Chicago White Sox select Noah Schultz, a left-handed pitcher from Oswego East, with the No. 26 pick in the MLB draft
Noah Schultz’s high school is less than 50 miles from Guaranteed Rate Field.
The left-hander from Oswego East now has another connection with the Chicago White Sox after they selected him with the No. 26 pick in the Major League Baseball draft Sunday.
“My heart stopped,” he said during a video conference call Sunday night. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the major leagues. And being drafted by the hometown team. It’s just something that I’ve been looking forward to my entire life. It was surreal.”
The 6-foot-9 Schultz signed with Vanderbilt in November, but he said: ”I am on the Chicago White Sox now. It was a great school to be committed to and I loved it, but I think this opportunity is something I could not pass up and I’m excited to see what happens in the future.”
He was ranked No. 49 in MLB.com’s list of the top 200 draft prospects.
“He’s a hometown kid that we’ve been tracking for a while,” Sox director of amateur scouting Mike Shirley said. “It’s an unique frame at 6-foot-9. He moves like he’s 6-foot. He moves easy in a big frame.
“He has unique skill sets. It’s an extreme talent who we think can anchor a rotation some day.”
The Sox drafted right-handed pitcher Peyton Pallette out of Arkansas in the second round (No. 62). Pallette, 21, was ranked No. 43 in MLB.com’s list of 2022 prospects.
“Another high-upside guy who we find fortunate to land,” Shirley said. “If Peyton Pallette would have pitched healthy this year, he would have been a possible first round pick. Peyton had Tommy John surgery on Jan. 31 of 2022, surgery went well. He’s already added 10 to 15 pounds since the surgery. We know he’s on the right track, headed in the right direction.
“I’m tickled to death to land two talents of this significance on day one.”
Schultz said his dad was a Los Angeles Dodgers fan and that was the team he always watched. He has made it to two Sox games this season.
“But looking forward to going to a lot more and playing for them rather soon,” Schultz said.
Perfect Game ranked Schultz, 18, as the No. 1 prospect in Illinois. He was the second Chicago-area high school pitcher to be picked in this year’s first round. The Atlanta Braves drafted Riverside-Brookfield right-hander Owen Murphy at No. 20.
A native of Aurora, Schultz has made six appearances with Illinois Valley in the Prospect League, going 1-0 with a 0.93 ERA. He has allowed two earned runs in 19⅓ innings with 37 strikeouts and just eight hits allowed.
He said he has a four-seam fastball, a slider and a changeup.
“Those are three pitches that I’ve been working on and very confident in all of them and excited to see how they can take off and become the best they can in the future,” Schultz said.
According to the Sox, he missed most of his senior season at Oswego East because of illness and inclement weather. Schultz said he missed time with mono.
This is the second straight year the Sox selected a high school player with their first-round pick. Last year, they drafted shortstop Colson Montgomery at No. 22.
Schultz is the first high school pitcher taken by the Sox in the first round since Kris Honel of Providence in 2001.
“If he doesn’t get mono, Noah Schultz could be going extremely high in this draft based on the first initial look of how he started his season,” Shirley said. “The breaking ball’s a real weapon. The changeup is really coming. It’s a definite three-pitch mix.
“If you watch how he operates and how he has some veteran to him where he manipulates counts with the breaking ball, that’s what’s significant.”
The Sox have the third-smallest bonus pool ($6,289,100) to be used on the top 10 rounds, according to MLB.com. The No. 26 pick is valued at $2,788,000.
Schultz was recommended by White Sox scout J.J. Lally.
“I didn’t ever picture myself being in this situation and now that it’s here, it’s truly a showing of all my hard work and everything paying off,” Schultz said. “It’s something that I never could have imagined. It’s a dream to be able to play for the Chicago White Sox.”
Shirley indicated Friday in a video conference that the Sox had an eye on pitching. They executed the plan Sunday.
“It’s an arms race out here,” he said. “We’re all in the same program trying to find and develop quality starters, and we feel like (Sunday) we landed two starters, guys that have the pedigree and the stuff to pitch at the major-league level. These two guys offer the weapons, the arsenal, the makeup to be starters and answer the bell every five days.”