SPS Alumnus Gets His Shot in the Major Leagues

(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) — After spending eight seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres minor league teams, Ryan Schimpf was finally called up to play second base for the San Diego Padres on June 14, making him the second St. Paul’s alumni to make it to the majors.

“As a program, we have only sent one other guy to the majors,” Head Baseball Coach Mick Nunez said, referring to Andy Canizaro, former Yankees infielder and SPS alumnus of the Class of 1997. “It’s been a long journey for (Ryan), and he stuck with it; now he’s in the big leagues and he’s excelling at it.”

Miami Marlins vs San Diego Padres
SPS alum and San Diego Padres’ Ryan Schimpf in his major league debuted during a game against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday June 14, 2016 in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Scott Wachter, San Diego Padres)

Schimpf is a 2006 alumnus of St. Paul’s and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009 after an outstanding career at LSU, which included a national title. His younger brother, Kyle Schimpf, is a class of 2015 graduate of SPS and is currently playing collegiate baseball at Hinds Community College.

During his three-year career at LSU, Ryan Schimpf made second-team ALL-SEC Team honors in his senior season. He also had a career .306 average with 38 home runs and 135 RBI’s. In the Tigers’ 2009 College World Series run, Schimpf was named to the All-Tournament team with a .348 average and three home runs.

Schimpf spent an entire eight seasons in the minors with the Padres and Blue Jays organizations. When he was finally called up to play second base in San Diego, he had proven his readiness for the league.

“Most guys after eight seasons in the minors would just cut it and leave the game,” Assistant Baseball Coach Ryan Spencer said. “He finally got that big call, and he has done nothing but capitalize since that moment.”

Schimpf greets fellow Tigers after hitting a home run in the 2009 College World Series. (Photo: Crystal LoGiudice, US Press Wire)

As a statement to his readiness for the league, Schimpf’s first major league at-bat was a double into right field. In the following month, Schimpf established himself as not only a solid, but an outstanding second baseman. As of Aug. 22, Schimpf has 38 hits, 34 RBI’s, and 14 home runs. Schimpf was awarded the National League Rookie of the Month for July after hitting an astounding nine home runs in just that month, a franchise rookie record.

Possibly the biggest challenge for Schimpf was overcoming the height disadvantage that has been a struggle all of his baseball career. Schimpf only stands at 5’9, when the average height of a major league player is around 6’1.

“I knew he was a small guy, and I knew it was going to be a challenge,” Coach Nunez said, “but he had a great swing, so we really never knew what his ceiling of capability was, and now he’s a major league ball player.”

As the Padres fight for a spot into the playoffs, Schimpf will look to finish the season as strongly as he has been playing recently, including the grand slam hit on Friday, Aug. 19, to win the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.



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