H-F star pitcher Schlaffer celebrates draft by Cubs

Tyler Schlaffer has been a fan of the Chicago Cubs from the sandbox. Ever since he was little, the Homewood-Flossmoor High School alumnus dreamed of playing for that major league baseball team.

Cubs draftee Tyler Schlaffer posing with his parents, Augie and Sandy. Schlaffer finished off his senior season at Homewood-Flossmoor High with a 7-3 record and a 1.81 ERA. (Donald Crocker/H-F Chronicle)
  Cubs draftee Tyler Schlaffer
  with his parents, Augie and
  Sandy. Schlaffer finished his
  senior season at H-F High
  School with a 7-3 record and
  a 1.81 ERA.
  
(Donald Crocker/H-F Chronicle)
 

Now he's celebrating his literal dream come true, after being drafted by the Cubs in early June. 

When Schlaffer was younger, he even spent a few of his years in little league playing for the “Cubs” with Homewood Baseball. 

In 2014, a travel team that Schlaffer was on, the Homewood Hawks, made it to the Cal Ripken World series. They traveled to Maryland after winning the Cal Ripken Major 50/70 12-year-old Ohio Valley Regional. 

The Hawks lost, but head coach John Ogden saw something in Schlaffer that was different from most young baseball players. 

“He was always a hard worker. He had a lot of God-given ability down here and he dominated more often than not, to be honest. But he still put in the work,” Ogden said. 

On June 4, Schlaffer took one more step toward his dream of playing in the MLB after being drafted by the hometown Chicago Cubs in the ninth round at the 282nd pick. The picks holds a value of 149,800. 

“When I heard my name on the TV, it just felt surreal. It didn’t feel like I was in that moment. Just being in the MLB in general, but it being the Cubs just made it more special,” Schlaffer said. 

Schlaffer graduated from H-F in June and was committed to University of Illinois at Chicago. But he opted out of going to college and chose to pursue a professional career instead.  

On the night he was drafted, Tyler received a call from a Cubs scout in the 8th round. They asked him if he would play for the Cubs if they selected him in the 9th round and he said yes. 

“When the Cubs called, it really was a no brainer for Tyler. This could be his once-in-a-lifetime shot and he took it,” said Tyler’s mother, Sandy Schlaffer.

Schlaffer is widely known for his fastball getting up to a speed of 95 mph. The average fastball velocity in the MLB, according to fangraphs.com, is 92.8 mph as of 2018. 

Considering that Schlaffer will be starting out with the Rookie league affiliate of the Cubs, he is already ahead of the game. 

“When he puts his mind to something he’s going to get it done. He put his mind to get to the MLB and he’ll most likely get it done,” childhood friend and H-F teammate Jorge Santos said. 

Schlaffer will be spending the rest of his summer in Mesa, Arizona, to go through training and even play some games. He’ll get back here in October and will travel with
 the team for all of the 2020 year. 

“Everything is just crazy... And then after (the draft), it was a lot of calls from different people from the Cubs. Drug tests, physicals and all this different stuff I have to go through before I can leave to go to Arizona. It’s just been a lot of running around and getting different stuff done,” Schlaffer said. 

At the end of the day, he still has a long road ahead of him before his dream of making it to the show finally becomes a reality. 

“I want to make it to Wrigley Field; get through Rookie ball, Single A, Double A, Triple A and get to play in my home city with the team I grew up loving,” he said.
 

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