The New York Yankees enjoyed plenty of stellar performances on Sunday afternoon, notably from prospects Anthony Volpe and Andres Chaparro.
Volpe recorded two hits and stole two bases, driving in a run and showcasing his athleticism around the baseball diamond. However, one other rising prospect performed admirably in his audition to be the 5th starter in the rotation this upcoming season.
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The Yankees saw a better version of Clarke Schmidt on Sunday:
If you happened to miss the games, 27-year-old pitcher Clarke Schmidt had a dominant performance in his first outing of spring training. Schmidt is coming off a solid 2022 season, hosting a 3.12 ERA, 8.74 strikeouts per nine, 75% left-on-base rate, and 42.1% ground ball rate across 57.2 innings.
Schmidt is looking to take on a more prominent role, elevating out of the bullpen and into a starting slot, which is currently expected to be manned by Domingo German. Nonetheless, Schmidt had a great day, lasting 2.0 innings and striking out five batters in the process. Adding a cutter to his pitch repertoire certainly paid off in dividends, as it was nearly impossible to hit, generating tremendous vertical movement at the apex of the break.
Schmidt was lights out and showcased the talent ace Gerrit Cole has helped him find over the past two seasons. In fact, Cole has publicly advocated for Schmidt to earn the rotation spot but did note German’s experience.
Considering Clarke enjoyed such a big step forward in 2022, it is not surprising to see him compound on that success with a great spring training start. Of course, a lot of these players are prospects or low-level MLB players looking to secure a 26-man roster spot, so Schmidt should be dominating. Nonetheless, you can look to Cole during last year’s spring training to see an elite talent struggle against roster invites. Clarke showcasing his quality right off the bat is certainly a positive sign, and the Yankees should be viewing him as a potential starter to open the 2023 season.