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Cubs Prospect Perspective: Tyler Schlaffer

Thoughts about how quickly a high school pitcher signed and moved through the system.

Courtesy Homewood-Flossmoor High School

As much of what I do in baseball months involves baseball, when the winter months arrive, I have more time for other things. Or, other assessments of baseball, particularly the Cubs pipeline. Some might want me to have a different stress in my writing, or send pointed barbs toward one figure or another, but usually, I prefer to write positively about prospects. Or listen to music (I happily switch from operatic to symphonic to jazz or garage, and my tastes could be any on a certain hour of a certain day). I assess things, but in a different way from the very valued writers and researchers that create “stock screening profiles” for prospects. Here is my look at Tyler Schaffer.

Tyler Schlaffer, right-handed pitcher

Born May 24, 2001. Homewood, Illinois
Cubs 9th Round choice in 2019, Homewood-Flossmoor High School

Despite being a fan of orchestral music, I’ve yet to develop an appreciation for Zoltan Kodaly. When his stuff comes on, I’ll try to get what the raving is about, but in a few minutes, I’m checking my other favorite station presets. However, for those of you who enjoy hearing Kodaly, or have a few CDs of his music in your desert island collection, I’m not going to rag on you about it. Music is a very personal thing, and we enjoy what we enjoy. To criticize what someone else likes, while very 2020’s, isn’t particularly caring. Life can be horrible enough without someone demeaning you for what gets you through the day.

Now and again, I do catch heat because I write about prospects too much. As if I could write an article to do something of value, either in baseball or elsewhere. I’m too old and stubborn to even want to try writing articles because someone tells me to. I write here because I’m encouraged to write here. I’m a free agent. If you want me to write an article on something other than prospects, if you sponsor my efforts, then I might be intrigued. Otherwise, I’ll write on prospects and listen to music or an audiobook.

Schlaffer (pronounced Schlay-furr) wasn’t someone I expected much from. Pegged to go to UIC (a very reasonable follow if you are a committed Chicagoan looking for a college team to learn about during the lockout), it surprised me that he signed for as little as $250,000. Signing for $250,000, it surprised me how aggressively the Cubs pushed him in 2021 in Mesa.

Normally, starters go two or three innings, with a parade of relievers to follow. Schlaffer showed quite a bit of length in his three starts before getting promoted to Myrtle Beach. Schlaffer wasn’t looking to get pulled when someone reached base. As per usual, I wanted to hear announcers talking about “the new guy,” regardless whether the call was Sam Wiederhaft (the Pelicans’ very good announcer) or from the other side. How long was he lasting? Was he retaining his velocity? This guy lasted until the ninth round?

It isn’t that Schlaffer would be in my top 40 prospects in the pipeline. He wouldn’t be. However, for a pitcher to not get his doors blown off playing aged almost two years below most at his level? That’s actually reasonably impressive. For me, the draft is fun because all the signed players get to play rather early on, and I get to sort the incoming information as it comes in. The better I can do that, the better I can represent my craft, such as it is. That there’s no specific pressure on Schlaffer to perform (to make the 2019 draft class of value) is part of the joy of it.

Schlaffer has aleady shown he’s a worthy professional. He belongs in the Pelicans’ 2021 rotation, if healthy. From there, I’ll assess what comes along, and remind myself the joy of the Cubs getting preps signed and to full-season ball. More than a new Kodaly offering being highlighted on the satellite radio channels.