Noah Schultz is selected by the Chicago White Sox with the 26th pick of the 2022 MLB baseball draft, ... [+] Sunday, July 17, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
By using their first-round pick to select Noah Schultz, the White Sox went back to the future in a couple different ways, physically and geographically.
As a pitcher who stands 6-foot-9, Schultz represents a left-handed version of 6-11 right-hander Jon Rauch, whom the Sox selected from Morehead State in the third round in 1999. And as a kid from just outside Chicago, the product of Oswego East High School brings back memories of right-hander Kris Honel, who was the White Sox’s pick with the 16th overall selection in 2001. He was a standout at Providence Catholic High School.
Those are distant drafts, for sure, but under Jerry Reinsdorf the Sox have run one of the most entrenched front offices and scouting operations in the major leagues. They have holdovers who were around in the Rauch and Honel years.
Those staffers must hope Schultz will deliver more than the South Siders got from the predecessors who were similar to him. Honel never got beyond Double-A, and while Rauch pitched in the major leagues for parts of 11 seasons — leading the majors with 88 appearances for the 2007 Nationals — he never developed the command the Sox hoped would allow him to use his rarely seen arm angles to be a standout starter.
But the scouting operation that took chances on Honel and Rauch hit home runs with Florida Gulf Coast lefty Chris Sale in the 2010 draft and North Carolina State lefty Carlos Rodon in ’14. Scouting director Mike Shirley, who has been with the organization since 2010, believes Schultz has the making of a special pitcher.
“This guy has a unique skillset,’’ Shirley told reporters after the draft. “[He’s] an extreme talent who we think can anchor a rotation someday. It’s a unique frame at 6-foot-9. He moves easy in a big frame.”
MLB Pipeline compared Schultz to Hall of Famer Randy Johnson in a scouting report, citing both their similar height and low three-quarters arm slot. Schultz also draws comparison to Sale, who is listed at 6-6.
The White Sox selected Schultz with the 26th overall pick. They had an inside track to him through scout J.J. Lally, who has coached Schultz at the Area Code games. He was lightly scouted this season because he missed time battling mononucleosis.
Shirley entered the draft believing it was “really critical” for the White Sox to upgrade the depth of pitching prospect in the organization. They focused heavily on college arms behind Schultz, adding top-100 prospects Peyton Pallette (Arkansas) and Jonathan Cannon (Georgia) in the second and third rounds, respectively.
The White Sox used five of their first seven picks on college pitchers. Tyler Schweitzer (Ball State), Eric Adler (Wake Forest) and Mark McLaughlin (Tennessee) followed in the fifth through seventh rounds.