Nate Schierholtz

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Nate Schierholtz
SchierholtzAB.jpg
Schierholtz with the San Francisco Giants
Washington Nationals – No. 17
Outfielder
Born: (1984-02-15) February 15, 1984 (age 30)
Reno, Nevada
Bats: Left Throws: Right
MLB debut
June 11, 2007 for the San Francisco Giants
Career statistics
(through July 10, 2014)
Batting average .256
Hits 517
Home runs 50
Runs batted in 222
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Nathan John Schierholtz (born February 15, 1984), nicknamed "Nate the Great," is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He stands 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighs 215 pounds (98 kg). Previously, he has played for the San Francisco Giants (2007–2012), Philadelphia Phillies (2012) and Chicago Cubs (2013–2014). He bats left-handed and throws right-handed.

After one year at Chabot College, Schierholtz was selected by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 2003 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft. He reached the Major Leagues in 2007 but did not make the Giants' roster full-time until 2009. In the meantime, he played for the 2008 USA Olympic Baseball Team, which won a bronze medal. In 2009 and 2010, he served mostly as a pinch hitter and defensive substitution, winning the World Series with the Giants in 2010. By May 2011, he had gotten everyday playing time in right field due to the benching of Pat Burrell; however, he would break his foot in August and miss the end of the season. He lost his right field job in 2012 and, after an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies as part of the deal that brought Hunter Pence to San Francisco. Schierholtz broke his right big toe with the Phillies, causing him to miss a few weeks, and he was made a free agent by them after the season. He signed with the Chicago Cubs and, for the first time in his career, got to play right field every day for the whole season, setting career-highs in many categories. He re-signed with the Cubs in 2014. On August 7th, 2014, Schierholtz was designated for assignment after having a poor year of baseball.

High school and college[edit]

Schierholtz attended San Ramon Valley High School in Danville, California, the same high school as former Giants teammate Randy Winn.[1] At San Ramon Valley, he served as the team captain and was named the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times.[2] Following high school, Schierholtz played for Chabot College, a community college located in Hayward, California. He spent the 2003 season with Chabot, starting at third base.[3] In his lone season at Chabot, he was named an All-American.[4]

Professional career[edit]

Schierholtz was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the second round (63rd overall) of the 2003 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft. He began his minor league career that year as a third baseman with the rookie Arizona League Giants, batting .400 in 11 games before getting promoted to the Single-A short season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes of the Northwest League.[2] In 35 games for Salem-Keizer, he hit .306 with 38 hits, three home runs, and 29 runs batted in (RBI).[5] He began the 2004 season with the Single-A Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League, earning All-star game honors for that league. He batted .296 with 53 RBI in 58 games and was leading the league in home runs (15) and extra-base hits (37) before getting promoted to the Single-A advanced San Jose Giants of the California League.[2] At San Jose, though still receiving significant playing time as a third baseman, he began to play the outfield as well.[5] In 62 games with San Jose, he batted .295 with three home runs and 31 RBI. He was second on the team with nine triples after not hitting any with Hagerstown. He was third among Giants' prospects with 18 home runs and ranked second with 84 RBI in 2004.[2]

In 2005, Schierholtz remained at San Jose, where he became an everyday right fielder. Over 128 games, he batted .319 (fifth in the California League) with 160 hits (tied with Chris Lubanski, Seth Smith, and Clay Timpner for fifth), 37 doubles (tied with Danny Putnam for eighth), eight triples (tied with Wladimir Balentien, Danny Richar, and Joe Gaetti for third behind Timpner's 12 and Anthony Webster's 11), 15 home runs, and 86 RBI.[6] He batted .333 in the playoffs, helping San Jose win the California League championship.[2]

Schierholtz moved up to the Double-A Connecticut Defenders of the Eastern League in 2006. In 125 games, he batted .270 with 127 hits, 14 home runs, and 54 RBI.[5] He led the Defenders in most major batting categories and finished sixth in the Eastern League with seven triples.[2][7] Entering the 2007 season, Schierholtz was ranked the eighth-best prospect in the Giants' organization by Baseball America.[8] That year, he was assigned to the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League. He spent most of the season with them. In 109 games, he had 137 hits, 31 doubles, 16 home runs, and 68 RBI. He finished third in the league in batting average (.333, behind Geovany Soto's .353 and Delwyn Young's .337) and triples (seven, tied with Scott Seabol behind Reggie Abercrombie's and Jeff Salazar's nine).[9]

