Why Neal Huntington Liked A.J. Schugel Enough to Claim Him Off Waivers

Sep 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher A.J. Schugel (35) delivers against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher A.J. Schugel (35) delivers against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /
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A.J. Schugel has been claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Schugel is the latest pitcher to join the growing stockpile of pitchers in the Pirate arsenal.  Prior to today’s transaction, the Mariners claimed him off waivers in December 2015 from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

As Bill Brink in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has tallied up the Pirates have signed 13 pitchers since the end of the 2015 season.  With the loss of big names like A.J. Burnett, Charlie Morton, Joakim Soria, J.A. Happ and most recently Antonio Bastardo – the Pirates are left with many big shoes to fill. 

Related Story: A Short Goodbye for Bastardo

Schugel made his major league debut last year on April 12 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.   He allowed 13 runs, five earned in five appearances for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015.

According to Pirates general manager Neal Huntington [to Brink], “A.J. is a guy that can run up a fastball in the low- to mid-90s, a solid fastball,” and “We like the changeup a lot. We think there may be a little bit more breaking ball to come.” 

The 6’0” tall right-hander was originally drafted in 2010 draft in the 25th round by the Los Angeles Angels. Schugel showed good control in his 21 outings in the Diamondbacks minor league system last year recording an above average walks per 9 inning ratio of 2.5 (BB%). Although not known for great velocity, Schugel’s fastball has movement which could help propel him into a long term role with the Pirates.