Photo credit – Christopher Oertell (@cjimagesnw)
Vancouver Canadians pitcher Paxton Schultz stops by in the latest edition of C’s Chat.
The right-handed hurler was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays as the player to be named later in a trade that saw outfielder Derek Fisher go to Milwaukee May 2. The Brewers selected Schultz in the 14th round of the 2019 MLB draft out of Utah Valley University and gave him a $125,000 signing bonus.
The highest draft selection in UVU’s Division I history spent three years pitching for his hometown Wolverines after attending Orem High School in Utah. Though Schultz won just three of 20 decisions over his three years at Utah Valley University, he reduced his earned run average by over a run from his freshman season as he finished with a 4.08 ERA in his junior year. He also tied the Wolverines record for strikeouts in a season with 99 in 99-1/3 innings.
Among the highlights for Schultz in his junior year of 2019 included 11 strikeouts over seven innings against South Carolina February 23, eight shutout innings to pick up a road win against Seattle University March 23. He also threw seven strong innings of one-run ball against New Mexico State in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) tournament two months later in his final start in college.
A three-time member of the WAC All-Academic Team, Schultz was assigned by the Brewers to their Pioneer League affiliate, the Rocky Mountain Vibe in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His professional debut was a successful one as he pitched two shutout innings against the Grand Junction Rockies June 23.
The first time Schultz pitched as a professional in his home state of Utah went even better as he struck out five over three scoreless frames against the host Ogden Raptors July 4. His first professional win came against the team he grew up watching, the Orem Owlz, as he put up three more zeroes on the line score at Security Service Field August 21.
Schultz completed his first season with the Vibes by posting a 3.86 ERA over nine appearances, striking out 22 batters over 23-1/3 innings. The 6-foot-3 righty talks about his pitching repertoire in this feature from FOX 21 in Colorado Springs in which he mentions 2011 Vancouver Canadian Noah Syndergaard as a pitcher whose slider he admires.
Though the pandemic cancelled the minor league season in 2020, Schultz was able to head to Australia last winter to pitch for the Brisbane Bandits. In his eight appearances, he struck out 17 over 17-1/3 innings to go along with a 3.28 ERA.
If the month of May is any indication, Schultz is proving to be a wise acquisition by the Blue Jays. In his organizational debut with the C’s, he got the win by striking out six over four innings of two-run ball in Tri-City May 9. His second start against Spokane saw him allow three runs in four frames but he struck out eight in an eventual victory May 16.
Now Schultz has a 13-1/3 inning scoreless streak on the go after spinning six shutout innings in his most recent two starts. First, he got the win by throwing a two-hitter and striking out five against Hillsboro May 23. That was followed up with six more goose eggs in which he scattered three hits and two walks while punching out eight batters against Everett May 30.
C’s Plus Baseball caught up with Schultz prior to his start against Everett to talk about his trade to the Blue Jays, his time in the Brewers organization, his experience pitching Down Under and his pitching repertoire.
Thanks a million to Paxton Schultz for this episode of C’s Chat. You can follow him on Twitter @PaxtonSchultz. He will turn 24 on January 5.
Another million thanks go out to C’s broadcaster Tyler Zickel for arranging in the interview. You can find him on Twitter @tyler_zickel.