Yankees News: One bullpen arm who needs to step up big with Michael King out for season

Alexander Wilson
clarke schmidt, yankees
Jun 2, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Clarke Schmidt (86) follows through on a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are facing an uphill battle in the bullpen with Michael King suffering a fractured right elbow, forcing him to miss the rest of the 2022 season.

General manager Brian Cashman will have to be active at the trade deadline, especially if he wants to address multiple positions that need reinforcements. However, the team has a few players currently on the roster that will help smooth over the loss of King.

Right off the bat, replacing King is nearly impossible. At 27 years old, he hosted a 2.29 ERA over 51 innings, including 11.65 strikeouts per nine, a 77% left on base rate, and a 47% ground ball rate.

King was one of the best bullpen arms in baseball this season, but the Yankees will turn their attention to Clarke Schmidt to help supplement the loss. At 26 years old, the right-handed bullpen arm hosts a 2.67 ERA this season over 27 innings. He’s earned eight strikeouts per nine and just a 0.67 home runs per nine rate. He also features a 76.2% left on base rate and 44.4% ground ball rate.

“I think people have got to step up and carry the weight,’’ Schmidt said of King missing the rest of the season due to injury. “I feel a little bit of that falls on my shoulders.”

How has Clarke Schmidt looked this season for the Yankees?

Predominately, Schmidt utilizes a slider, sinker, 4-seam fastball, and curveball. His slider usage has increased exponentially this season, representing his best pitch. Opposing batters are hitting just .133 against his slider with a 44.1% WHIFF rate and 24.4% put-away rate. He’s generated 11 strikeouts over 30 at-bats, throwing a slider at 33.6%.

Schmidt’s fastball usage has been a bit inconsistent this year. Opposing hitters are batting .300 against his sinker and. 250 off his 4-seam. However, he has an underrated curveball, generating a 32% WHIFF rate, having not given up a single hit over 15 at-bats this season.

Of course, Cashman may look to the trade market to find more support. A few options that could make sense are David Robertson of the Chicago Cubs and even Anthony Bass from the Miami Marlins.

Bass is an incredibly underrated target, hosting a 1.51 ERA this season over 41.2 innings. He’s earned a 9.29 strikeouts per nine rate with a 2.3% HR/FB ratio. In addition, he’s essentially on a two-year deal, so he’d a rental for the rest of the 2022 season. Bass does have a 2023 club option, meaning the Yankees would have the opportunity to extend him if desired.

Nonetheless, with a few days remaining until the trade deadline, expect to see plenty of Clarke Schmidt helping set up Clay Holmes to finish games.