Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Peep this Prospect: Patrick Schuster
Who is Patrick Schuster you say? This kid recently accomplished something no one else in the state of Florida has ever done – pitched four, count 'em, four no hitters in a row. (Insanely, that's not the national record, however, which is six). Naysayers may be thinking, yeah, it's still high school baseball and maybe he was pitching against some pretty weak competition, but that's a damn impressive feat at any level. He's already signed on to pitch at the University of Florida, but it remains to be seen whether he'll forgo a college career and enter the draft. Schuster's draft stock has obviously risen dramatically over these last four starts (there were approximately two dozen pro scouts in attendance for the most recent) but let's take a look at how he shapes up as a prospect.
Schuster is a 6'3”, 170 lb lefty that consistently works around 88-90 mph with his fastball (for an interesting article about average pitch velocity and how there are actually very few pitchers that consistently work in the mid-90's, despite what TV analysts may say, see here). His low ¾ arm angle and cross-body release gives his fastball a lot of late movement and makes his pitches a little more deceptive, but it remains to be seen whether his mechanics will need to be tweaked at the next level. Schuster also sports a biting slider that he uses as an out pitch and a changeup that he locates well.
As you would expect, you have to be missing a lot of bats to chalk up four no-hitters in a row, and Schuster has a dominating K/9 rate of 18, having struck out 110 batters in only 55 innings this season. However, walks have been somewhat of a concern, as coming into his most recent start he had 23BB in only 46IP. With the scouts in attendance, though, he punched out 17 and only walked one, perhaps a sign that his control is improving. His BAA this season is a measly .054, and he is currently 8-0 on the season with an ERA of 0.64.
Baseball America ranks him as a four-star prospect, and even before his no-hit streak began he was listed at number 79 on their top 100 overall prospects list. Should he choose to enter the draft, he'd be a likely second or third-round selection, and he's said that the only chance he'll end up at Florida is if he isn't taken within the first five rounds and doesn't get a sizeable signing bonus. We'll have to wait and see.