Cubs Draft Prospect Target: William Schmidt

Cubs Draft Prospect Target: William Schmidt

by - Senior Writer -

Unlike the NBA, NFL, and NHL drafts, the MLB draft is a three-day event 20 rounds long, as more than 600 players get taken on draft day. A big chunk of those players are high school prep stars who choose to go pro over going to college, and you can also make the case that this is the only draft where you can find difference-makers in each of the 20 rounds.

Having a Minor League system the way MLB does things is a big reason, as players can be brought along at their own pace to develop properly. When you look at the Cubs and their first round, they are sitting right in the middle of the pack and will select No. 14 overall. What they do with that pick remains to be seen, but with pitching dominating the league the way it has, the Cubs could look to draft a pitcher with their first pick.

After seeing what the Cubs found in Cade Horton and how they have been able to develop him, why stop there? Another promising young arm could be had for the taking when the Cubs are on the clock. That man is William Schmidt, and he is listed as the No. 12 overall prospect, which falls right in line with where the Cubs are going to be picking.

Hailing from Catholic HS, located in Baton Rouge, LA, the same high school that Aaron Nola called home, Schmidt is one of the fastest-rising prospects in this year's class and would be one of a handful of prep stars who won't honor his commitment at the next level. A big reason for that is that he owns the best curveball in the entire class, but there is so much more to his game than that.

Looking at his repertoire, Schmidt has a curveball that acts like a hammer curve and reaches 3000 RPMs, which is considered elite. He does that while throwing it at 82 MPH, as the velocity and spin rate often fool hitters and umpires due to the sharp and hard break that it has. He pairs that bender with an elite fastball that has gained three MPHs over the past summer.

With his heater, Schmidt usually sits in the 96 MPH range. However, he has been consistently touching 99 MPH all Spring, and many feel there is even more velocity left in that frame. At 6-4 and 180 pounds, you can see why. He will add 15-20 pounds of muscle to fill out that frame, which in return could lead to more velocity on an already improving fastball.

For Schmidt to truly unleash his full potential on the mound, he will need to develop a third pitch, and that appears to be coming right now as he is starting to use his changeup more frequently. From a velocity side of things, that changeup sits in the 83 MPH range while also bringing some sink with it. That makes a nearly 20 MPH difference between his fastball and off-speed stuff, which is almost impossible for hitters to plan for.

Not only does Schmidt have some of the best stuff in the Draft, but he also generates it easily and fills the strike zone. That is all you can ask for from any pitcher, but to have him display such excellent command at such a young age is promising. Schmidt was compared to Adam Wainwright for years. When you look at his frame and how he has pitched that is a great pitcher to be compared too.

However, given his massive uptick in velocity and everything scouts have seen from him this past season, the Wainwright comparison no longer fits. Now, you are looking at a pitcher similar to Walker Buehler in body build, while his stuff reminds scouts a lot of Nathan Eovaldi and Charlie Morton.

Both rely on a 96-plus MPH heater to set things up while bringing a wipeout curveball as their out pitch. Although taking prep pitchers comes with a massive risk, especially with Tommy John's and everything like that, Schmidt is too good of a talent to pass up if he falls to 14 when the Cubs are on the clock.

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