The New York Yankees have lofty expectations for one of their developing prospects, Clarke Schmidt. The 27-year-old featured out of the bullpen in 2022, enjoying 57.2 innings of action and hosting a 3.12 ERA with 8.74 strikeouts per nine.
Coming off a solid rocky campaign, Schmidt is looking to compound on his success and work his way into the starting rotation on a regular basis, even after several injured players return.
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Schmidt is gearing up to face off against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday afternoon in his first start of the 2023 season, supplementing the loss of Frankie Montas, Luis Severino, and Carlos Rodon. However, Yankees Ace Gerrit Cole speaks highly of the young pitcher and his approach toward success.
“He’s just freaking intense,” Cole told NJ Advance Media this spring. “He’s an animal. He’s got a high-revving engine and he’s just gonna sit at 9,000 RPM until you take the keys away. That’s how I was.”
The Yankees are hoping for the best version of Clarke Schmidt:
Schmidt had a rocky spring, hosting a 5.03 ERA across 19.2 innings. He gave up 11 earned runs, two homers, and four walks but struck out 25 batters in the process. While his strikeout numbers are up and he struggled to get things going against lower levels of competition, it is fair to assume that he was working through a pitching program that asked him to test different elements.
Schmidt has added a cutter to his arsenal recently, which looked great during spring and should be utilized routinely during the regular season.
Cole was impressed by Clarke’s demeanor, executing and preparing for the intensity of the regular season. Schmidt isn’t afraid to throw strikes and be aggressive, letting his defense do some work. Evidently, Cole struck out 11 batters on opening day and didn’t ask much of the men behind him, showcasing just how dominant he can be at the top of his game.
“I thought he did a really good job of tuning out the noise and just executing a great progression to get ready for this regular season,” Cole said. “I think he’s in a really good spot. He’s gonna need to keep that same approach, pound the strike zone and trust the defense.”