William Schmidt is the latest high-end prospect from Catholic High School in Louisiana. The right-handed pitcher has made notable strides over the last two years to develop into one of the top prep pitchers in the 2024 class.
Schmidt is prospect for the 2024 MLB draft. He also is a Louisiana State University commit. Over the last 15 years, Catholic High School has produced multiple players who have played at LSU and then gone on to have professional careers, including right-handed pitcher Aaron Nola, catcher Austin Nola and utility player Josh Smith.
“They set the standard,” Schmidt said. “Each year, everyone strives to contribute like they contributed to the Catholic High program. They’re also great mentors. Like before a big game, Josh Smith will send us like a minute video message that fires everyone up.”
After the conclusion of his senior season, Schmidt will have to decide between attending LSU or jumping straight into pro ball. Scouts project the highly-talented prep pitcher as a potential first or second-round pick in July’s draft.
“If you would have asked me this a couple of years ago, if I would be in this position, I probably would have set there’s no shot,” Schmidt said. “But I’m super blessed to be in this position and have these options. Whichever way it goes, both are incredible opportunities.”
Schmidt is a 6-foot-4, 192-pound right-handed pitcher who throws a fastball, 12-to-6 curveball and changeup from a three-quarters arm slot and athletic delivery. He has the size, pitch mix and potential scouts seek in a starting pitcher in pro ball.
Schmidt’s fastball is a 93-95 mph offering with riding action. He has confidence throwing it in all quadrants of the strike zone and in any count.
His curveball tunnels well off his fastball and is a wicked strikeout pitch. His hammer curveball reaches 3,000-plus revolutions per minute and sits in the high 70s.
Both pitches are quality offerings he commands and controls well and that generate plenty of swings and misses.
“Keeping my composure is big for me,” Schmidt said. “No matter who is watching, who is in the stands, who I’m pitching against, or what the score or situation is, if you look at my body language, you wouldn’t be able to tell. I feel like I do a really good job of keeping my composure and staying in the moment. No moment is too big for me.”
Throughout high school, Schmidt has made tremendous strides to become the pitcher he is today. As a freshman, Schmidt was 5-foot-4 and 120 pounds. He has matured physically and dedicated time to refining his craft to develop two above-average offerings and an emerging third pitch.
Schmidt hopes to increase his fastball velocity and refine his changeup throughout his senior season. His changeup is an 80-83 mph offering with some movement and plenty of potential.
“For me, it’s all about finding where I’m comfortable with it,” Schmidt said. “I worked on it a lot over the offseason, and I plan on throwing it a lot more this spring. But high school hitters want you to throw a changeup because they’d rather not hit the other two. I will use it when I find the right scenarios.”
Schmidt will showcase his skill set throughout his senior season before he takes the next step in his baseball career. Besides his draft prospect status, Schmidt is an LSU commit. He initially committed to Mississippi State as a sophomore. He decommitted last summer before committing to LSU in September.
His relationship with LSU coach Jay Johnson and his track record of developing talent influenced his decision. Johnson and his staff have developed many players for pro ball in their time at LSU, including the top two picks in last year’s draft in right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes and outfielder Dylan Crews.
Schmidt also appreciated the idea of staying home and playing for an elite program with national championship expectations.
“Jay Johnson is the best recruiter in the country,” Schmidt said. “All of the coaches do a great job of making you feel welcomed and that you’re wanted. The history of success and their history of developing players was huge. He has a good history of sending guys to the major leagues, so I am excited.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for nine years. He has interviewed 518 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.