After a professional debut in which he posted a record of 3-3 with a 2.04 ERA over two levels, Scott Schneider was named the Scout.com/The Cardinal Nation Cardinals Rookie Starting Pitcher of the Year.
The 20th round selection in his only first full season as a pitcher racked up 76 strikeouts while allowing only 13 walks in 70.2 innings while seeing time with the Batavia Muckdogs and the Quad Cities River Bandits.
Recently, Schneider was kind enough to take time out of his off-season workouts to share his thoughts on his professional debut.
Dustin Mattison: Now that your first season is complete, can you compare the pitcher you were when you first made it to Batavia to the pitcher you are now?
Scott Schneider: As a pitcher, I changed quite a bit over my first season of pro ball. This was the first time I dedicated all my time to pitching so I was really able to focus on what I was trying to do. Mechanically, I made some slight changes to my delivery, but other than that I look pretty similar to how I did in college. The biggest adjustment that I made was throwing a sinker and really forcing myself to throw inside. At first I was not comfortable throwing in. Once I figured this out, it changed me completely. My approach now is almost completely opposite of the one I used in college and I think that is why I had some success.
DM: What does it mean to you when your manager Mark DeJohn says the following: “Personally, I think Schneider is going to reach the big leagues – if he continues to do what he needs to do.”
SS: It is quite an honor to have DJ say that about me. The man has been in the game for a very long time. He has played and coached in the big leagues and seen many guys make their way to the top. Having said that, it means a lot that he would say that about me. I have a lot of respect for him and I appreciate the knowledge that he passed on to us. In the end though, it comes down to my desire to keep improving.
DM: Regarding the same quote, what is it that you need to continue to do?
SS: I think the key to making my way through the minor leagues is continually improving. I don't want to show up and be the same guy that I was last year. I still need to make adjustments and learn. The hitters are only going to get better, the zone is going to get smaller, and the game is going to get faster, so if I want to give myself a chance, I need to keep up. Another major factor is staying healthy. So far I’ve been blessed with good health, but anything can happen. No matter what adjustments I make or how much I learn, I still need to be in the best condition possible.
DM: What are you working on this winter?
SS: So far the off-season is going real well. My main focus right now is getting in the best shape possible. I've been working real hard trying to get stronger and more powerful. I'm going to start baseball activity fairly soon. I threw a lot of innings this year so I think it was smart to take some time off and let my arm recover. I've also been taking classes, trying to finish up my degree so I’ve been staying pretty busy. Its nice to have some time off, but i can't wait to start up again.
What are your goals for 2010?
Obviously, I want to have another great year in 2010. How I do that is the question. The main thing is to focus about what is in my own control. First and foremost, my goal is to stay healthy. I need to pitch if I want to keep moving through the system. In terms of my pitching, I still need to continue working on my fastball and being able to establish it as my best pitch. Like I said, the hitters are going to be better. A lot of them have seen me before so I need to stay one step ahead. If I can successfully apply these things to my game, I think everything will work itself out.
Dustin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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