The Yankees’ starting pitching has been completely ravaged by injury. So much so that, at this point, there’s only one guy in the rotation who was a consistent staple last year, and that’s Gerrit Cole. However, all hope is not lost quite yet. A few guys will certainly have to step up, especially with the news that Severino is going to be out for a bit with a lat strain. One of those guys is going to be Clarke Schmidt.
Chris Kirschner of The Athletic recently stated that Aaron Boone said Clarke Schmidt will likely be the Game 2 starter this season. With Cole handling Opening Day and Nestor not fully being ramped up following his injury early in spring, he is the best option available. Kirschner said, “Aaron Boone said Clarke Schmidt will likely be the Yankees’ Game 2 starter, but they’re still working through it.” Schmidt has had a solid spring, aside from his ERA, and he gets to debut his new cutter in the Bronx next weekend.
Clarke threw 5.0 perfect innings against the pirates a few weeks ago and struck out seven batters in the process. It was arguably the best start by any pitcher on the team, and he seems to be ready for the regular season, just like the rest of us. Schmidt’s new cutter should help him a ton considering his fastball isn’t his strongest pitch. It’ll allow for him to play off his movement and location rather than just trying to overpower hitters.
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The Yankees are seeing Clarke Schmidt improve weekly:
Schmidt’s posted a 5.28 ERA this spring but has been getting more swings & misses than he was last year. He’s struck out 18 guys in 15.1 total innings and has been trying to get a better feel for his pitches — specifically that new cutter. He’s looked good, and with spring, it’s all about the process over the results. It’s truly the best narrative to have when a guy does well in spring because the majority of the time, it’s easy to play it off as “he doesn’t need to be great.”
The Yanks will still have Cole and Nestor going opening week, but the rest of the rotation will be comprised of Schmidt, German, and a wildcard option that nobody is sure of at this moment. Clarke Schmidt has earned his opportunity and deserves a chance over the course of a full season, to actually be used as a starter. Last year he was constantly ushered back and forth between AAA and the majors, and now he gets his opportunity to prove himself.
Hopefully, Sevy will be back soon and won’t miss much time, and can slot right back into the rotation. The Yanks are going to be tested early on this season, and their depth will have to prove that they can handle the tasks at hand. I want to say I believe in the team’s structure and depth, but it’s very early days. Schmidt, however, is one guy I’m not worried about.
It’ll be a great test for Schmidt, who posted a 3.12 ERA & 3.50 FIP over 57.2 innings last season. He’ll be able to finally take over the duties of a full-time starter and won’t have to worry about appearing out of the bullpen and jumping back and forth with Triple-A Scranton. I want him to succeed and be given the opportunity to, and this is the first step in the right direction. He’ll make his regular-season debut against the Giants in the Bronx next weekend.