Pepperdine’s baseball pitching ace, junior Jonathan Solomon Moscot, more commonly known on campus as Jon Moscot, has had a monster 2012 spring campaign. He has produced First Team All-West Coast Conference numbers and is among the top in many categories within the WCC.
So far, Moscot is second in strikeouts in the conference and has also yet to allow a single home run in any of his appearances.
But Moscot’s rise to success has not been a easy one. His own yellow brick road included many honors in his high school days and Cuesta College (the junior college he attended before coming to Pepperdine). But Moscot has had to grow and work hard for a long time.
Moscot started playing baseball when he was 8 years old, but he did not immediately fall in love with America’s favorite pastime. Moscot admits that he played “all types of sports growing up” in Pacific Palisades, Calif.”
Moscot’s father was a huge influence. “I always saw my father play as a little kid and I grew to want to be a Major Leaguer. And once I showed a desire in playing the sport, my father would always drive me to games, get me on teams, and talk me through stuff.”
Moscott’s father’s hard work helped him gain a lot of experience in organized baseball in addition to high school. Moscot participated with several different clubs and travel teams while in high school.
At Pacific Palisades high school, he lead the team to a 59-4 league record, an 83-44-2 overall record, and four consecutive Western League titles. He batted an impressive .600 average in his freshman year at Palisade and also struck out 230 batters as a pitcher in his four years.
Despite all of his hard work and tremendous on-field production in his early years, Moscot recalls the many doubters he has encountered over the years. He admits that some people would say that maybe one day he will “be better” or that he is “not athletic enough.”
Moscot says he is “motivated to prove those doubters wrong.”
Even with that strong motivating tool and his early success in secondary school and club baseball Moscot admits there is a big difference between performing in high school and playing Division I baseball with Pepperdine.
“High school is a lot more laid back and Division-I is a lot more serious. Even though it is still very fun, in D-I people’s jobs are on the line and once you get to Division I baseball you are focused on trying to get yourself a contract from the major leagues and ultimately it is a much more focused and serious environment.”
In Moscot’s first full season as a Wave in 2011, he made 12 appearances and 10 starts and earned a 2-2 record with a 4.27 earned run average and 48 strikeouts. The Waves, who as a team struggled in 2011 with a 22-34 record, interestingly went 6-4 that season when Moscot started and 2-0 when he appeared in a game as a reliever.
Moscot was also the only pitcher to record 10 strikeouts in a game that season, a game the Waves won 3-0 over Gonzaga — a sign of the positive impact the young stud would have on the Waves the following season.
Moscot used the aforementioned “focused and serious environment” to grow from his struggles in his first year in Divison I baseball.
Moscot’s Head Coach and a former Major League infielder, Steve Rodriguez, also noticed the changes in Moscot. Rodriguez notes that “[Moscot] works hard off the field. This explains his success on the field, he works hard in the weight room, he works hard at practice, and he is a competitor.”
He added: “You get what you earn and he has absolutely earned his recent success.”
Moscot also attributes his growth to participating in the Cape Cod summer baseball league in Massachusetts. “Playing against the best hitters in the country everyday has helped me learn how to pitch a little more and has helped me get stronger mentally.”
He added: “[It has] helped me learn the importance of keeping the ball down in the zone which has helped me pretty well this year.”
The Cape Cod league is a collegiate summer baseball league where top Major League Baseball (MLB) prospects compete. The league is notable for the many MLB stars that have competed in the league. Players like Philadelphia Phillies star second baseman Chase Utley and future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas have competed in the Cape Code League.
If these are indications of Moscot’s future, then good things are sure to come. Moscot admits that school is very important to him but that his ultimate goal is to “become a professional baseball player after this year” and that he would like to play for his hometown team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Moscot has good reason for optimism for a opportunity at the next level. After his performance at the 2011 Cape Code Summer baseball league, Moscot was listed as a top 100 prospective talent according to perfectgame.org he was the only Pepperdine baseball player on the list.
What makes Moscot such a stellar player is not only his on-field accomplishment and growth but also how has developed off the field. Steve Rodriguez explains: “He has gotten a lot tougher. He has realized that in this game you have to come ready to perform on a daily basis. Last year there were spurts of this understanding but this year it has been pretty impressive.”
Moscot growth has shown how hard work, dedication, and support can get you to where you desire. What most impresses you in a guy like Moscot is not only his own personal work ethic but also his impact on the people around him.
His coach explains it best when he states, “the way [Moscot] prepares and his off the field routine shows him as a leader, not necessarily in a verbal way but really showing how you should go about doing it.”
Rodriguez goes on to say “the best thing I can do for these young guys is to say you need to follow and do what [Moscot] does. It makes my job easier as a coach.”
Big accolades from a former MLB player.
Moscot has been faced with critics his entire career and has been able to work past those adversities and even use it to motivate for him to work harder. Moscot has the opportunity to be a truly special baseball player at the next level.