New York Yankees: Is Clarke Schmidt ready to be a solid big league contributor?

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees, as an organization, are extremely excited to have a prospect like Clarke Schmidt waiting in the wings. In today’s MLB, good pitchers are very valuable, and Schmidt is clearly a noteworthy prospect. However, is he ready to hold a rotation spot and compete with the best of the best? Is he a finished product, ready to take some of the best offenses in baseball currently making their living in the AL East?

The answer is probably “no.” He’s not quite ready yet, as evidenced by his short cameo in the bigs in 2020. He made three starts at Double-A in 2019, yet because of the absence of a minor league season this year, he was taken by the New York Yankees to their alternate training site and made his debut, perhaps prematurely, but as a way of keeping him active.

In 6.1 frames, Schmidt had a 7.11 ERA, but a much more decent 4.30 FIP and a 5.49 SIERA. He is, however, best served at Triple-A for an extended period of time, ideally half a season. If he proves he can handle Triple-A hitters for several starts, he could get an opportunity with the Yankees in 2021. Of course, to this point, it is not a certainty that there will be a MiLB season next year.

The Yankees’ manager would like to see him prove himself in the high minors

Yankees manager Aaron Boone spent some time this week on the Bucky Dent’s “Deep To Left Podcast” with Jon Schwartz. There, the skipper hinted that Schmidt could use some more time in the minor leagues.

“Clarke Schmidt, we’re so excited about,” Boone said. “Still probably needs some more seasoning.” The 24-year-old righty should be a good starter for years to come, and there is nothing wrong on making sure he’s ready to contribute consistently.

“(Schmidt) obviously not having a minor league season this year is frustrating,” Boone said. “You want to be able to see those guys continue to develop because, in Clarke’s case, he’s a guy we’re pretty confident is going to be a really good pitcher in this league for a long time.”

The Yankees might need him soon into the 2021 season. As of now, only Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German, Deivi Garcia, and Mike King are healthy and under contract. Luis Severino should be ready come July, and Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ are free agents.

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