San Francisco Giants[edit]

2007[edit]

Giants' manager Bruce Bochy considered calling up Schierholtz in May 2007 when Dave Roberts started suffering elbow problems, but an injury to Schierholtz prevented that. On June 11, Schierholtz was called up to replace Dan Ortmeier and try to give the Giants some offensive help.[10] He made his major league debut that day, against the Toronto Blue Jays as a defensive replacement.[11] He got his first hit the next night, against A. J. Burnett in his first career at bat in a 3–2 victory over Toronto.[12] During this stint, Schierholtz received most of the starts in right field.[13] His most notable moment while on the big league club in 2007 was on June 23, at AT&T Park against the New York Yankees, when he blooped an RBI single into center field against Scott Proctor in the bottom of the 13th inning to win the game 6–5 for the Giants.[14] Despite a .325 batting average in 40 at bats, Schierholtz was sent down at the start of July to make room for Rich Aurilia, who was returning from the disabled list.[15][16] He was recalled in September, and he received most of the starts in right field that month.[13] In 39 games (112 at bats), he batted .304 with 34 hits, five doubles, three triples, 10 RBI, and two walks.[2]

2008[edit]

Schierholtz in 2008

In 2008, Baseball America ranked Schierholtz the fourth-best prospect in the Giants' system.[17] He attended spring training with the Giants but started the season in Fresno.[2] He was again called up in September 2008, as the Giants' roster expanded, and he was used as the Giants' starting right fielder for the remainder of the year.[18][19] On September 3, he had four hits in a game for the first time in a 9–2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.[20] Three days later, he hit his first career home run against Jesse Chavez in a 7–6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.[21] In 19 games (75 at bats) in 2008, Schierholtz hit .320 with 24 hits, eight doubles, one triple, one home run, and five RBI.[2]

2009[edit]

Schierholtz started the 2009 season as a pinch hitter.[22] In June, he saw his playing time increase as Randy Winn, the Giants' right fielder, began playing left field frequently in place of Fred Lewis.[22][23][24] On June 14, he had an inside-the-park home run, only the fourth in AT&T Park history, in the third inning against Brett Anderson of the Oakland Athletics in a 7–1 victory.[25] He had four hits on June 28 in a 7–0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.[26] From July 28 through August 12, he was on the disabled list with a bruised left hip.[2][27] He saw his playing time reduced in September as Winn moved back to right field to give Eugenio Vélez and John Bowker opportunities in left.[22][23][28][29] In a career-high 116 games (285 at bats) in 2009, Schierholtz batted .267 with 76 hits, five home runs, and 29 RBI. He had the third-highest batting average for a pinch hitter in the majors (.371, behind Smith's .472 and Hideki Matsui's .381).[2]

2010[edit]

Schierholtz was expected to be the Giants' Opening Day right fielder in 2010, but Bowker won the position after hitting six home runs in spring training.[30] Bowker, however, only held the job for 10 games before Schierholtz replaced him on April 17.[31][32] In his first 16 games in the role, he batted .393, but over his next 19, he batted .154.[32] When Buster Posey was called up in late May, Aubrey Huff moved from first base to right field, leaving Schierholtz on the bench.[33][34][35] After Bengie Molina was traded, Posey switched from first base to catcher, but Travis Ishikawa began getting some starts at first base, creating a platoon between Schierholtz and Ishikawa, with Huff covering first base or right field depending on who was playing.[32][34][36][37] When José Guillén was acquired on August 13, Schierholtz was relegated to the role of pinch-hitter and late-inning defensive substitution for the rest of the year.[32][38] In 137 games (227 at bats), Schierholtz batted .242 with 55 hits, 13 doubles, three triples, three home runs, and 17 RBI.[2]

