Baltimore Orioles: RHP Bo Schultz Signed To Minor League Deal
The Baltimore Orioles have signed RHP Bo Schultz to a minor league deal.
As January rolls along, general manager Mike Elias is sticking to his words from the Winter Meetings, when he said the primary focus of this offseason for the Baltimore Orioles would be establishing a front office and staff and evaluating the current talent on hand. As far as player acquisitions are concerned, the Orioles continue to bring in players with major league experience who provide diserable attributes to a roster, on minor league deals.
More recently, Carlos Perez was brought in on a minor league deal, bringing with him a highly regarded defensive skill set and major league experience behind the plate. RHP Gregory Infante also joined the organization to join the competition for open bullpen spots. It appears that we can throw another name into that mix.
The Baltimore Orioles have brought in RHP Bo Schultz on a minor league deal. Schultz has pitched for the Arizona Diamondback and Toronto Blue Jays, but hasn’t seen the major leagues since 2016. He went under the knife for Tommy John surgery back in March of 2017, missed the entire year, and spent 2018 rehabbing in the minor leagues.
The now 33-year-old reliever made his MLB debut in 2014 and began a full-time transition to the bullpen, after spending the previous two seasons working as a starter in AA and AAA. He appeared in just four games for the Diamondbacks and was claimed by the Blue Jays after the 2014 season when he was designated for assignment.
Schultz has had success in the major leagues.
Schultz had a solid 2015 campaign with the Toronto Blue Jays, appearing in 31 games and posting a 3.56 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. He was much more effective against left-handed hitters, limiting lefties to a .148 average (compared to a .242 average against right-handed hitters).
Statcast data shows predominately a three-pitch mix, including a four-seam fastball that averages at just under 97 mph, a cutter, and slider. Both the cutter and slider were highly effective pitches in 2015 with the Blue Jays, producing whiff rates of 35%+. Schultz held opponents to a .129 average and .253 slugging percentage with his slider that season.
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Of the 306 major league pitchers who had at least 25 batted balls against their slider, Schultz ranked 21st in lowest batting average against. Hitters also managed just a 3.4-degree average launch angle when making contact against his slider, meaning a good number of ground balls.
The 2016 season wasn’t as successful, recording a 5.51 ERA across 16 innings, all while suffering from a hip injury that hampered his playing time, before the Tommy John surgery took him out for all of 2017.
The rehab in 2018 appeared to produce positive results, working in AA and AAA with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who signed him to a minor league deal in January of last year. Schultz allowed no runs on two hits across 10+ innings in Double-A before making 24 appearances in AAA.
With the Indianapolis Indians, Schultz recorded a 2.00 ERA across 27 innings, striking out 22, and converting all three of his save opportunities. He didn’t allow a single home run between the two levels.
Schultz will likely get his share of innings during spring training, with a chance to make the major league roster. If he can show that he is fully healthy and generate his usual fair share of groundballs with his effective slider, he may become a major league contributor. At worst, this is another no-risk signing that provides AAA bullpen depth. Expect to see the Orioles use high number of arms throughout the year, with Schultz potentially being one.