Yankees pitching shows positive signs despite 4-2 loss to Rays

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees would roll into Charlotte Sports Park to take on the Tampa Bay Rays, and we would see a younger group take the field. Clarke Schmidt took the mound for his first outing of the spring, and we’d see a lineup littered with young players and talented prospects who could climb to the Major Leagues. It’s important to once again note that Spring Training results, win or lose, do not matter, but that doesn’t mean these games can’t be exciting. There were excellent signs on the pitching side of the ball in what was a 4-2 loss for the Yankees.

Pitching Staff Turns in Strong Performace for the Yankees

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

Clarke Schmidt would take the bump for the Yankees, and he looked impressive in his two innings of work to open his Spring Training campaign. While he did allow a run in the second inning, it came off of a ‘double’ that likely should have been caught in left field. Outside of that, he had two strikeouts without a walk and had everything working for him in the contest. He was reportedly sitting around 94-95 MPH, and that would be an uptick in velocity for the right-hander, who sat closer to 93 MPH last season.

The next man up would be Will Warren, who was ranked as the ninth-best prospect in the Yankees’ organization by Baseball America, and he would toss 2.2 strong innings with three strikeouts and a run allowed. He would exit the game in the middle of an at-bat, but not to worry, it was a matter of his pitch count exceeding what the Yankees were going to allow him to throw. He showed off some nasty sweepers but got roughed up in the third inning after leaving some sinkers over the plate.

nick ramirez, yankees
May 8, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Nick Ramirez (63) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Replacing Warren in the middle of an at-bat was veteran Nick Ramirez, whom we saw featured in the Yankees’ bullpen last season after injuries ate into their depth. He would allow a solo home run across 1.1 innings, completing his workload for the day.

Nick Burdi would make his debut as well after impressing many in camp, and while he surrendered a run, it came with two strikeouts and some overpowering stuff from the right-hander. He’s a name to watch in camp as the Yankees continue their trek through Florida, as his power fastball and sweeping slider present plenty of upside. He’s been clocked in at 100 MPH in their live batting practice sessions, and the organization views him highly.

Chase Hampton, the Yankees’ top pitching prospect, would also make his Spring Training debut, striking out two batters and walking one in his inning of work. He didn’t allow a run in his appearance, and the 22-year-old displayed some excellent swing-and-miss stuff, which isn’t surprising given his 33.1% strikeout rate last year between High-A and Double-A.

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MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Feb 15, 2024; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Chase Hampton (86) works out during spring training practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The bats weren’t impressive today, as the Yankees only collected five hits, but Anthony Volpe did drive in a run on a line drive to right field that got past the diving right fielder for a triple. Overall, it was an impressive game for their pitching staff, and they’ll enjoy a day off tomorrow before they host the Marlins on Thursday night.

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