Tiger Taxonomy: Matt Schultz

  • Class: Incoming Freshman
  • Hometown: Plainfield, IL
  • Previously: Oswego East High School
  • H/W: 6'2/ 200lbs
  • B/T: R/R
  • Position: RHP

Schultz makes up part of Auburn's highly anticipated 2012 Signing Class. A powerful RHP from Illinois, Schultz shows that Coach Pawlowski and his staff aren't afraid of recruiting outside the Southeast. He's a Perfect Game prospect from the Chicago area who is already topping 93 on his fastball. PG had this to say in his profile:

Chicago Land RHP Popped Up with 92 Velo at Area Codes Before Popping a 93 at Jupiter. Strong, Sturdy Build Arm Works Very Well.

Pretty impressive and pretty solid for Auburn to get a player who's competed in the prestigious area code games. That 93 mph? That's coming after he had Tommy John surgery going into his junior year:

"He threw 50 pitches and it was probably the most effective 50 pitches I've ever seen," Vera said. "I think (the injury) helped him in two ways. No. 1, I think it helps him see the difference between pitching and throwing. When you're dealing with a kid as talented as Matt, he's probably for most of his life been able to just get by with throwing the ball by guys and just overmatching guys. I also think it's helped him basically appreciate the effectiveness of his pitching, whereas in the past he could get by with going deep into counts because he knew he could come back into counts and strike them out."

I would recommend checking out that entire story from The Ledger Sentinel. It is a bit dated, but it serves as caution for overusing high school arms so soon. Schultz is a pitcher reborn and a guy who almost had his entire future taken away from him.

So how did an Illinois kid come home to the Plains? He wasn't that highly recruited for a while and many colleges were coming to see his travel ball teammate Bret Lilek (Arizona State commit) instead of him. Still, Schultz turned heads and Auburn won him over:

"I fell in love with it when I went down there," Schultz said of his trip to Alabama. "It's really hot down there, so right off the get-go it's good weather for a pitcher. I didn't throw that much this spring due to the cold weather, so the heat is a huge factor. It's a really nice campus and all the people down there are like the nicest person you ever met in your life. It's more like a family. All the athletes are like a family. That's what they try to achieve. I liked the atmosphere, a nice campus, they have an amazing facility."

The MLB could come calling but he might have a better chance at Auburn as scouts might shy away from his arm history and not take a risk given the new CBA. Auburn can't do anything to change that. For now it's good to know Schultz has his Auburn priorities in order:

Every kid dreams of playing professional baseball and I'm no different. I have established a plan to attend Auburn, pursue my college degree and continue to develop my pitching talents under a great coaching staff. I am very excited about the future at Auburn University and the opportunity they have given me. I want to help them beat 'Bama!!! However, if the opportunity to play in the MLB presents itself, I would evaluate all factors and consider it a great honor, and accomplishment, to be entered into the draft.

War Eagle and Welcome Matt.


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