Under the Radar details players in the Chicago White Sox system who may have suffered setbacks, gotten lost in the shuffle, or just haven’t surfaced as significant prospects as of yet. Next up is Hunter Schryver, whose trade to the White Sox went relatively unnoticed, as it came just two days after the White Sox had acquired fellow southpaw Caleb Frare.
Hunter Schryver (LHRP) Winston-Salem Dash
Southpaw Schryver, a Mechanicsburg, Pa. native, had a respectable run as starting pitcher (despite his 13-23 record) for Villanova from 2014-17, where he struck out 249 hitters over 277 1⁄3 innings of work (20.6%). His results were solid but unexceptional for the Wildcats, as he compiled a 3.57 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .249 OBA and 122 walks (10.1%) during his four-year stint.
His senior season was arguably his best despite an increase in walks, as he posted a 2.44 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, .213 OBA, 11.8 BB%, 29.0% K% and no homers allowed. Others seemed to agree, as Schryver was named to the All-Big East team as a result of his efforts. The Tampa Bay Rays selected him in the seventh round of the 2017 MLB Draft, and immediately chose to convert the six-foot-one, 198-pound lefty to a bullpen role.
Schryver instantly took to his new role, and threw many more strikes out of the pen. His first team was the Hudson Valley Renegades, the Rays New York-Penn League short-season affiliate. In 20 outings encompassing 34 1⁄3 innings, Schryver posted a 3.12 ERA and 1.15 WHIP by allowing 35 hits (.252 OBA) and just five walks (3.4 BB%), while striking out 38 (26.0 K%). For an encore in 2018, he combined with Bowling Green (A) and Charlotte (A+) for a 2.40 ERA and 1.07 WHIP while surrendering just 38 hits (.212 OBA) and 14 walks (7.0 BB%); he also punched out 59 hitters in the process (29.5)%.
The White Sox traded international signing bonus pool money for Schryver on July 31, just two days after receiving higher-profile southpaw Caleb Frare from the New York Yankees in a similar deal.
In 15 innings over nine appearances for the Dash, Schryver continued to build upon his success, with a miniscule 1.20 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, .170 OBA (nine hits), 5.1 BB% (three walks), and 35.6 K% (21 strikeouts). This obviously was a small sample size, but was quite encouraging nonetheless.
According to Baseball America, Schryver owns a fastball that mostly runs 88-91 mph but has been clocked as high as 93. Other pitches in his repertoire include a spike curveball (often called a knuckle curve, which former hurlers Mike Mussina and Cliff Lee successfully deployed), and a changeup. He hasn’t been treated as a LOOGY, and for good reason — righties hit him slightly less this year (.201) than lefties did (.205), which points to the effectiveness of his change. Schryver’s career GO/AO ratio of 1.68 is terrific, and is largely a testament of the effectiveness of his spike curve and his ability to keep fastballs down. This ratio would be ideal for a bandbox like Guaranteed Rate Field.
My expectation is for Schryver to begin next season with Double-A Birmingham. The White Sox have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to southpaw relievers (of course, the righties aren’t too shabby, either), so he will need to continue his mastery in order to earn his way eventually to the White Sox roster.
Obviously some White Sox prospects will never make a Major League roster. However, there’s still a virtual smorgasbord of southpaw bullpen talent that should not only provide depth in upcoming years for the White Sox, but also supply the team with necessary trade bait when the team enters its window of contention.