MINNEAPOLIS — Noah Schultz High School is less than 50 miles from Guaranteed Rate Field.
The Oswego East lefty now has another connection to the Chicago White Sox after he was selected with the 26th pick in the major league draft on Sunday.
“My heart stopped,” he said during a video conference on Sunday night. “It has always been a dream of mine to play in the major leagues. And get drafted by the hometown team. It’s something I’ve been waiting for all my life. It was surreal.”
The 6-foot-9 Schultz signed with Vanderbilt in November but said, “I’m now with the Chicago White Sox. It was a great school to commit to and I loved it, but I think this opportunity is something I couldn’t pass up and I’m excited to see what happens in the future.”
Ranked 49th in MLB.com’s list of the top 200 draft prospects.
“Noah is a rare talent, and it was a bit unexpected for us that he was available at the 26th pick,” Sox director of amateur scouting Mike Shirley said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited about his future.
“He’s a 6-foot-9 left-handed pitcher who moves very athletically. We think Noah has a huge ceiling, can anchor a future rotation and will be part of something very special for the White Sox. His talent and character speak loudly today and we believe they will speak louder in the future.”
Schultz said his father 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 I hope to go to a lot more and play for them soon,” Schultz said.
Perfect Game ranked the 18-year-old Schultz as the number one prospect in Illinois. He was the second Chicago-area high school pitcher to be selected in the first round this year. The Atlanta Braves drafted Riverside-Brookfield right-hander Owen Murphy with the 20th pick.
A native of Aurora, Schultz has made six appearances for 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 releases that I’ve been working on and I’m very confident in all of them and I’m excited to see how they can take off and become the best they can be in the future,” Schultz said.
According to the Red Sox, he missed most of his senior season at Oswego East due to illness and inclement weather. Schultz said that he wasted time with mono.
This is the second year in a row the Sox have selected a high school player with their first-round pick. Last year, drafted shortstop Colson Montgomery at No. 22.
Schultz is the first high school pitcher taken by the Sox in the first round since Providence’s Kris Honel in 2001.
The Sox have the third smallest bonus pool ($6,289,100) to be used in the top 10 rounds, according to MLB.com. The No. 26 pick is valued at $2,788,000.
Shirley said during a video conference on Friday, “At the end of the day, the preference may be a pitcher, but that doesn’t mean that if the right position player is available, we won’t go that route.”
In fact, the Sox went the route of the pitch.
“I never imagined myself being in this situation and now that it’s here, it’s really a display of all my hard work and it’s all paying off,” Schultz said. “It’s something I could never have imagined. It’s a dream to be able to play for the Chicago White Sox.”