The Yankees are going to have to make a decision here soon regarding their starting rotation. When Luis Severino and Carlos Rodón return from their injuries, it’ll likely mean two guys are out of the rotation. The bullpen is pretty solid as is, though one guy should be sent there out of the group. If Brito is the 5th starter, then what does that mean for Clarke Schmidt and Domingo German?
Clarke Schmidt’s 2023 has been rough so far:
Clarke Schmidt has the far better stuff of the two, even if he’s been struggling to start this season. He pitched decently well in yesterday’s start, though it certainly wasn’t anything to get excited about. He was unable to get that many swings and misses, and when he tossed stuff out of the zone, nobody wanted to bite on it.
However, his pitch quality can still be utilized out of the bullpen. Schmidt has said he wants to be a starter for this team, but unfortunately, we can’t always get what we want. He’s got an 8.44 ERA in his three starts this season and has only gone a combined 10.2 innings in them. Schmidt is a much better pitcher than the numbers suggest, but nothing has really been working for him this season.
I want to believe in Clarke, but seeing is believing, and so far, he hasn’t been very reliable. He’s missing spots, hanging pitches, and walking guys at a higher rate than he had the two seasons prior — 4.22 BB/9 this season. Not to mention, he’s giving up an exuberant number of homers, as his HR/FB% is a gaudy 21.4%. He has good stuff, it just isn’t working for him when he has to worry about staying fresh as the innings roll by.
The Yankees need to move Clarke to the bullpen:
If he were to be put in the bullpen, he wouldn’t have to face the order multiple times, nor would he have to worry about staying fresh and not exerting himself early on. Clarke is a guy that seems to like to throw his stuff with 100% effort from the very get-go, so moving him to the ‘pen so he can toss an inning, or two could be the best decision for all parties involved. He’d be able to throw his cutter with more efficiency, get more swings and misses on his knuckle curve and slider that drop out of the zone, and would be a better overall pitcher.
It may not be what happens, but it is what should happen. In his career with the Yanks, Schmidt has tossed 30.2 innings as a starter and is working with a 6.16 ERA. Opposing batters are OPSing .857 against him, and he’s only working with a 62.8% LOB%. Whereas as a reliever, in the 50.1 innings he’s thrown, he has a 3.22 ERA, and batters are posting an OPS of .672. Additionally, his Left On Base % is a much friendlier 75.4%.
I know Clarke has the stuff to be a great pitcher for this team, it just may not be as a starter. If Brito is going to stay in the rotation, the Yankees are going to have to make a decision on Schmidt and Domingo. German doesn’t have good enough stuff to where the team should be trying to fit him on the roster. Schmidt truly does, and I think he can be a very solid reliever for this team. Move him to the bullpen, let him pitch an inning or two in relief, and watch the results follow.