Yankees get incredible start from second-year starter in 3-2 win

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Miami Marlins
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a 7-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon, the New York Yankees would travel to Juniper to take on the Miami Marlins in a night contest. Clarke Schmidt would take the mound in his second start of Spring Training, and he’d steal the show with a brilliant outing. It was a strong showing for the 28-year-old right-hander, who is expected to be the team’s fifth starter this season. Following a year where he had plenty of ups and downs, he hopes that tonight’s showing is a sign of what’s to come when the regular season kicks off.

The bats would come alive in the seventh and with some strong outings from other arms on the roster, the Yankees were able to come away with a win, albeit a meaningless one given that it was Spring Training.

Clarke Schmidt Shines in Yankees’ Win Over Marlins

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Feb 15, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt (36) works out during spring training practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees already saw Clarke Schmidt make his debut against the Rays, but there wasn’t any public Statcast information from that outing. This time, however, we’d get all the pitch velocity and movement goodness that we deserve as enthusiasts of this great game. A huge tweak that Schmidt has made is in regards to his velocity, and everything was up across the board, with the right-hander displaying a strong sinker and cutter with not only firmer velocity but better movement as well.

One of the biggest issues with Clarke Schmidt’s sinker last season was the lack of armside run on the pitch, and he averaged four inches more of horizontal break (13″) than he did last season (9″). The firmness of his sinker coupled with a cutter that had more vertical ride could make for a devastating combination, especially with how strong his secondaries have historically been a the Major League level. His sweeping slider was averaging 11.9 inches of gloveside break, whereas last season it was closer to 8-9 inches, and it’s a pitch that could also benefit from tweaks to his mechanics.

Arguably the most interesting difference was the reliance on a changeup that seemed to move a lot better than the one he had been tinkering with throughout his career. It’s unclear whether he’ll rely on he pitch more if it has more success, but it was truly impressive and he has mentioned wanting to have a better changeup and use it more this season. What that means for the right-hander remains to be seen, but this could be a development that completely transforms his arsenal this upcoming season.

He wasn’t the only starter to impress, as Will Warren would piggyback him for two innings and flash some gross stuff across two innings. While he did allow a run, his pitches were moving beautifully, as he collected eight whiffs on 20 swings (40%), thanks in large part to his nasty sweeper.

Throwing a sinker that can move over 16 inches one way and a slider that can move over 18 inches in the opposite direction is unbelievable, and the vertical separation he gets off of the four-seamer and changeup makes him even more devastating. He’s gross, and the Yankees have valued him highly for a reason. The 24-year-old could get the call up to the Bronx this season depending on what occurs with different arms in their rotation, and he’s got the pure stuff to make competitive MLB starts right now.

Ian Hamilton would toss an easy 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout, and Victor Gonzalez would make his Yankees’ debut in the eighth inning, although he surrendered a solo blast to Dane Myers. Anthony Misiewicz would close the door in the ninth, pitching up a strikeout and allowing just one hit.

The bats weren’t dynamic today, but they certainly had some encouraging performances starting at the top with Anthony Volpe. His hot spring has continued, with the second-year shortstop collecting a single and walk in three trips to the plate, continuing to lower his strikeout rate as well. He has just one strikeout in just 16 PAs (6.3%) and has cut down the swings and misses dramatically, although his contact rates dwarf in comparison to an unexpected challenger. Spencer Jones has still not whiffed in Spring Training despite seeing over 70 pitches, which is a remarkable development.

READ MORE: Yankees’ top outfield prospect could be on the verge of a breakout

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Miami Marlins
Mar 4, 2024; Jupiter, Florida, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Spencer jones (78) hits a single against the Miami Marlins during the fifth inning at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

He collected a single and walk, and the top outfield prospect has impressed many with his excellent feel for the strike zone in the early going, laying off plenty of pitches out of the zone. The Yankees are hoping he can do some big things in 2024, as he targets a job in centerfield that will likely come next season. Gleyber Torres would collect two hits including a double, Austin Wells would add a single and walk, and Brandon Lockridge would score the winning runs with a two-RBI hit in the seventh inning.

It’s nice to win, but ultimately the big takeaways are the encouraging signs the Yankees have gotten from key contributors at the Major League and Minor League levels, and they hope it can roll into a pivotal season for the organization.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: