Rays Top 50 Prospects includes a tremendous number of high-quality prospects. We at RCG are bringing you an in-depth look at those we consider to be the Top 50.
While gathering as much information as possible from various sources, we’re going to put it all together for your enjoyment and raise the bar on what you expect from a prospect knowledgable site. Stay tuned, check-in often, and please let us know how we’re doing.
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Being such a lengthy process, some encouragement will go a very long way. We hope you’ll enjoy reading this series as much as we enjoy putting it together. If anything, all of us will know that much more about the quality of the Rays system.
The rankings will be based on all aspects of each prospect, but will focus first on how likely the player is to make an impact in MLB, and ceiling next. Mikie Mahtook and Enny Romero have been graduated to the majors and will not be included in these rankings.
Once completed, the Top 50 will be updated mid-season with an explanation to why they’re moving up or down, and the entire process will be repeated each season.
The next player to be examined in detail is …
#35: Jaime Matthew Schultz, SP, 24 years old
- Throws: Right Ht/Wt: 5’10” 200 lbs
- Drafted: in the 14th round of the 2013 MLB draft
- 2015 Affiliate: Montgomery, AA
- Anticipated MLB Arrival: End 2016+
Schultz’ 2015 Splits
- Ranked 291st in Baseball America’s Top 500 draft eligible list for 2013
- One of four players taken out of High Point University, NC, in 2013. Others are RHP Jacob Newberry (18th rd COL), LHP Sean Townsley (25th rd MIA), and SS Willie Medina (31st rd WAS)
- Ranked 8th in top velocities in the AFL in 2014 with an average velocity of 93.2 MPH, tying Tyler Glasnow and Miguel Almonte
- Recorded 157 strike outs in 71 IP as a Senior and maintained a .560 batting average
- Was a tremendous Soccer and Basketball player, “As a senior at Maple Hill, Jaime Schultz helped lead the soccer, basketball and baseball teams to Section II Class C titles.”
- Schultz completed a degree in Communications
- Missed the entire 2011 season with TJ surgery
- Did not crack the top 20 Rays prospects list for Minor League Ball
- Not currently ranked within the top 30 Rays Prospects on MLB.com
Schultz knows all about the control issues he has to work through:
"“Definitely. It’s going to be limiting the walks and everything like that,” “I would see it in college where a leadoff walk would result in some runs. I think I just have to mentally stay within myself and stay focused throughout each inning.”"
The reason the Rays haven’t moved Schultz to the pen yet:
Most interesting Schultz quote while pitching in the AFL:
"“Sometimes I have streaks where I go out and pitch well and other times I pitch pretty poorly. “Being out here working with [pitching coaches] R.C. [Lichtenstein] and [Jason Simonatacchi], it’s been a lot easier. It’s starting to click together now.”"
Best Tools & Abilities
- Curveball rated at 55-60 on the 20/80 scale
- 91 – 97 MPH Fastball (late into games)
- Ability to rack up the Ks
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Jaime Schultz could become one of the most dominant closers the Rays have ever had if he moves to the pen. That’s our initial thought. The Rays have done such a great job in developing him as a starter that it’s made him even more projectable as a dominant reliever. Here’s what we mean by that.
If the Rays had decided to keep him as a reliever from the beginning, he wouldn’t have a change up to work with and his repertoire wouldn’t be as polished. Should they move him to the pen, he projects to hit 97-99 MPH. Both his slider and curve are solid, and if he does make the move to the pen he’s unlikely to need his change up often. But the fact that he has a change up to work with could really throw a wrench in batter’s plans.
When you consider where the Rays stand today with the roster the way it is and with Blake Snell, Jacob Faria, and Taylor Guerrieri all likely to get a shot at the rotation before Schultz does, you have to believe that the Rays would be open to using Schultz in the pen if they need to.
His whip has not been stellar from the 2014 promotion to HiA onwards. If you’re a fan of Schultz, you hope that his end year performance for August continues through 2016. If you’re a fan of him as a reliever, you point to the whips over 1.6 in both May and July. Should he move to the pen, Schultz could focus on two or three pitches and may add enough MPH on his stuff to overcome the high BB rate and height issues.
With all of the considerations made above, and knowing he could be one of the most dominant relievers the Rays have had, we still anticipate that he’ll continue to work as a starter in 2016 in an attempt to polish his stuff enough to earn a rotation spot. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with ensuring the Rays make every attempt to keep Schultz as a starter since he’d get to put more innings up.
The reasons we don’t expect that to happen are two-fold. First, he has some mechanical issues that he’s had to work through which have led to an overall lack of control, as indicated by his high BB rates. Second, his height doesn’t allow for mistakes up in the zone since he doesn’t have the downward plane that most pitchers have. It’s one of the reasons scouts indicate he gets knocked around on occasion and allows the more HR than he should with his stuff.
The low ranking on our top 50 list reflects Schultz being used as a starter going forward. There’s little in his performance that indicates he’ll be able to eliminate the walks or overcome the mechanical issues that plagued him over the last year and a half. However, if he was moved to the pen, we would have ranked Schultz 17th on this list, 1 spot ahead of where we have Brandon Koch ranked.
Rays fans should be excited to know that Schultz is on the horizon and could impact the pen – or rotation – as early as 2016. He’s an electric pitcher, has one of the fastest arms in the system, and he’ll be racking up strikeouts wherever he pitches. We wish him all of the best this season and sincerely hope he proves us right or wrong, because we’ll take a dominant reliever or effective starter any day of the year.