(Ed. note: Schlereth was not a part of the organization when the Top 50 rankings were done, but if he were ranked in the original rankings, this is where he would have been ranked, so for purposes of this profile and his ranking, consider him 8A)
Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Schlereth was part of a vaunted University of Arizona bullpen that featured Tigers first round pick Ryan Perry, and 2009 Giants fourth round pick Jason Stoffel. That trio dominated the back end of games for the Wildcats in 2008, and that domination led to both Perry and Schlereth going in the second half of the first round.
The Diamondbacks popped Schlereth with the 26th pick, and signed him for $1.3 million. Daniel appeared in 10 games for two D'Backs affiliates in 2008, working 12 innings of 1.50 ERA ball with just six hits allowed and six walks, while fanning twenty.
Promoted to Double-A for the 2009 season, Schlereth put himself squarely on the fast track to Arizona with a dominating run in Mobile, posting a miniscule 1.01 ERA in 26 2/3 innings of relief work over the course of the entire season. He allowed just 14 hits, and while he walked 16 in that span, he struck out a whopping 39 opposing hitters.
In May, the Diamondbacks pulled him to the big leagues, where he would make multiple appearances throughout the year. In total, Schlereth pitched in 21 games for the big league club, tossing 18 1/3 innings. Walks continued to plague him as he gave up 15 free passes, while also yielding 15 hits. The strikeouts that had always been present were again there, with nearly eleven per nine innings.
When you hear the scouting report for Schlereth, the Billy Wagner comparisons are almost inevitable. Frankly, the comparisons are not unwarranted given their overpower arsenals and their propensity for wildness.
Schlereth has a fastball with late life that sits in the 93-95 range, and regularly reaches 96 mph. The ball jumps out of his hand, and the small amount of effort in his delivery helps to add some deception. He struggles to command his fastball, and when he isn't focused on maintaining his mechanics and release point, he can have trouble throwing strikes of any kind; let alone quality strikes.
His curveball is a potential plus-plus pitch with devastating break. He throws it hard, and it typically sits in the low to mid-80s with good downward break. In similar fashion to the fastball, Schlereth struggles to command his breaker, but he has shown signs of being able to utilize it more effectively.
He rounds out his arsenal with a change-up that has good movement, and when he uses it regularly, his arm speed is good.
He is seemingly engrained with his father's (former Broncos offensive lineman Mark Schlereth) football mentality and intensity. He is aggressive on the mound, challenging hitters and refusing to back down.
Schlereth has legitimate closer potential, and at worst could be a very valuable high leverage reliever from the left side. He also has a very low floor that remains on the periphery because of his trouble throwing strikes.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG AA
By and large, Schlereth has been healthy. There were some concerns over his arm action in college, but it has cleaned up and he has demonstrated an ability to bounce back even after taxing outings. He works best in short one-inning stints, but could ultimately be good for 50-60 appearances a year.
Schlereth was optioned to Triple-A Toledo to start the 2010 season, as he again battled command issues in spring training. He could pitch in the big leagues right now with some success, but the hard work and instruction from the minor league coaching staff is far more valuable to both him and the organization right now. He should work in the late innings for the ‘Hens, and he could get some opportunities to close when the ball isn't handed to Jay Sborz.
While his ceiling is that of a top flight, and rare hard throwing lefty closer, there still remains significant flame-out potential for Schlereth. He must throw more strikes to be a successful big league pitcher. There is little doubt he will see time in Detroit this season, and if he pitches well, he could be a fixture in the Tigers' bullpen by the All-Star break.