Ctl: 45 | Overall: 45

  • Abilities notes: 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.

Joined the Rays by way of...

The draft out of High Point North Carolina. Also taken that year were Ryne Stanek, Austin Pruitt, and Hunter Wood, so that draft class could represent a good portion of the pen and/or rotation in 2018.

Latest Transaction: Rays recalled Schultz from Durham Bulls Oct 2nd, 2017.

Note - What’s interesting about Schultz is that he has over 285 innings at or above the Double-A level, putting him in the conversation for The Show early on in 2018.

Facts, Honors, and Awards

  • Is an outstanding overall athlete, as you can read about here (soccer and basketball)
  • Last year in spring training there was plenty of praise for Schultz, but his role was still one that was being weighed, as noted by Kevin Cash:

“We’ve heard he’s pretty comfortable in any role, and we’re probably going to find out more as we get deeper into spring training how comfortable he is,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We’ll have a decision to make which way we’re going to go, whether he’s in the bullpen or as a starter.”

  • Through 2017’s Spring Training, Schultz managed 14.2 innings, allowed only 3 ER on 7 hits, 10 walks, and 22 Ks
  • When injured in 2017 Schultz wound up requiring surgery for both groin and knee issues — and that’s important when considering how fresh and capable that arm is now. With minimal wear and tear on his arm during surgery recovery he should be ready to roll this season.
  • Bill Chastain named Schultz as one of the players he believes could break camp with the team.
  • A quote from Schultz this spring to make any mature fan smile:

“I’m just kind of finding it right now,” Schultz said. “I don’t think 92-94 is down. It’s the first day of spring after two surgeries. We have a whole other month to go.”

  • Apparently Jaime has some high ‘stache aspirations,

Sorry, Jaime.

Stats

Jaime Schultz 2016

GP 27
GP 27
GS 27
IP 130.2
W 5
L 7
Sv (SvO) 0 (0)
H 113
BB 68
SO 163
HR 12
AvgA 0.234
Whip 1.390
BAbip 0.327
LOB% 75.7%
GB% 49.5%

Stats Notes: We used 2016 since Schultz had limited action in 2017. He threw 19.2 innings in 2017, allowing 17 hits and 6 walks while striking out 32 — that’s right, it’s a 16.20 K/9 rate, which tells you everything you need to know about why we’re so excited to see him pitch in 2018. The lower than historical walk rates are particularly intriguing as he was working in relief for the first time and may be able to build on that going forward.

Interesting Comparison: A.J. Ramos

Schultz matches up well with A.J. Ramos - both are 5’10” 200 lbs or so. When looking through the arsenals and stuff, Ramos works in the 92-94 MPH range with his fastball, something most expect Schultz to exceed — particularly in relief — as he has been clocked in the 98 to 99 MPH range in the past.

Like Schultz, Ramos has his issues with walks as shown by his 4.81 K/9 through his career so far as compared to Schultz and his 5.13 BB/9. Meanwhile, Ramos has managed a 10.50 K/9 while Schultz stands slight ahead with 11.48 K/9.

The differences include the fact that Schultz worked through the minors as a starter while Ramos was a reliever throughout and that Schultz depends a whole lot more on his plus curve than Ramos does. If both items can provide Schultz with more effective weapons to use, it’s possible he could exceed what Ramos managed should he also work in relief.

Notes for 2018 and beyond

With two plus pitches to work with, there’s little doubt that Schultz has the tools to work his way into the MLB. The question remains whether or not moving to a relief role could amp up his velocity and improve his control issues.

Schultz’s inability to finish guys off without getting into walk issues is surprising given how well his stuff plays. Over the short time he threw in 2017, however, he provided a glimpse of having possibly figured that part of his game out.

Having said that, I’ve been looking forward to seeing what he can do in the pen for a few years now and believe he has the stuff to compete with Diego Castillo and others for the closing role down the road. With overpowering stuff and an ability to miss bats while being effective vs both LHB and RHB, Schultz is yet another big arm to look for this season in the Rays pen.

The timing of his arrival at the Trop has yet to be determined, as he’s still working towards getting himself back to where he needs to be velocity wise. Without any bumps in the road, he could be ready for opening day or within the first month of the season with a little time spent in Triple-A.

With the Rays talking about using a 4-man rotation for a significant period of time, Schultz joins Matt Andriese and Austin Pruitt as one of the pen options that you can envision giving the team more than an inning of work often.

Jaime Schultz: Spotlight Videos

You can see the pitch he hurt his groin on here,

Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 50 Rays Prospects

*Note: rankings were adjusted and reflect recent additions to the system - it is now a Top 55 list