In the 20th round of
the 2009 MLB First Year Player draft, the St. Louis Cardinals continued to scour
the small colleges for talent. The
choice was Scott Schneider, a right-hander out of St. Mary's in
This season, his first as a full-time pitcher, Schneider struck out 67 while walking 21 in 75.1 innings. One of the highlights of his season was a win over No. 24 San Diego in which he went six innings, allowing two runs (none earned) with nine strikeouts.
An infielder to start his career,
he was recruited by
Even with his accomplishments, he kept a 3.93 GPA his junior year, an especially impressive because he changed his major to prepare himself for pre-med.
Having only turned 21 two days
before the draft, Schneider was assigned to the Cardinals' New York-Penn League
Dustin Mattison: Can you take me through the excitement of draft day?
Scott Schneider: I will never forget draft day. To be honest, I wasn't even sure if I was going to get drafted at all. I had talked to a couple teams, but just a few phone calls. On day two, I was just trying to stay busy. I went to the gym in the morning and when I came back my dad, my girlfriend, and I followed the draft for a while. It was cool to see some of my friends and teammates drafted. After a while it became a little boring just watching the computer so we started getting ready to go get some lunch. I had just finished getting ready and the Yankee's called me. They made me an offer that sounded good so the scout said he would call me back. In the middle of the conversation one of my teammates had sent me a text message that said, "Congratulations." Little did I know that in the middle of the conversation the Cardinals drafted me! It all happened so fast. Immediately I started getting phone calls and text messages from friends and family. It was just a really exciting moment and I'll never forget it.
DM: What other teams besides the Yankees and Cardinals were you talking with? Did you expect the Cardinals could be one of the teams?
SS: Like I said the Yankees had talked to me as well. Other than them I talked to a Twins' scout and the Cardinals' Scout. The funny thing was that I had only talked to the Cardinals' Scout maybe a week before the draft. I really wasn't expecting much. I just thought it was kind of standard procedure for them to call guys and let them know to keep their phone's by them on draft day just in case. So to answer your question I didn't really expect the cardinals to draft me. I was thinking if I were going to go to anyone it would have been the Yankees.
DM: Tell me about your professional debut.
SS: My debut was pretty exciting. I was pretty nervous going in to it. In college I started so I knew exactly when I was going to pitch. I'm still a starter, but since they are trying to give me time to get my arm in shape I will pitch the back end of their "piggy back" system for the first couple outings. This made things a little more nerve racking. I just wanted to get in the game! When my time came to start warming up it was chaos in the bullpen. The sun was setting over the left field fence and the catcher's couldn't see. We thought about going to use the other teams bullpen but I doubt our pitching coach or manager would have approved. Eventually, we managed to get going and soon enough I was in the game. Once I was on the mound it was just another baseball game. I just tried to throw strikes and fortunately it all worked out. I actually had a 3-pitch inning, something I had never done before.
DM: What has it been like working with your Batavia pitching coach, Timothy Leveque?
SS: Tim is a great guy. He is going to let us go for our first couple starts to show them why we were drafted to begin with. It takes some pressure off because I can just go out there and pitch the way I did in college. He is very good with video as well. This makes him a great resource because he knows what he is looking at.
DM: What has been the biggest surprise of professional baseball so far?
SS: It is hard to say what my biggest surprise is about professional baseball. For one thing, it is a completely different type of game than college baseball. Less emphasis is put on winning, and more is put on development. Playing with guys from all over is also pretty interesting. Some speak very little English; some have accents, and some I even played against in high school. It is also weird to think that I am officially employed by the St. Louis Cardinals! I think that is pretty cool to say!
DM: When/how did the Cardinals' scout first make contact with you?
SS: The first contact I had from a cardinal's scout was questionnaire. My college coach gave it to me and told me to send it back ASAP.
DM: Can you give me a scouting report on Scott Schneider?
SS: If I were to give you a scouting report on myself I would say...Scott throws an 87-91 mph fastball with good sink, a slider, and a changeup. He's not going to blow it by you but he throws any of his pitches in any count. He throws strikes and keeps the ball down most of the time.
DM: If I done my research correctly this was your first season as a full-time pitcher, correct?
SS: Yes this was pretty much my first year as a pitcher only. In high school I was almost entirely a shortstop. When I got to college they let me do both. Even though I mostly pitched as a freshman, I took infield everyday and batting practice. My sophomore year I ended up being the starting third baseman and our Sunday starter. This year, I didn't play any infield. I still took bp but I didn't make nearly as many throws since I was focusing on my pitching.
DM: Getting drafted in the 20th round after your first full season as a pitcher is impressive. Have you considered what if you would have become a full-time pitcher sooner?
SS: I have definitely thought about the "what if I only pitched" scenario, but at this point it doesn't really matter. My foot is in the door, now I have to produce. Sure it would have been nice to been drafted higher, but I can't complain. In some ways it may have helped me playing a position. Some may say I'm more athletic from being a position player as well. I think I have greater insight into pitching since I hit all my life. There are plenty of kids that would do a lot to be in my position. I'm just excited to be here and have a chance to pursue my dream of playing in the big leagues.
DM: How gratifying is it to have been drafted after not making your high school's varsity squad as a sophomore?
SS: I was pretty bummed when I didn't make the varsity team as a sophomore in high school. I didn't end up having a good year and it was pretty discouraging. At that point, I just wanted to play in college. I think it just gave me more motivation to practice and train harder. That determination is the only reason I think I even got a chance to play in college. Looking back, I don't think anyone could have predicted this would have happened, not even myself. I'm just happy all my hard work has paid off.
DM: I figure it was not a hard decision to put med school on hold for baseball. You are pre-med correct?
SS: Laughing, definitely a no-brainer. Actually my major is Health and Human Performance. I am planning to go pre-med. By the time I decided I wanted to pursue medicine it was a little late for me to become a Health Science major. St. Mary's doesn't really have a pre-med major. Health Science is the closest to pre-med and it is a bunch of extra science classes. It would have been nearly impossible to take the classes and labs for that major. Fortunately my dad is a doctor and he explained that there isn't that many requirements for pre-med. I've already taken some of them, but it will take me another semester or two to finish all of them. If baseball doesn't work out, it is still my plan.
DM: When you are not playing baseball, how do you like spending your time?
SS: When I'm not playing baseball I like to do a lot of things. I love golf. I've played since I was a little boy and I think it's a great sport. I am also fortunate to have made a lot of good friends in college and hanging out with them is always fun. I also enjoy playing guitar, fishing, and working out.
DM: What should Cardinal fans know about you that they probably don't know?
SS: I'm just an ordinary guy. There isn't really anything special about me to be honest. I just like playing baseball and having fun. They don't need to be afraid to approach me. I have no problem talking to fans or signing autographs. I was once on the other side of the fence so I understand what its like.
I thank Scott for his time and wish him the best in what is hopefully a long professional career.
Scout.com Cardinals 2009 Draft Interview Series
Ross Smith (14th round)
Robert Stock (2nd round)
Dustin Mattison can be contacted at email@example.com.
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