The New York Yankees new top pitching prospect made his spring debut this week and looked pretty impressive if you ask me. Clarke Schmidt struggled a little when he first started last weekend but has shown why he is the new top pitching prospect for the Yankees.
In his first outing, Schmidt allowed a single down the line which saw the runner get thrown out at second. After that, Schmidt threw seven straight balls although a couple were very borderline calls. In a 3-0 count, Schmidt showed his dynamic changeup for a whiff then got an inning-ending double play.
In his second outing against the Rays, Schmidt threw two strong innings striking out three batters showing off his knee-buckling curveball along with his fastball and change. Empire Sports talked about the fact that the Yankees might have found their fifth starter in Schmidt, but will it be after this spring or sometime later in the year?
Schmidt’s Ceiling is High
I think Clarke Schmidt is the best option for the Yankees rotation. You’re looking at a guy who has three plus pitches and scouts are starting to talk about how he could be a top end of the rotation kind of arm. The 24-year-old looks primed to make his debut sometime this year for the Yankees.
That being said, I would be stunned if Schmidt breaks camp as the fifth starter for the Yankees. While a lot of folks think he is ready now, I think the Yankees will slow play this just a little. The Yankees have the top four spots in their rotation figured out, and they are expecting Paxton back in the first part of the season. I think the Yankees see the incredible value in Schmidt, but I also think they want to give him every chance to develop in the minors before throwing him into the rotation.
Where does he start?
Now, Schmidt does have the ability to force their hand early in the year. I think the Yankees need/should to start him in AAA along with Deivi Garcia. I think they will patch the fifth spot in the rotation together while letting Schmidt and Garcia have more time at AAA to fine-tune some stuff.
If Schmidt comes out and looks like a world-beater at AAA, the guys battling for that fifth spot might lose their job before they can even get a fair look. It’s a doom and gloom time right now with all the injuries, but the rotation depth the Yankees have should comfort fans. Once the Yankees get Paxton and German back, they have about nine or ten guys who could start in a major league rotation. Out of all those young guys, Schmidt has the highest ceiling and I do expect him to pitch in pinstripes this year. If you ask me, it won’t be early unless injuries force the hand of the Yankees, but Schmidt will pitch in New York at some point.