Feb 19, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Bo Schultz poses for a portrait during photo day at Salt River Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Believe it or not there were still innings left to play in after Archie Bradley made his spring training debut and while Bradley garnered all the attention this spring not only in Dbacks camp but around the majors, flying under the radar is another Dbacks starter less known to most people. Bo Schultz has impressed this spring showing what he can do in both the relief role and in the rotation.
Following Bradley’s stellar performance, Schultz recorded two perfect innings while striking out one. Schultz talked about following up a great performance speaking with azcentral sports: “It was definitely not an easy act to follow, especially when he strikes out the first two guys on seven pitches just throwing thunder fastballs,” said Schultz. “My goal was just to try to emulate what he was doing because it’s hard to not want to follow a lights-out outing.”
Having the expectations super high is nothing new for the 28 year old former undrafted free agent. He has had to work hard to move up through the Dbacks season ending up in Triple A last year. He understands that the expectation has to be high in order to succeed at the highest level possible. The Dbacks soon realized that he could be a effective starter at the major league level especially with his attitude. So out of nowhere the Dbacks sent him back to Double A to turn him into a starter.
Schultz had no idea of how to react: “I didn’t know how to react because this organization is very starter-heavy and very pitching prospect-heavy,” said Schultz. “And they were telling me I was going to be a starting pitcher on the same team as Archie Bradley … the future Nolan Ryan.” That’s quite a lofty expectation for a guy who started out as an outfielder at Northwestern and once he converted to a starter after an underclassman left. His initial results were terrible throwing up era’s of 8.82 and 9.23. With those stats I would have never thought he would be in the big leagues let alone impressing in a major league camp, but that is the beauty of baseball, anything can happen.
For Schultz, the potential and the lively arm is there, he just needs more experience as a starter in the minors and who knows maybe one day he will be in the same rotation as the games number one prospect Archie Bradley. Dbacks minor league hitting coordinator John Carlson knows ultimately what will define him as a pitcher: “Once you pitch in the major leagues, they kind of tell you what you are; and I’m not talking about the organization, I’m talking about the hitters,” said Carlson. “If you’re able to go through the lineup three times, you’re a starter. If you’re not able to … maybe we have to limit the amount of outs we’re asking you to get.” Going through the lineup requires more experience and that is what he needs, but everybody knows he has the confidence and the attitude to succeed.
He got some experience facing big league hitters making his first ever start and he continued his impressive spring allowing just one unearned run over three innings and the Padres’ bullpen combined for 6 2/3 scoreless innings. Many are suggesting that Schultz is in the mix for the fifth starters spot along with Bradley, Randall Delgado, and Josh Collmenter if Bronson Arroyo isn’t ready by opening day. While I would rather see Bradley make the start, Schultz has been equally impressive; to me he is the underrated star of camp 2014. Don’t be surprised if he makes it with the big club in 2014.