That is what manager Mark DeJohn of the Batavia Muckdogs of the New York-Penn League thinks of right-handed pitcher Scott Schneider, a quiet competitor taken from St. Mary's of California in day two of this June's draft. Schneider was previously honored as our Batavia Muckdogs Starting Pitcher of the Year for 2009 and is hereby named our Scout.com/The Cardinal Nation Rookie Starting Pitcher of the Year for the St. Louis Cardinals system.
"The way Schneider competes and the stuff he has, he somewhat reminds me of Brad Thompson," DeJohn said. "They are the both the same size. (Thompson was listed at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds after signing, while Schneider is 6-feet even, 175.) Schneider is not a big kid. I want to say he was an infielder, a shortstop (before becoming a pitcher)."
Having managed both players puts "DJ" in a very credible place to draw comparisons between the two.
"I had Brad in Tennessee in Double-A (in 2004)," the manager said. "I didn't think he was a major league starter but I thought he could be a middle reliever and a guy to take spot starts, as he has done. He is a sinker-slider guy and has good movement on his fastball.
"Schneider has the same kind of stuff as Thompson. Got the movement in his slider, needed to develop their change-ups, but they both keep the ball down and have the ability to throw strikes, a slider behind in the count," DeJohn explained.
Initially assigned to Batavia, the 21-year-old 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 Scout.com 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.
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.
In five late-season starts for the River Bandits, Schneider tallied a 3.45 ERA, walking five and striking out 29 in 31 1/3 innings.
"I don't know about Schneider's velocity," De John noted. "Thompson's may be a hair better, but then again, this is the kid's first year. He is in control. He is real quiet and he is the same type of competitor."
Thompson, the Cardinals' 16th round pick in 2002, stayed under the prospect radar until he put together a new Southern League record for consecutive scoreless innings at 49 in 2004, with a 57 2/3 inning streak going back to the end of the previous year. It was only Thompson's second professional season.
DeJohn sees the same sleeper potential ready to emerge from Schneider.
"If you look at Thompson's career, he moved out of A-ball pretty quickly and then he was real successful. Schneider was a real good pick too being in the 20th round. He's a sleeper for me. He is a guy that I know will help out the organization at different levels," DJ stated.
Like Thompson, who has been a part of the major league Cardinals for some or all of the last five seasons, appearing in 190 regular-season games, the manager sees the same ultimate destination in Schneider's future.
"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 Scout.com/The Cardinal Nation Rookie Starting Pitcher of the Year.
Other contenders: Among other first-year starting pitchers under consideration for this award are Batavia's Daniel Calhoun plus Jesse Simpson and Andrew Moss from Johnson City. The Cardinal Nation subscribers can read about their exploits in the respective team Starting Pitcher of the Year articles linked to in the article following.
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 email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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