Batavia Muckdogs Starter of the Year: 2009

His manager comments on Scott Schneider's rookie season as the 21-year-old is named as our top starting pitcher from the Cardinals New York-Penn League affiliate in 2009.

When manager Mark DeJohn of the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League calls pitcher Scott Schneider a "sleeper", he considers it quite a compliment. After all, the context is in the right-hander becoming a major leaguer.

It is not surprising the 21-year-old didn't initially stand out. After all, Schnieider was taken from St. Mary's of California in day two of this June's draft in the 20th round, the 609th player taken overall and physically is a very average 6-feet, 190 pounds.

"Schneider is a sleeper for me. He is a competitor," DeJohn noted. "He doesn't have overpowering stuff but he's got good movement. He can throw his slider for strikes. He's got pitchability."

Initially assigned to Batavia, Schneider hit the ground running. In his first full month as a professional, he posted a 1-0 record and added a save in 21 2/3 July innings, allowing just two runs for an ERA of 0.83. He fanned 27 opposing hitters while walking six and held opponents scoreless in five of his six outings.

Schneider was named both the Cardinals organization and our Pitcher of the Month for July and by the second week in August, he was promoted to the full-season Quad Cities River Bandits of the Midwest League.

DeJohn was suitably impressed. "He went to Quad Cities and had some success there. It is a long season for these guys, an adjustment, and he did well. He started at a level and moved a level in his first season, so that is very good."

Overall in 12 games, five starts for the Muckdogs totaling 39 1/3 innings, Schneider's ERA was 0.92. He struck out 47 and walked just eight, holding opposing hitters to a collective .175 batting average. His ground out to fly out ratio was just under two to one.

Despite all the whiffs, don't think of Schneider as a strikeout pitcher, DeJohn warns.

"That happens a lot in the minor leagues. I don't see him as a strikeout pitcher in the major leagues. I just don't know that Scott is that kind of guy," the manager said.

DeJohn believes there is still time for Schneider to develop additional speed on his fastball and will be watching his former player in Florida next spring.

"It will be interesting to see him come back next year when he fully prepares for a full season. When they come out of college, we don't know how they have been used… I think he might end up throwing a little harder too," DeJohn suggested.

Schneider received the ultimate compliment from his manager, even if he is still a long distance from his goal.

"Personally, I think Schneider is going to reach the big leagues – if he continues to do what he needs to do," DeJohn concluded.

Congratulations to Scott Schneider, our 2009 Batavia Muckdogs Starting Pitcher of the Year.

Other contenders: Among other Muckdogs starting pitchers under consideration for this award are Daniel Calhoun (1.86 ERA, 42 Ks in 48 1/3 innings) and Eric Fornataro (2.15 ERA in eight games before his promotion to Quad Cities).

Note: To follow our entire series of Players of the Year at each level of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system, check back here at The Cardinal Nation daily. To see the roster of winners and article schedule, click here.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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