We continue to work our way backwards in time through Philadelphia Phillies history from 1971-2019, and today we move on to the pitcher not previously covered in the series who features the combination of little impact on the 2016 Phillies and who is unlikely to have an impactful big-league career.
Patrick Schuster is a left-handed pitcher who bats right-handed. He was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft out of J.W. Mitchell High School in his native New Port Richey, Florida. The southpaw had set a Florida state high school record there by tossing four consecutive no-hitters.
After five games that first summer in the rookie-level Pioneer League, the Dbacks organization tried him out as a starter over the 2010-11 seasons but then transitioned him back to the bullpen where he would remain.
Schuster enjoyed a fairly solid minor league career. However, left unprotected for the December 2013 Rule 5 Draft, Schuster was selected by the Houston Astros. That very same day he was flipped by Houston to the San Diego Padres as the “player to be named later” in order to complete a deal from the prior day in which the Padres sent pitcher Anthony Bass to Houston.
That Rule 5 selection and trade began a series of moves over the next few years in which Schuster was shuffled through six organizations before, on August 12, 2016 he was selected off waivers from the Oakland A’s by the Phillies.
Schuster had made his big-league debut with Oakland a little over a month earlier. On July 5, 2016 at Target Field in Minnesota in a game that had been delayed by rain at the start by more than two hours, he entered with two outs in the bottom of the 7th inning and the A’s already trailing the host Twins by a 7-1 score.
Schuster struck out the only batter he faced, Max Kepler, to end the frame. So, manager Bob Melvin left him in for another shot in the bottom of the 8th as well. There, Schuster was tagged for a run on two singles and a walk. He was lifted with two outs for reliever Liam Hendricks, who promptly served up a three-run homer to Miguel Sano. Two of the runs were charged to Schuster.
After seeing action in Oakland for five games from mid-July through early-August, Schuster was placed on waivers, where he was selected by the struggling Phillies. Schuster was strong over a half-dozen games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and he was a southpaw. That combination prompted a promotion when rosters expanded in September.
On September 7, 2016, Schuster made his Phillies debut when manager Pete Mackanin sent him to the mound in the bottom of the 7th inning in place of starter Jeremy Hellickson. The Phillies trailed the host Miami Marlins by a 4-0 score at Marlins Park. Schuster walked the first batter he faced, Chris Johnson, but then retired the next two Miami batters. He was then replaced by Severino Gonzalez, who promptly surrendered back-to-back run-scoring doubles, with the first of those runs charged to Schuster.
Schuster would see action in a half-dozen games out of the Phillies bullpen over his month with the ball club. In the penultimate game of the 2016 season he earned his only decision in a Phillies uniform, taking the loss on October 1 at Citizens Bank Park in a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the New York Mets.
In all, Schuster surrendered 11 runs, 10 of those earned, and six hits over just two official innings pitched with the Phillies. He struck out two and walked four in that span, and has not pitched in the big-leagues since.
Granted free agency in October 2016, Schuster was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. They released him in June 2017, and Oakland picked him up once again that same day.
Granted free agency that following off-season, Schuster pitched with Sioux City of the American Association in Independent ball during the 2018 season. They dealt him to Fargo-Moorehead in May 2019, and he was then released in September. Schuster was not with any club this spring and his future as a pitcher in professional baseball at age 29 is very much in doubt.