Senior staff writer
Roncalli’s Nick Schnell showcased his final year of high school baseball by setting records and making an
unprecedented climb in Major League Baseball’s draft. Schnell, Gatorade’s Indiana Player of the Year, was picked 32nd by Tampa Bay last week in the compensatory first round of the draft. He was ranked 111th going into his senior season.
He hit .535 his senior year in leading the Rebels to a 25-6 record. The 6-3, 180-pound record-setting center fielder was the first pick from Indiana in the draft and the first Roncalli player selected in the
54-year draft history. He also is a University of Louisville recruit, so the state’s top player has a big decision to make.
His spot in the draft is worth $2.2 million if he signs with the Rays, or he can be eligible for the draft again after his junior year as a collegiate player. Most likely, the Rays would assign him to their
Rookie League team in Port Charlotte, Fla. “Every boy’s dream, when you wake up every day, your goal is
to play professional baseball,” Schnell said in an interview last week with Query & Schultz (Fox Sports 97.5/1260). “Louisville is such a great opportunity, a great fit for me ... (either way) it’s a win-win
Schnell, who had made no decision as of Monday, said his boyhood dream of playing pro ball began to be a reality after his sophomore season when he helped lead Roncalli to the 4A state championship.
“Once I realized that (opportunity) I really flipped the switch and tried to make my dreams come true.” He capped his high school career by leading the Rebels to a 25-6 record before losing to Cathedral in the Decatur Central regional.
Schnell leaves behind many Roncalli records: career – .473 batting average, 155 hits, 25 home runs, 109 RBIs, 151 runs, 101 walks; single-season – .15 homers, 52 runs, 41 walks.
According to Roncalli sports information director Rob Brown, Schnell is only the 15th Indiana player to be plucked from high school in the draft’s first round and only the fifth non-pitcher selected and first since 1998.
“Nick’s 2018 season, combined with his tremendous talent and work ethic, vaulted him into the first round of the draft,” said coach Aaron Kroll. “He deserves it and I’m really happy for him and his family. I can’t wait to see how his baseball future unfolds.”
Schnell also was named Marion County Player of the Year, and Kroll was named county Coach of the Year. Teammate Harrison Koppenhofer also was named to the Marion County first team.