Speaking with Paxton Schultz on Utah Valley University, being traded to the Blue Jays, and the 2023 season

Tyson Shushkewich
1 year ago
Born in Orem, Utah, Blue Jays prospect Paxton Schultz didn’t have to look too far when considering his post-secondary options to continue his baseball career, “I was born and raised in Orem and I had a close connection with the coach (Eric Madsen) and I got to know him and the rest of the staff very well and that made the decision very easy. My college choices pretty much boiled down to the University of Utah or Utah Valley but that connection with the staff and being close to home, Utah Valley was a great pick for me.”
With the Wolverines, Schultz posted a 4.61 ERA through 46 appearances (30 starts) and posted an 8.9 K/9 through 209.0 innings, earning Academic ALL-WAC honours all three years at Utah Valley University.
In his first appearance with the Wolverines, Schultz struck out four batters, three of which came in the eighth inning with all three sent down looking. “I remember my first weekend as a freshman, we were playing Wichita State and I came in as a reliever, and I went three innings, nine up, nine down, and I faced some talented players like Alec Bohm and Greyson Jenista. To have success at the next level early gave me a lot of confidence that season.”
After his Junior season in 2019, Schultz was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 14th round and finished the year in Rookie Ball with the Rocky Mountain Vibes, authoring a 3.86 ERA through nine appearances (one start) with just seven walks (2.7 BB/9) and striking out 22 batters to the tune of an 8.5 K/9.

Blue Jays prospect Paxton Schultz talks to Blue Jays Nation about his time at Utah Valley University, being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers, and his experiences after joining the Jays organization in May 2021…

“I knew there was a chance I could be drafted and I met with multiple scouts before the draft. After Day 2 of the draft passed, I didn’t hear anything. Right after those rounds ended, I got a bunch of calls and I told them all that I wanted to play. I was actually helping out at a kids camp at Utah Valley, following the draft tracker on my phone when my wife (then fiancé at the time) texted me, ‘congratulations!’ and I saw that it was the Brewers who had selected me. I talked to the Brewers scout a couple of rounds later and I was just so happy to get the opportunity to play professional baseball.”
Speaking on one of the biggest differences between college and professional baseball, Schultz touched on the workload expectations, “In pro ball, you’re on the field every day and going multiple hours and throwing on a five-day rotation. Once I found my routine and what works for me, that really helped me stay on and make sure my body was staying in good shape.”
Although COVID-19 derailed the Minor League season following his draft year, Schultz and some of his Brewers teammates found themselves being sent down to Australia in late 2020, playing with the Brisbane Bandits in the Australian Baseball League as the two clubs share a partnership to allow prospects to get some additional reps in during the winter months.

Schultz discusses being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays…

Upon his return from Australia in mid-February, Schultz went through Spring Training with the Brewers and was heading to his Minor League assignment in early May when it was announced that he was the ‘player to be named later’ from the Derek Fisher deal from mid-February, as the outfielder was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays and later traded to Milwaukee.
“I got a call from our farm director and I didn’t know what was going on. At first, I thought they maybe needed help in AA, I didn’t know I was on any trade radars and I wasn’t expecting to be moved. So I went back to the hotel and I was told that somebody from the Blue Jays will be in contact with me. Joe Sclafani (Assistant Director, Player Development at the time) called me and told me the plan was to get me down to Dunedin to the facility and have me throw a bit for the staff, so I flew there the next day. I spent a few days there and then I flew out to Pasco, Washington to join the Canadians who were playing the Tri-City Dust Devils at the time. In three days, I flew across the country multiple times but overall, I was very impressed with the Blue Jays organization, the new facility, and everybody I interacted with. I really love the player development side of the Blue Jays organization.”
In his first full season with the Blue Jays in 2021, Schultz pitched with the Vancouver Canadians and in 2022, the right-hander was promoted to AA where he pitched with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Last year, the Utah product amassed a 4.04 ERA through a career-high 104.2 innings with a 1.452 WHIP and an 8.5 K/9 while making 25 appearances (20 starts).
“I wanted to keep progressing and I was excited to join New Hampshire. Honestly, things didn’t go the best for me to start the year and it was frustrating to me. To make the transition from High-A and AA was a big jump and I just remember making some changes in my arsenal, throwing a harder slider and I started taking off in the second half of the year.”
Through his first 12 games last year with the Fisher Cats, Schultz owned a 5.84 ERA but for the remainder of the 13 games in the season, the right-hander put forward a 2.70 ERA and limited opposing hitters to a .706 OPS and allowed just 18 earned runs through 60.0 innings of work, striking out 52. “It boosted my confidence to finish strong and showed that it is up to me to see how far I can take it,” said Schultz.

Goals for the 2023 campaign…

Looking ahead to the upcoming season, Schultz continues to push himself and is looking to keep moving forward in the organization, “I want to continue progressing whether I am starting in AA and AAA to begin the year, but getting myself to be big league ready and keep developing as a pitcher and a person is a big goal of mine. I know there are things to work on to take those next steps and wherever I am playing, I will continue working on my consistency and work on making my craft the best I can make it and getting myself prepared for every start I can.”
Regardless of where Schultz starts the 2023 season, he is one pitching prospect to keep an eye on in the Blue Jays organization as he continues to work towards the big league roster over the coming years.


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