The Louisville Thundercats staked their future on an uber-talented Norfolk, VA high-school senior this morning, making Damian Schmidt the #1 selection in the Belle Season 18 draft.
The pick is considered mildly controversial in some circles. Schmidt is described as "toolsy," "high-ceiling," and "having great potential" - usually euphemisms for "ain't that great now and not sure he's gonna be." There's no doubt the potential is there - he projects to a superior defensive 2B with plus power, a great batting eye, and very difficult to strike out - but like a lot of high school players, the big question is how much of that potential he can realize.
One scout opined, "they're gonna really have to coach the hell out of this kid...good coaching at every level, big training budgets...and then maybe in 5 years he'll turn into the perennial All-Star his projections say he can be." Another: "Look, he's always going to be vulnerable the tough righty pitchers. But that's OK. If he can get those contact and eye ratings up to his potential, it won't matter."
In any event, the Thundercats were sold on his potential over the other player the considered, CF Brent Hartzell: "We decided to choose Schmidt over Hartzell the center fielder," offered GM riverpirate, "because our projections show a better ability for contact and power. He is a player we can begin to rebuild around."