In our first installment, we discussed one of dfa's favorite farmhands, Ronnie Welty. As one good turn deserves another, we're looking at one of mine: Kipp Schutz. I want to be up front with you guys. Kipp Schutz probably has a Reimoldian ceiling at best and is not, at this point, viewed by anybody (not even me) as a future cornerstone of the franchise. That being said, "Schutzy" (see http://twitter.com/#!/Schutzy23) just might have the tools to be a useful piece in the organizational puzzle going forward. I also have to confess that I have no good reason for being such a fan, except for a little bit of good old fashioned American underdog worship.
Schutz is an outfielder that bats left-handed and was initially drafted by the Orioles in 2006 after hitting .480 and slugging .763 his Senior year at Harrison High School in Evansville, IN, but decided to attend Indiana University where he played baseball and even six games as a walk on for the Hoosiers basketball team in 2008-2009. He was a Big 10 All Star for the Hoosiers in 2009 and also named first team all conference for the year. He ranked 3rd in batting average in the Big 10 and 8th in OBP for an overall .392/.453/.530 slash line. In two full seasons with the Hoosiers, he walked 55 times and struck out 58 while hitting 16 doubles and 6 home runs. Joe Jordan took another bite at the apple as he is wont to do, and selected Schutz in the 19th round of the 2009 draft. Schutz signed and opened up his pro career with an underwhelming campaign at Bluefield in 2009. The following season at Aberdeen, Schutz showed a modest improvement in OBP along with a solid spike in his SLG, enough to earn an invite to the New York Penn League All Star Game.
Schutz has mostly played left field and is not regarded as having any special defensive skill set, so if he's going to make it, it's going to have to be with his bat. Further complicating things for young Schutz is that if his bat is going to play in a corner outfield spot, he's going to need to generate more power. The good news is that his 6'4" frame, which has been described as "wiry" is also a projectable one meaning it's possible he could bulk up a bit. The plan to rebuild Kipp Schutz may already be under way as his SLG improved every year in college and at every stop in the minors prior to Frederick. If you were not aware, Schutz destroyed every thing in his path at Delmarva this year. In 38 games, he had a .381/.429/.568 slash line and 13 doubles 4 homers and 2 triples, nearly equalling the number of extra base hits produced in almost twice as many games at Aberdeen in 2010.
Things have not progressed so smoothly for Schutz at Frederick. His .244/.290/.360 slash line over his first 23 games is a bit discouraging, but he is still picking up extra base hits at about the same percentage he was hitting them in Delmarva. His walk rate, never a hallmark of his game, is down. That being said, his numbers do show an incremental upward trend in June versus May. Another thing to keep an eye on is the reverse platoon splits, albeit in a small sample size, he displayed in the lower rungs of the system.
In short, Kipp Schutz is worth keeping an eye on and if you strain your vision, you might see a credible major league outfielder. Here's hoping.