Yankees could sell high on promising starting pitcher

clarke schmidt, yankees
Jun 18, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt (36) pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

As the trade deadline approaches, the New York Yankees must critically evaluate which team members they are prepared to part with. While General Manager Brian Cashman is likely looking to augment the offense and pair this with Aaron Judge’s return, the burden of aging contracts limits the value he can afford to give up without destabilizing the farm system.

Assessing Clarke Schmidt’s Potential With the Yankees

One considerable asset is starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt. At 27 years old, Schmidt has been enjoying a respectable season. Having transitioned from the bullpen, Schmidt maintains a 4.33 ERA, featuring 8.76 strikeouts per nine, a 71.8% left-on-base rate, and a 42.8% ground ball rate across 99.2 innings.

Following a turbulent start to the year, Schmidt has found his footing, recording a 3.52 ERA in May, 3.04 ERA in June, and a 4.15 ERA in July. An unfortunate three-run homer against the Kansas City Royals on a recent Friday night marred what would have otherwise been an uneventful outing.

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Leveraging Schmidt’s Youth and Experience

Given Schmidt’s youth and starting experience, the Yankees could potentially utilize him as a bargaining chip at the deadline to secure a batter. Other teams are likely seeking MLB-ready talent, and Schmidt is among the few who are capable of stepping in and making an immediate impact.

While Cashman could tap into other prospects like Randy Vasquez, Will Warren, and Clayton Beeter, it’s worth noting that trading the team’s top two pitching prospects last year has left a void in that category that these potential trades may only further exacerbate.

Interest in Roderick Arias

Interest has also been expressed in young shortstop Roderick Arias, who was the team’s premier international signing last year and has been performing impressively with the Florida Complex Yankees.

Clarke Schmidt’s Potential as a Starter

However, Schmidt presents qualities suggesting he could become an above-average starter in the future. Boasting a 96th percentile curve spin rate and 100th percentile fastball spin rate, his repertoire includes a sweeper, cutter, sinker, and curveball.

This season, his slider has commanded a .223 average against with a 26% whiff rate and an 18.8% put-away rate. His curveball, generating a .203 average against and a 34.1% whiff rate, has been highly effective.

Remarkably, Schmidt’s curveball yields 117% more horizontal movement than the average pitcher and his cutter 81% more horizontal movement. Given these statistics, the Yankees might wish to retain him for a critical rotation slot next year. Still, there’s no denying that his current value may be at its peak.