Schierholtz received regular playing time throughout the postseason as a defensive replacement for starting outfielder Pat Burrell. Burrell was one of the best hitters on the Giants, but was a poor defender in the outfield.[39] Whenever the Giants held a lead in the sixth inning or later, Bochy would remove Burrell from the game, shift Cody Ross from right field to left field, and place Schierholtz in right field. This strategy was meant to provide the Giants with the best possible defensive outfield and, thus, the best chance of holding the lead and winning the game.[40][41][42] Schierholtz ultimately appeared in 11 of San Francisco's 15 playoff games, accumulating 13 plate appearances and recording an RBI in Game 1 of the 2010 World Series against the Texas Rangers.[2] In Game 4, a night when Bochy chose to start several of his backups, he got his first start of the postseason, playing right field in the Giants' 4–0 victory.[43] The Giants won the World Series in five games, their first World Series victory since 1954.[44]

2011[edit]

Schierholtz in 2011

Schierholtz hit a 467-foot home run at Coors Field on April 18, 2011, against Esmil Rogers in an 8–1 victory over the Rockies.[2][45] At the start of May, Schierholtz took over the Giants' right field job, due to a slump by Burrell.[46][47][48] He hit a game-tying, two-run pinch-hit home run against Grant Balfour on May 22 in an 11-inning, 5–4 victory over Oakland.[49] He had a game-tying RBI single in the ninth inning on June 1 against Fernando Salas and a game-winning RBI single in the 11th inning against Ryan Franklin in a 7–5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.[50] On July 6, against the San Diego Padres, Schierholtz recorded his first multi-home run game. In the bottom of the 14th inning of that game, he hit a walk-off home run against Pat Neshek that secured a 6-5 victory for the Giants.[51] Two days later, he had a splash hit home run against R.A. Dickey in a 5–2 loss to the New York Mets.[52] Following the acquisition of Carlos Beltrán on July 28, Schierholtz began playing some left field for the first time in his career.[2] He broke his right foot against the Atlanta Braves on August 15, appearing in five more games before the injury became too severe to play through. He was placed on the disabled list on August 27 (retroactive to August 22), and, though initially expected to return, he missed the rest of the season.[53][54] In 115 games (335 at bats), Schierholtz hit .278 with 93 hits, 22 doubles, nine home runs, and 41 RBI.[2] He said of his 2011 season, "I was able to contribute to the team this year. That was a positive thing I can take from the season."[54]

2012[edit]

In 2012, Schierholtz started the season as a bench player, but five games into the season he found himself back in the lineup as the Giants' everyday right fielder.[55] On April 23 and 24, he had back-to-back three-hit games against the Mets.[2] He batted .372 over his first 14 games but hit just .048 over his next seven. When May started, Bochy benched him in favor of Gregor Blanco.[55][56] On July 18, in an interview with Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, he said that Bochy had told him in May that he did not view him as an everyday player. He said that, while he did not ask for a trade, ""I think whatever the best fit for the team and me is would be ideal. I can't really make those decisions. It's all up to them. Whether I'm here or not I'm going to give my best effort every day and bust my tail."[57] That weekend, he started three games against the Philadelphia Phillies in right field, partly because Blanco and Ángel Pagán had been struggling.[58] On July 22, Schierholtz hit two home runs against Joe Blanton, the second of which forced the game into extra innings. However, the Giants would lose 4–3 in 12 innings.[59] In 77 games (175 at bats), Schierholtz hit .251 with 44 hits, four doubles, five triples, five home runs, and 16 RBI.[2] At the trade deadline on July 31, Schierholtz was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies along with minor league catcher Tommy Joseph and minor league pitcher Seth Rosin for outfielder Hunter Pence.[60]

Philadelphia Phillies[edit]

