Patrick Schuster has a 90-mph fastball and a slider that ties hitters in knots. The senior lefthander at J.W. Mitchell High in New Port Richey, Fla., has been virtually unhittable all season—and completely unhittable the past month. Last week Schuster broke the Florida high school record for consecutive no-hitters when he threw his fourth, a 5--0 win against Pasco High. Schuster was scheduled to try for number 5 on Tuesday in a district tournament game in Clearwater. Success in that attempt would set up the 6'2" 170-pounder for a try at the national record of six.
So will the streak and the attendant national attention lift Schuster into the first round of the major league draft in June? Probably not. "I've been talking to scouts," Schuster said last week. "They're saying none of this is making a difference. They're seeing me in a specific round, and they're not going to change it. So I'm not going to worry about it."
Last November Baseball America ranked Schuster, who has signed a letter of intent to play for Florida, as the No. 79 draft prospect, meaning he's probably a second- or third-rounder. And it's unlikely his recent run has done much to improve his stock, because no-hit streaks are historically poor predictors of pro success.
Tampa's Sam Militello threw three in a row in 1987 and was taken in the sixth round by the Yankees in 1990. He was 4--4 in his brief big league career. Colt Molloy, who threw five straight no-hitters for Memphis (Texas) High in 2007, is at Cisco (Texas) Junior College, where he has a 4.95 ERA.
Then there's Tom Engle. In 1989 he threw six consecutive no-nos for Fairfield Union in Lancaster, Ohio, and was drafted in the second round by the Mets. Engle has gone on to become quite accomplished in sports; after two elbow surgeries (he never rose above Triple A) he wound up becoming a producer at ESPN. Two weeks ago he assisted on an interview for First Take. The interviewee? Patrick Schuster.
CHRIS O'MEARA/AP (SCHUSTER)
STINGY Schuster's fourth consecutive no-hitter set a Florida record.