Tommie All-American pitcher Matt Schuld has signed a free-agent contract with the Minnesota Twins. He was expected to report to Fort Myers, Fla., over the weekend to join the Rookie League camp.
St. Thomas coach Chris Olean said Schuld likely will eventually be assigned to the Twins’ Gulf Coast League Rookie team. The right-handed Schuld wasn’t picked in the recent 50-round MLB first-year draft but he remained on the Twins’ radar.
Minnesota drafted 29 pitchers, although 14 are either college underclassmen or coming out of high school. Several of those prospects may not sign this summer.
“Matt is the best pitcher I’ve had in my 10 seasons at St. Thomas,” Olean said. “He deserved to get drafted, but at least he gets this free-agent opportunity. This is a good organization for him because the Twins like college pitchers and like guys who can get outs. It’s a great opportunity for him with his style of pitching.”
Schuld is the first Tommie since Jake Mauer in 2001 to sign with a major-league organization. In recent years a few Tommies have signed free-agent deals with the independent St. Paul Saints, including pitchers Lonnie Robinson and Brian Whinnery.
Schuld, who led the 2009 Tommies to the NCAA Division III championship, finished his college career with a 30-5 record to become the conference career wins leader. He closed with 239 strikeouts in 264 innings to finish third in UST history behind Dick Washburn (263 from 1963-66) and Olean (246 from 1996-99). He closed with a 2.93 ERA in 44 career appearances, with seven shutouts.
Schuld was a two-time All-American and in 2010 was named D3Baseball.com’s National Pitcher of the Year. He was named the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2010. Over the last two seasons, he was named National Pitcher of the Week three times and MIAC Pitcher of the Week five times.
A finance and management major who graduated with a 3.70 grade-point average, Schuld was also a two-time Academic All-American and was named the 2010 College Division Baseball Academic All-American of the Year as the top achiever among 34 honorees.
Schuld was especially effective in the clutch. He went 7-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 10 career postseason games, including a 3-0 record in elimination games. In the lone loss, he pitched into the 10th inning in the 2008 NCAA playoffs in a game that was tied 1-1 through nine innings. He also started and pitched 12 innings in a no-decision against UW-Stevens Point in the 2009 NCAA playoffs. He finished 11-1 in May games on his career.
Schuld guided St. Thomas to the 2009 NCAA championship with a 12-1 record, which included four postseason victories. He contributed to UST’s four regular-season and three MIAC playoff championship teams in his era.
Schuld was part of a 2010 pitching staff that led all NCAA teams in earned-run average at 2.41 and kept the 35-9 Tommies ranked in the national top 10 all season. He went 10-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 2010, including wins over St. Scholastica, Carthage (twice), Concordia, St. John’s (twice) and Augsburg. He collected a career win or save against nine of the 10 MIAC opponents. (He never faced Carleton.)
In March 2008, he threw six shutout innings against Trinity (Conn.) and came out of the game in the seventh inning with two on base and UST leading 1-0 in an eventual 7-2 loss. Trinity went on to win the NCAA Division III championship with a 45-1 record.
“He’s a great leader, he showed he could pitch on short rest and he could get outs when he needed them,” Olean said. “If anybody deserves a shot, it’s Matt. If the Twins give him a chance, I think they’ll really like him.”