The 18-year-old hurler said he had to learn to deal with the increasing numbers of scouts who attended his games this year – normally 10 to 13 radar gun-toting onlookers, huddled behind the plate – but as the numbers and results prove, he overcame any early jitters to move onto several teams' draft boards.
Schafer joined Inside Pitch's Bryan Hoch for a Draft Day Q&A:
What are your thoughts on being selected by the Mets? What was your reaction?
It was a surprise, and I was happy I got taken by the Mets. I had a feeling they were watching me pretty closely and there were a lot of scouts out to see our games. It was pretty great because we're a new school (in the district), so last year in 2005 there weren't all that many scouts around just because nobody had heard of us. This year, that wasn't the case at all, so there were a lot of scouts around with radar guns and stuff. People were kind of like, 'Where did you guys come from?' I really just had to concentrate on pitching and getting better and not to try to do too much with the scouts there.
What was it that you think the Mets liked about you?
I would have to say it was probably my out pitch, which is my slider. Some people call it a slider, and other people call it a cut fastball, but it's really been my out pitch, especially this season. I picked that up from my dad when I was 14 or 15 years old, and I've been throwing it ever since. I also throw a two-seam fastball, and a curveball and a change-up.
Is there a major league pitcher you could compare yourself to, just so people have an idea of the kind of pitcher you are?
Some people have compared me to Roy Oswalt of the Astros, but I don't really like that comparison. I guess they're just looking at the way I wind up and follow through, and I guess I do kind of look like Oswalt in that way, but I don't really pitch like him. As far as my mound repertoire, I couldn't really say who I look like.
How much do you know about the Mets and their system right now?
Not too much, other than that I know they were in first place in their division for quite a while. I went out to one of the Mets' mini-camps and did OK, but I felt like I did a little better at the Reds camp. But I wasn't completely surprised the Mets picked me, because I guess you could say I had a little bit of a feeling they were watching me pretty closely and were interested. I got a little better feedback from the Mets, I thought.
In high school, you were a pretty accomplished hitter as well, and one of your team's offensive leaders. Are you going to miss playing the field and swinging the bat?
Not at all. I love pitching, and it's my absolute passion. I'm really looking forward to going ahead and developing as a pitcher. I won't mind that at all.
It was reported online that you'd signed with Texas State University. Are you leaning toward going to college or signing with the Mets and beginning your professional career?
We haven't talked about anything yet, but I'm sure if everything works out and is where we can agree on things, I'll be going pro. It's all going to depend on the signing bonus, I guess. If that works out, great, and if not, I'll have to go back and pick between colleges. But I'm hoping everything works out and I'm able to sign with the Mets.