By Pete Borello
Pitcher Joey Schott estimated that nearly 50 colleges tried to recruit him during his time at St. Francis High, starting with an offer from San Jose State his freshman year. That recruitment ended last August when the Los Altos Hills resident announced he was going to play baseball at Baylor University.
Courtesy of Joey Schott
Joey Schott was named the West Catholic Athletic League Pitcher of the Year in 2019.
“After my official visit, I fell in love with Baylor,” said Schott, who graduated from St. Francis in May. “That was all I needed; I didn’t visit any other schools after that. I committed two or three weeks later.”
Schott, who had to wait until November to sign his National Letter of Intent, has a long list of reasons why the Bears are the right fit for him.
“They play in the perfect conference, the Big 12, which is one of the most dominant conferences,” he said. “I love the coaching staff; the pitching coach and head coach are both from California. The facilities are off the charts – I love the field, they have a great weight room and an amazing eating plan.”
Schott was supposed to travel to Texas early this month to start offseason training (classes are scheduled to begin Aug. 24), but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted those plans. Instead, he’s working out on his own.
“I’m throwing the ball around, but not as much as normal,” the right-handed starter said. “I still have a couple of months to get back into it. Baylor sends me a nice weekly plan with a bunch of running and some weight stuff.”
Sour end to SF career
Schott barely got a chance to pitch this spring. St. Francis’ season was canceled after four games due to the coronavirus pandemic, and he pitched in only one of them – briefly.
“I injured my arm in the first game. I felt some tightness in my elbow in the second inning and came out after facing only six batters,” he said. “The doctor told me it was just stress from my shoulder, and I did physical therapy and built it back up.”
What hurt more, according to Schott, was not being able to take the mound again for the Lancers – something he called “a huge disappointment.”
The West Catholic Athletic League’s Pitcher of the Year as a junior, Schott seemed poised to have a stellar senior season.
“After what he did last year, I think everyone expected him to have a big year,” St. Francis head coach Matt Maguire said. “To go down like that in the second or third inning was a deflating moment for everyone, especially for him, and then the season gets canceled. He wants to be out there more than anybody.”
Big things to come
Schott takes some solace from believing that his pitching career has just begun. He doesn’t just want to make it to the big leagues – he’s shooting to be a star.
“I set my goals high,” Schott said. “I want to be a franchise pitcher and a hall of famer. I want to be the best ballplayer I can be.”
He is confident the Baylor coaching staff can help make that happen, noting the number of Bears selected in the first round of recent Major League Baseball amateur drafts.
“They had a first-rounder this year and two last year,” said Schott, whose dad Tom and great uncle Steve (former owner of the Oakland A’s) both played baseball at Santa Clara University. “They have a good track record of sending guys to the pros.”
Schott has dreamed of playing pro baseball since age 5, he said, when he was starting out in Los Altos & Los Altos Hills Little League and attending San Francisco Giants games with his family. While some of his baseball heroes have retired – including Giants reliever Brian Wilson – he still admires Los Angeles Dodgers ace David Price and a star infielder playing on the southside of Chicago.
“One of my favorite players is Tim Anderson, the shortstop for the White Sox, because he plays with a lot of confidence,” Schott said. “That’s how I like to play – not cocky, but confident – knowing you’re the best player out there.”
Making the switch
Schott started out as a shortstop. He didn’t become a full-time pitcher until after he graduated from eighth grade.
“I’ve been pitching since I was 8, but I wasn’t the best at it,” he said. “I was a way better shortstop and hitter. I just threw harder, but I didn’t know how to pitch. … Then that summer (before high school), a coach told me that I had a really big future in pitching.”
Honing his skills with his club team, Baseball Performance Academy in Southern California, Schott became a starter at St. Francis his sophomore year.
“He’s always had that confidence on the mound that’s he good enough to get anybody out,” Maguire said. “He’s had that since his sophomore year when we won the CCS championship. He’s a smooth pitcher with good mechanics, and that leads to a lot of strikes.”
While Schott said his fastball “can touch the low 90s (mph),” he’s not known as an overpowering pitcher.
“He’s not going to blow anyone away,” Maguire said. “He gets outs because he throws three pitches for strikes.”
Along with his fastball, Schott takes pride in his curveball and changeup. And though it takes a lot of time and effort to master these pitches, he still managed to play another sport in high school. Schott played three seasons of football – the first two as a quarterback – and after taking his junior year off, he started at wide receiver on the varsity team last fall and even filled in at QB for a few games.
“I love football – it’s one of my biggest passions,” the 6-foot-3 Schott said. “I was probably told 100 times not to risk it and just play baseball, but I would have hated myself if I didn’t play.”
Now he’s focused solely on baseball – with goals that may seem lofty but not impossible.
“The sky’s the limit for him,” Maguire said.