Yankees’ Clarke Schmidt is running out of time to prove his worth

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Apr 12, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt (36) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Clarke Schmidt has started this year off on the wrong foot. It’s been a rough go of things for him this season, and the Yankees need him to get going for their sake. If the Yankees can get him on track, it’ll do wonders for their rotation. Schmidt still has some great stuff, and even with a few rocky outings, it could all turn around in an instant. 

Clarke Schmidt hasn’t lived up to expectations just yet:

Before this season, there was tons of excitement around Schmidt finally getting his opportunity. He had performed pretty well during spring training, introduced a new cutter that he was going to throw a ton, and it looked like he was going to be a piece in the rotation. Now, it’s a bit up in the air, and there’s no guaranteeing him a spot when Severino and Rodón both return. 

Schmidt has an 8.44 ERA after his first three starts this season and has only tossed 10.2 innings in them. He hasn’t been able to go very deep in his starts, and he also isn’t getting the swings and misses that he needs to put together good outings consistently. He’s got 11 K’s on the year in those 10.2 innings he’s thrown, and because he’s been struggling, he’s got a -0.1 fWAR to show for it. 

The Yankees need him to limit damage:

Clarke’s also been having a hard time getting out of trouble, and his 65.5% LOB% is 10% lower than he posted last season. He also currently has a 17.5% HR/FB%, which is double what he had last year. Schmidt has been quite disappointing, but it’s still early days this season. I like to believe he can right the ship; he just needs to figure out what works best for him. 

Schmidt was able to generate tons of grounders in years past, and he also wasn’t allowing nearly as much hard contact. Last year, opposing batters posted a 32.9% HH%. This year that has already jumped up to 40.5%. He’s simply not getting the results he needs to be and was getting last year. Clarke still has time on his side, but with Sevy and Rodón hurriedly getting back, he has to figure it out. 

I wouldn’t be upset if they moved Clarke Schmidt to the Yankees’ bullpen, and I think his stuff could play up over a few innings in relief. German had his greatest outing ever in his last start on the bump, though I don’t know if it’s sustainable and expected from him throughout the season. Hopefully, Schmidt can put together a few good starts, making this competition a bit testier with German.

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