Chicago native Tyler Schlaffer has a simple approach in Cubs farm system: ‘Throw nasty stuff’
Tyler Schlaffer doesn’t try to do too much.
“Very relaxed,” Schlaffer said in an interview with Myrtle Beach Pelicans Productions recently. “I try to keep it that way.”
That mindset has served him well on the mound as he makes his way back home.
The Cubs selected the Chicago native (he was born in Harvey, Ill.) in the 9th round out of Homewood-Flossmoor High School in the 2019 MLB Draft.
Schlaffer was only able to make 3 appearances in the Rookie League in 2019 before the pandemic struck and wiped out the 2020 minor league season.
The right-hander threw 55 innings across 12 starts in 2021 between the Rookie League and Class-A Myrtle Beach.
The organization opted to keep him at Myrtle Beach to begin the 2022 campaign and Schlaffer excelled with a 3.82 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 84 strikeouts in 75.1 innings. He was particularly impressive over his final 4 starts (1.71 ERA, 0.86 WHIP) before earning a promotion to Advanced Class-A South Bend in late July.
Part of that success stemmed from the addition of a new pitch. The Cubs helped the 21-year-old incorporate a slider into his repertoire this season.
“Relative to his arm metrics, we know there’s a really, really good chance that he’ll be able to throw a really good slider,” Pelicans pitching coach Clayton Mortensen said. “With him, it actually turned out to be pretty simple. We gave him a new grip and just told him to rip it.
“The next thing you know, it’s like, ‘oh, we’ve got a really cool pitch here.'”
Schlaffer’s catcher agrees.
“Yeah, it’s gross,” Ethan Hearn said. “It’s disgusting.”
Schlaffer made only 1 start with the South Bend Cubs before landing on the IL but as a whole, this has been a really productive first season in affiliate ball.
For any prospect, making it to the major leagues is the goal. For a kid who went to High School about 45 minutes from Wrigley Field, that end goal is especially enticing.
But Schlaffer isn’t worrying about that yet.
“Wherever I’m at, I just try to pitch and not really think about the next step,” he said. “I don’t try to be super serious about it. Try to have fun and be relaxed.
“[My goal] is to stay focused, stay in the moment and honestly just strikeouts. Just keep striking guys out. That’s the main goal. And throw nasty stuff.”
Check out the entire profile on Schlaffer in the video above from MB Pelicans Productions.
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‘He glides across the outfield’: Cubs No. 3 prospect Kevin Alcantara showcasing tremendous potential with Myrtle Beach
‘There’s no limit on what he can do’: Cubs prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong continues his march toward Chicago