Brooklyn, NY — In three innings of work against the Brooklyn Cyclones, Hudson Valley Renegades pitcher Jaime Schultz fired his way through his sixth start of the season. Despite the Renegades eventual 3-1 loss, he gave them a chance to win.
Showing a loose, live arm, he held the Cyclones offense to one hit and didn’t allow a run, bouncing back from a four-run outing the week before. He also kept the walks to a minimum again, giving up just two.
The performance was also the deepest he’s pitched since August 1st, when he went four innings. He’s mostly been limited to two-to-three innings. His best outing came on July 8th, when he went three innings, didn’t allow a run or a hit, walked one, and struck out a season high eight.
The Rays 2013 fourteenth-round pick routinely got ahead of hitters, throwing first pitch strikes, and pounding the strike zone with a fastball that consistently clocked between 92-94, topping out at 95. He got the final out of his night with a 95 mph fastball — that the hitter was late on and flied out.
The Cyclones made contact, but Schultz induced several ground-ball outs. He also got guys swinging on a power slider that dropped to the side to effectively keep hitters off-balance. He exhibited some wildness at the corners, but consistently controlled the ball.
He was often focused on any runner at first and held guys on with a quick move to first. He never appeared overly-distracted by it, though. When he threw over it was a good, deceptive effort that kept runners honest.
The issue with Schultz is whether or not he can maintain velocity and command as a starter in the big leagues. Coming out of the Renegades pen, the 5’10” 190-pound righty pitched twelve innings over seven appearances. He struck out eighteen and allowed 11 walks. He’s done a respectable job so far in a starting role, and showed impressive signs, using few pitches per inning, something that will be key for him moving forward in a starting role. He’s athletic in the way he uses his body, with a lot of controlled power to the plate. His history indicates that he’s able to handle both roles — and he’s no stranger to being transitioned during the season. He began his 2013 college season in relief, but finished in the rotation.
Scouts had to have loved that electric arm, the life of his fastball, and the big break and drop on his curveball; at times, yes, his delivery is high effort, but more of the time it looked smooth and easy. The walks were a concern coming out college, but had sharp command in this outing and the lack of walks this year are a huge positive. The Rays could be correct in developing him into a starter, and seeing if that arm can handle a lot of innings.