New York Yankees Player Profiles: Clarke Schmidt, will he be the fifth starter in 2021? (video)

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt
USA Today

The New York Yankees have many decisions to make this offseason and before spring training. But nothing is happening while everything is on hold until the front office finds out if they can re-sign DJ LeMahieu. Even if they do sign him soon, there will not likely be any changes until right before or during spring training. The New York Yankees will be conservative with spending as owner Hal Steinbrenner has already said he wants to cut payroll, not spend. With that stance, big signings are most likely not going to happen.

According to how you look at it, that news could be bad, or on the other hand, good for young Yankee prospects like the up and coming prospect Clarke Schmidt. Clarke made his major league debut on September 4, 2020. With the loss of Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ, Schmidt just might be considered for the anchor spot on the 2020 rotation. How he performs during spring training will make that more clear. But let’s start his rise to possible inclusion in the rotation from the beginning.

Clarke was born in Acworth, Georgia, and attended Allatoona High School and played baseball at the University of South Carolina. As a freshman, Schmidt pitched in 18 games and made 10 starts, pitching to a 2–2 with a 4.81 ERA and 55. He became South Carolina’s ace as a sophomore in 2016. He pitched in 18 games with 17 starts and went 9–5 with a 3.40 ERA and 129 strikeouts. Schmidt remained the team’s number one starter his junior year in 2017, but in April, he was forced to have Tommy John surgery to repair an ACL.

Nevertheless, he was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 2017 draft but did hot play that year at all rehabbing. He made his pro debut with the Gulf Coast Yankees in 2018. He got a big signing bonus of $2.1 million. He quickly worked his way in the minors finishing the season with a 3.09 ERA in ​23 1/3 innings. He started 2019 with the Tampa Tarpons but in August was promoted to the Trenton Thunder, where he pitched until it was announced that there would be no minor league season. On September 4th, he was called up to the Stadium, where he pitched in relief. The 24-year-old ended up pitching in 3 games for 6.1 innings striking out seven but had an elevated 7.11 ERA.

He really impressed manager Aaron Boone and the coaching staff during spring training. Pitching coach Matt Blake feels that Schmidt is progressing well and is the second most promising pitcher after Deivi Garcia will most likely be the number three started when the season starts, assuming the Yankees make no moves to either bring back Masahiro Tanaka or pick up another mid-level pitcher. As it stands now, the number five spot is vacant and probably will be a competition between Schmidt and Jonathan Loaisiga. In the video below, Schmidt talks about his progress and what he is doing during the offseason to be ready for spring training.