2012 MLB Draft Q & A: Jon Moscot

We continue our 2012 MLB Draft Q & A series with an interview with Pepperdine junior pitcher Jon Moscot. Moscot has gone 6-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 14 games and 106 innings pitched for the Green Wave this season and is generating substantial buzz in the draft rooms. Inside he discusses his pitching arsenal and approach on the mound, pitching in the Cape Cod League and much more.

Rays Digest: Can you tell me a little bit about your pitching arsenal? What types of pitches do you throw and at what speeds?

Jon Moscot: I throw a four-seam fastball that is between 90-93 and can get up to 94. My two-seam is 89-91. My changeup, which is a circle change goes 79-80. My split-finger is 80-83 and slider is 79-84. Against a right-handed batter, I'll use the slider as the "out" pitch. Against a lefty, I'll throw the split-finger.

Rays Digest: What about your approach on the mound? How do you go about attacking hitters?

Jon Moscot: I'm out there with the mentality that I'm better than the hitter no matter what they've done. I'll attack the zone, try to get ahead in the count, to make it easier on myself. When I attack early in the count with my fastball and can put a hitter away, I am the most effective. When a hitter is sitting dead red, I have no problem pitching backwards and can do so by throwing cross count breaking balls and change-ups. It just depends on the day and the type of hitter I am facing.

Rays Digest: You pitched very well in the Cape Cod Summer League last summer against the best collegiate players in the country. What did you take away from that experience that has helped you mature as a pitcher?

Jon Moscot: It was a great experience, just knowing I can compete with anyone. Not that I didn't believe it before, but experiencing it firsthand was good. Being out there with all that pressure, I thrive off of that. I pitch on adrenaline, and when you're facing the best of the best, that's how you find out if you're ready to pitch at the next level. Going out there I didn't know many of the big name guys. It was just kind of get out there and make your pitches. I try not to get caught up in the hype. For me, it's about competing and learning about yourself as a ballplayer.

Rays Digest: Your coach at Pepperdine, Steve Rodriguez, was a former major league player. What has it been like playing for him and what kinds of things has he impressed upon you as a player?

Jon Moscot: It's awesome. He knows so much about the game. It's like having a big league manager because he's got that experience. He has everyone on the team competing and contributing, no matter what position or role you're playing. He also has us believing in each other. If I told you some of the stuff that he sees during a game you wouldn't believe it. It's amazing.

Rays Digest: What kinds of things would you look for from a major league organization? Is the track record of developing pitchers an important criteria?

Jon Moscot: Absolutely. I'm really looking forward to the coaching at the next level and maturing as a player. I'm aware that certain organizations have reputations for developing pitchers and moving pitchers up. Obviously, the quicker I can move up in an organization, the better, but I know I have to prove it on the field. I'm definitely ready for that challenge.

Rays Digest: You attended Cuesta Junior College before transferring to Pepperdine. Do you think playing and attending school there helped ease your transition into playing Division I baseball?

Jon Moscot: Pitching just in general my freshman year was important. Cuesta allowed me to get innings in and not many Division I schools would have given that opportunity to a first-year player.

Then going to Pepperdine, getting into a throwing program, working on some mechanical issues was a big help. Stepping into a weekend role was an amazing opportunity for me to get better mentally and physically as a player. At the Division 1 level it's about putting up numbers and it's a great lesson because professional baseball is about what you are doing, not what you've done in the past.

Rays Digest: What do you do to keep your healthy? What does your workout routine look like and do you have your own conditioning coach?

Jon Moscot: We have a sophisticated conditioning program here at Pepperdine. Workouts include running long distances, suicides, stairs, and more. We'll work out three times in-between starts typically, with a light day after we throw, a heavy day three days after, and a medium day two days before you pitch, so you're fresh on game day. It's really helped me a lot by staying in shape during the season. Not losing too much weight in muscle is a big factor during the course of a season. It's longer than a lot of people think.

Rays Digest: What coaches and players have helped you along the way in your development? Who else has been an important role model or influence for you?

Jon Moscot: My high school baseball coach, Mike Voelkel has always there for me. He's helped me a lot mechanically. I can always go back and talk to him and get feedback. Coach Strauss, my pitching coach here at Pepperdine has taught me how to prepare mentally and kept me on routine. He's always talking to me about ways to approach hitters.

And of course, my dad has given me everything I've needed to succeed and provided me the opportunity to play the game. As a little kid I played every sport all seasons until my dad suggested I just step into baseball and play it all year round. Travel ball, tournaments, high school…all of it was a blur with traveling and balancing it all out, but my parents have both been extremely supportive of me despite the strain of two younger brothers' busy lives as well. My dad has been to just about every single game I've pitched since I was 10 years old and that means a lot to me.

Rays Digest: Have you thought about the draft much? Are there any former Pepperdine players or former teammates you have discussed the process with and sought advice from?

Jon Moscot: I've talked to couple of friends who have been drafted, both after high school. They said the minor leagues is tough, but it's all about hard work. That's what I'm all about. I'm excited about that life and moving on to the next stage in my career. A few older guys who actually are Major Leaguers now come back to Pepperdine every once in a while to work out and they all say the same thing. Getting an opportunity and making the most of it is all that you can ask for and that's what hopefully will happen in the next month or so.

Rays Digest: Who is your favorite MLB player? Are there any pitchers that you try and emulate on the mound?

Jon Moscot: I've always liked Roy Halladay. I enjoy watching him pitch. It seems like he always has a good idea of how to attack the hitters. I even copied my split-finger after him. After watching him on TV, I went out there and experimented with it and it's worked pretty well. Halladay's work-ethic is unbeatable and I think that it's the reason he's consistently so good. I want to be known as that guy who just flat out gets after it.

Rays Digest: What hobbies outside of baseball do you have?

Jon Moscot: I love to be outdoors, whether it's camping, hiking, or fishing. I'm an Eagle Scout, so I'm comfortable out there. Living here in California my whole life there's never been a dull day. I'm big on hanging with my high school buddies and being out in the open. I definitely enjoy surfing and heading to the beach on a nice day, but everybody at Pepperdine surfs, haha.

John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at raysdigest.com@gmail.com.


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