Upon Schierholtz's arrival in Philadelphia, manager Charlie Manuel said he wanted to give Schierholtz everyday playing time for the rest of the year, in order to assess him.[61] In the transaction Schierholtz changed his number from 12 to 22.[62] He homered against Edwin Jackson in his debut, a 3–2 victory against the Washington Nationals.[63] However, Schierholtz was sent to the disabled list on August 13 after fracturing his right big toe.[61] He remained on the disabled list until September 1.[64] On September 7, he delivered a game-ending RBI single against Will Harris, giving the Phillies a 3–2 win over Colorado.[65] Schierholtz appeared in 33 games with the Phillies, batting .273 with 18 hits, four doubles, one home run, and five RBI. In 114 games (241 at bats) with Philadelphia and San Francisco, he batted .257 with 62 hits, eight doubles, five triples, six home runs, and 21 RBI.[2] After the season, the Phillies non-tendered Schierholtz, making him a free agent. They chose to non-tender him because they were only projecting him as a fifth outfielder, and Schierholtz was due for a pay raise.[66][67]

Despite being traded to the Phillies, Schierholtz received his second World Series ring from the Giants due to his contributions during the first half of the 2012 season with the team.[68]

Chicago Cubs[edit]

On December 5, 2012, Schierholtz signed a $2.25 million, one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs to be their starting right fielder.[67][69] From June 4 through 18, he set a career-high with a 10-game hitting streak.[2] On June 14, he had two triples in a game for the first time in his career in a 14-inning, 6–5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.[70] On June 22, he set a career-high with his 10th home run of the season in a 4–3 loss to the Houston Astros.[71] He batted .286 with 11 home runs through June 30 but saw his average sink to .218 for the rest of the season, although he would hit 10 home runs.[72] On July 24, he had a career-high five RBI, including a game-winning RBI double against David Hernandez in the 12th inning of a 7–6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.[73] Three days later, he hit a home run against Sergio Romo in a 1–0 victory over the Giants.[74] Schierholtz reset his career-high in RBI with six on August 19, including home runs against Jordan Zimmermann and Fernando Abad in an 11–1 victory over the Washington Nationals.[75] In 137 games (462 at bats), Schierholtz batted .251 with career-highs in hits (116), doubles (32), home runs (21), runs scored (56), and RBI (68). Defensively, he posted a .988 fielding percentage.[2]

On January 17, 2014, Schierholtz signed a $5 million, one-year deal to remain with the Chicago Cubs.[76] On June 3, he had a game-ending RBI single against Scott Rice, giving the Cubs a 2–1 victory over the Mets.[77] He was designated for assignment by the Cubs on August 6, 2014.[78]

Washington Nationals[edit]

On August 18, 2014, Schierholtz signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals, and was assigned to the AAA Syracuse Chiefs.[79] The Nationals selected Schierholtz's contract on August 23.[80]

2008 USA Baseball Olympic Team[edit]

Olympic medal record
Competitor for  United States
Men's baseball
Bronze 2008 Beijing Team

In 2008, Schierholtz was batting .314 with fifteen home runs and 65 runs batted in for the Grizzlies when his minor league season ended as a result of his being selected for the 2008 USA Olympic Baseball Team. In the sixth inning of a preliminary round game against China, he collided with China backup catcher Yang Yang at the home plate on a sacrifice fly, a play that resulted in a near brawl between the teams and saw Chinese manager Jim Lefebvre ejected from the game.[81] Schierholtz played nine games with the Americans, batting .216 with four doubles, one home run, and six RBI as the United States earned a bronze medal.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Schierholtz married Kate Eveland, a former guard on the San Diego State basketball team on December 3, 2011.[82] He is the son of Vai, Sr., and Karen Schierholtz and the oldest of four children (Cainan; Vai, Jr.; and Sophia).[83] Cainan, his younger brother, was arrested on a DUI in 2004 and was charged with another DUI and felony hit-and-run on August 1, 2010. Nate said, "Obviously, it's very upsetting... It's just something very irresponsible and he's going to have to do some decent time for what he's done. I'll stick by him and support him to get the counseling he needs."[84] Vai, Jr., his youngest brother, attended the Air Force Academy and played baseball for the Falcons.[83] His mother lives in Alamo, California; her house burned down in 2009 but was rebuilt.[84]

Schierholtz bats without batting gloves, one of the few Major Leaguers to do so.[2]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]