Tuesday, July 16, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: Lakewood RHP Andrew Schultz

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Andrew Schultz, image- Jay Floyd
Taken with the Phillies sixth round pick in this year's draft, righty reliever Andrew Schultz is off to a good start in his professional career.

The Tennessee product quickly signed with the Phillies last month and promptly made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League.  After putting his considerable velocity, which steadily clocks in the upper 90's, the organization promoted the six-foot-four 190-pounder to Class A Lakewood.

In 26 outings this year as a junior with the Vols, the 21-year-old tossed 25 innings, recording a 3-1 record, two saves, a 3.24 ERA and a 14.0 K/9 mark.

Outside of a troublesome debut with Lakewood, Schultz has looked impressive in the initial weeks of his professional career.

Recently, I spoke with Schultz about his rough debut with the BlueClaws, his notable fastball velocity, his draft experience and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.


-What was the draft experience like for you?  How did you get the news?  Were you watching it intently?

Yeah, yeah!  I was with some of my (college) teammates.  We were all watching together.  I had a decent idea of when (I would get picked).  So, I got together with a bunch of my teammates and watched it, so it was fun.

-What was the reaction from the guys around you when your selection comes up?  I imagine your heart rate goes up, maybe some adrenaline gets going for you, but what's their reaction?

I was definitely-- my heart rate was up, but I think they were more excited than I was, so it was cool.

-Did any of those other guys get drafted too?

Yeah, actually, we had a lot this year.  We had a really good team this year.  Garrett Stallings and Zach Lingenfelter, my two roommates actually.  They both got picked up, so it was pretty fun.

-Are you guys all keeping tabs on one another pretty closely from the different organizations now?

Yeah, we are still shooting texts back and forth, messing with each other, so...

-Any trash talking involved there?

No, no.  None of that.  Just good stuff.

-How has the experience been thus far?  Obviously, you go to Clearwater for a bit and you spend some time in the Gulf Coast League and then pretty quickly come here.  So, what has the few weeks been like for you?

It's been awesome.  Obviously, it's a little different than college.  There's a little learning curve but I'm getting out there, getting the hang of it and starting to feel better, so I'm enjoying it.

-I think you draw some attention for your velocity.  Does that excite you to see those radar gun readings the same as it excites the fans and maybe your teammates?

No.  The strikes excite me.  That's what I like.

-That's perfect.  You've had some good outings recently, but when you come out and have a rough debut (1/3 IP, 1H, 3BB, 4ER) and the control's not there, is that a lot of nerves for you, or something different?

No, we've been working on trying to keep a good rhythm, and I've felt better these past few outings.  The first one, obviously, was not very good, a lot of walks there.  But I've started to get in a little groove and I think it's going to be a lot better moving forward.

-What was the change there specifically?  What was it that took some getting used to, before you're good?

So, really like I just try to be quicker, because I've got a short arm action.  It's really quick and my arm moves fast, so I just try to be quick with the rest of my body.  Sometimes I'll get kind of slow with everything else, my arm kind of gets stuck, so I just try to keep that quick pace.

-What sort of impression do you have of your pitching coach Matt Hockenberry thus far?

That was actually his idea, talking about being quicker to the plate.  And I did it and immediately felt like I had better control that day.  I love talking to him, picking his brain.  And, obviously, he played and he's been through it, so he knows a lot of stuff.

-What is the vibe like with the team since you've been here?  Who are you rooming with?  Is there anybody here that you're close with?

I live with Tyler McKay and Michael Gomez.  Me and Gomez are real close.  We're right on top of each other in the room and we spend a lot of time together.  And, yeah, I'm good buddies with both of them.

-What's the night like after a day game and how do you spend your time away from the baseball field?

I think I may take a nap.  But with a little time off, maybe relax and just watch some TV.  Nothing too crazy.

-What are the normal hobbies for you?  Do you do video games or anything like that?

Yeah, I do play video games.  It's a good way to keep up with my roommates from school.  I play with them.

-What do you guys play?

Fortnite.

-Who rules?

Definitely me.

-Would they agree with that?

Yeah, for sure.

-Okay.  Let me go back to the draft day real quick.  You said you had, roughly, an idea of where you would be picked.  Were the Phillies a team that had been in touch, or did they come by surprise?

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