The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted their catcher of the future when they took Tony Sanchez in the first round of the 2009 draft. However, in the 10th round they selected a catcher out of the prep ranks when they selected Joey Schoenfeld. Schoenfeld signed for $195,000, which is considered over-slot for a 10th round pick, passing up a commitment to play at San Diego State.
Joey is a very athletic catcher with a lot of hitting potential. In 2010 he had 64 at-bats in the pitcher friendly Gulf Coast League, and hit for a .281/.387/.344 line. Some scouts have said that Schoenfeld could hit well enough in the future to eventually move to a corner outfield spot, but the Pirates will most likely keep him behind the plate as long as possible.
For more about Schoenfeld, and all of the other prospects in the farm system, purchase your copy of the Pirates Prospects 2011 Prospect Guide.
John Dreker of Pirates Prospects recently talked to Schoenfeld about his 2010 season, his off-season workouts, and a look ahead to the 2011 season. Here is what Joey had to say.
John Dreker: Joey, could you start by telling people about your season last year, especially what normally goes on once extended spring training starts leading up to the GCL season?
Joey Schoenfeld: After spring training came extended spring, in which we would workout every morning (throwing program, bullpens, individual fundamentals, team fundamentals, batting practice) and then eat lunch and come out and play a 1 o’clock game. We would lift a couple days a week post game. That schedule was 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday. Extended spring ran through the first half of June, until my season started middle of June.
John: Did you change up your offseason training at all this year after going through your first full season in the pros?
Joey: This off season was pretty similar as my first off season. Worked out at the same gym, speed and agility with the same trainer and hit at the same facility. Pretty much the same exact routine as my first off season.
John: You were drafted as a catcher but have done very little in game catching, do you see that as your future position moving forward?
Joey: Yes I do see myself as a catcher in my future, although I’m a pretty versatile player and can play other positions if my team needs me to. But I plan on continuing to catch.
John: Are there any pitchers you’ve caught who’s stuff might surprise people because no one talks about them when mentioning top prospects?
Joey: Yes there are lots of young, live arms with some good movement (in the Pirates system) who just aren’t often mentioned as top prospects.
John: Has there been any talk about where you may start the season, I’m guessing your goal would be West Virginia?
Joey: My goal is to start out this year in West Virginia. I have not been told or heard of where I may start out so I’m just looking forward to showing up to spring training ready to battle for a job and let the the people whose job it is to evaluate me and decide where I will start out do so.
John: Has your time so far in the pros been what you expected when you signed, better, worse or anything surprising?
Joey: My time so far in the pros actually has been much of what I expected, a daily grind and a blast!
John: Thanks for taking time to do this,before you go,do you have any words for the Pirates fans reading this?
Joey: The Pittsburgh Pirates have boat loads of young talent and I can’t wait to play in Pittsburgh with them and help bring Pittsburgh multiple World Series’.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.