Trio of Vol Pitchers Taken in first 9 Rounds of 2019 MLB Draft

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(Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

After Tennessee third baseman Andre Lipcius was taken in the third round of Tuesday’s 2019 MLB Draft, a trio of Vol pitchers were selected in the next few rounds.

Garrett Stallings, Andrew Schultz, and Zach Linginfelter all were picked within the first nine rounds of the 2019 MLB Draft. Both Stallings and Linginfelter were selected by the Los Angeles Angels, and Schultz was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Stallings, the ace of UT’s pitching staff this season, was taken with the 151st overall pick in the fifth round by the Angels. The slot value of the 151st pick according to MLB.com is $353,700.

The Vols’ top pitcher helped lead Tennessee to its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2005 and its highest finish in the SEC East in 14 years.

The Chesapeake, Virginia native went 8-5 this season with an ERA of 3.33 in 16 starts. Stallings recorded 106 strikeouts after combining to strikeout 76 over the first two years of his career.

As a junior this season, Stallings led Tennessee in wins (8), complete games (2), innings pitched (102.2), and strikeouts (106). Opponents hit .270 off of Stallings, but he allowed just 16 walks and 38 unearned runs, limiting the damage once runners got on base.

Stallings won SEC Pitcher of the Week on April 15th following a dominating performance against No. 2 Georgia. Against the Bulldogs, he pitched a complete game shutout to lead the Vols to a 2-0 win.

This season, Stallings was named the 2019 SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year and earned a spot on the All-SEC Defensive Team.

Entering the season, he was rated as the No. 119 overall prospect for the 2019 draft by D1Baseball.com and the No. 29 2019 MLB Draft prospect among SEC players by Baseball America.

As a sophomore, Stallings finished second on the team with five wins, two saves, 78.2 innings pitched, and two complete games. He started 12 games in Tony Vitello’s first season at the helm. Off the field, he was a member of the 2018 Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Under former coach Dave Serrano as a freshman, Stallings appeared in 20 games and secured a spot as the Saturday starter. He went 3-4 with a 3.47 ERA and 39 strikeouts through 70.0 innings of work.

Stallings is expected to sign with the Angels, and if he does, he’ll finish his Tennessee career 16-14 with an ERA of 3.76. In 251.1 innings, he struck out 182 hitters and allowed just 37 walks.

Stallings majored in Supply Chain Management during his time at Tennessee.

Coming out of high school, he was listed as the No. 6 right-handed pitcher and No. 9 overall player in the state of Virginia by Perfect Game entering the 2016 Major League Draft. Stallings was also named one of the top-100 right-handed pitchers in the nation during his senior season at Grassfield High School.

In the next round, relief pitcher Andrew Schultz was taken by the Philadelphia Phillies in the sixth round of the draft with the 180th overall pick.

Following a rough sophomore year where he was 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA, Schultz saw his ERA improve to 3.24 in his junior year with the Vols. The junior pitched 25.0 innings in 26 appearances and allowed just nine runs on 17 hits. With a fastball that is capable of touching 101 MPH, Schultz struck out 39 hitters in those 25 innings.

Schultz did struggle with command at times, walking 22 batters. But opponents hit just .191 off of him this season. He recorded two saves this year — both coming in his first two appearances of the season against Appalachian State and Indiana.

As a freshman in 2017, Schultz appeared in 17 games for the Vols, going 1-0 with one save, a 3.31 ERA, and 19 strikeouts through 16.1 innings of work.

In high school, the 6-foot-4 flame-thrower was a four-year letterman from Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, Georgia. Schultz was named the No. 22 right-handed pitcher among Baseball America’s Top 500 Prospects entering the 2016 Major League Draft. He was also rated as the No. 4 right-hander and the No. 114 overall player in the state of Georgia entering his senior season by Perfect Game and tabbed as the No. 34 right-handed pitcher in the nation.

While at Tennessee, Schultz majored in business analytics.

He finishes his career as a Vol with a 4-3 record and a 4.56 ERA. In 49.1 innings of work, Schultz struck out 67 hitters. He picked up three saves over the course of his career.

Schultz joins former Tennessee pitcher Zach Warren in the Phillies organization. Warren, who was drafted in the 14th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, plays for Philadelphia’s Class-A Advanced affiliate, the Clearwater Threshers.

Just a few rounds later, Zach Linginfelter came off the board. He was taken with the 271st overall pick by the Angels, joining Stallings with the Angels’ organization.

Linginfelter had a very up-and-down year with the Vols in 2019. At times, Linginfelter looked like he could be the ace of Tennessee’s staff, but other times he struggled with command and gave up home runs.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander from Sevierville earned SEC Pitcher of the Week after a dominating performance against Indiana in late February, pitching six shutout innings and striking out 13 Hoosiers while only allowing two hits.

But as good as he looked then, he looked just as bad in UT’s last game of the season.

Linginfelter was roughed up for four runs in the first inning against North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament, and he was replaced before he could even get out of the opening inning.

The talented but inconsistent righty finished this past season with a career-worst 5.64 ERA and a 6-6 record. Opponents hit just .239 against him, but he gave up a career-high 10 home runs this season, double the amount he allowed as a sophomore. He struck out 71 batters in 68.2 innings and had 27 walks.

According to the MLB, the slot value pick for Linginfelter is roughly $153,300.

Linginfelter entered the season as the No. 138 overall prospect in the 2019 draft class according to D1Baseball.com.

For Tennessee, this year’s draft marks the first time since 2017 that three Vol pitchers have been taken in a single MLB Draft, and it’s the first time ever that three Vol pitchers have been selected in the first nine rounds of a draft. It also marks the first time since 2001 that Tennessee has had four players taken in the first nine rounds of the MLB Draft. That year, the Vols had two players (Chris Burke, Wyatt Allen) selected in the first round, and Jeff Christensen and Stevie Daniel were taken in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively.



Ben McKee
Ben McKee is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and has a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He grew up an Army brat and lived in Alabama for a bit, but he bleeds orange. He covers Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, and the Lady Vols for RTI, and he's also a co-host on the RTI Live Show and RTI Podcast. You can also hear Ben on the morning sports radio show "The Swain Event." He's the producer and co-host along with former Vol wide receiver Jayson Swain.