New York Yankees: Clarke Schmidt says he is “ready” to help the team

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees‘ rotation is not the most stable unit in baseball right now. They have suffered with injuries, most notably with Luis Severino. They have also endured suspensions, personified by Domingo German. Others have had issues with command, such as J.A. Happ, while others are struggling with velocity, as is the case of James Paxton.

Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka currently look good, but behind them and Jordan Montgomery, everything is a question mark. Should we be encouraged by Paxton’s last start even though his fastball velo is still not ideal? Should Yankees’ fans have faith that Happ will turn it around?

Here is another idea: calling up prospect Clarke Schmidt. He says, according to Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media, that he is ready for primetime. And he shows that he is prepared, too, with a fine 2019 in the minors (including a 3.84 ERA in Class A+ and a 2.37 mark in 19.0 Double-A innings.) and a very good spring training and summer camp.

The Yankees have him stretched out to four innings

Schmidt has been in the New York Yankees’ alternate training site working with Director of Pitching Sam Briend and Manager of Pitch Development Desi Druschel on several things, most notably his two-seam fastball.

He can almost feel that he can be up at any minute, but instead of getting anxious, he’s working on improving his game.

“I understand that my opportunity is coming, hopefully sooner than later because I’m itching to get up there and itching to be able to help the guys out and help the team win,” Schmidt said to

Schmidt is focusing on refining “the different shape between the four-seam and the two-seamon. Just continuing to face hitters and continuing to feel good and stay as ready as possible.”

Right now, Schmidt is stretched to four innings, and he aims to throw five the next time he steps on a mound. That next outing is expected to come Wednesday. After that, who knows? Will the Yankees give him arguably the most important call of his life?

New York Yankees: Is it Clarke Schmidt time in the Bronx?

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees have one of the best rotations in baseball even though James Paxton isn’t at his best, Luis Severino is injured, and Domingo German is suspended. However, the desire to be even better should always exist. And the presence of J.A. Happ in the rotation is the perfect example of that.

Should the Yankees look for avenues to make the rotation even stronger? Well, they should. Now, the other question would be: is one of the avenues to improve the group already in the organization? Well, they might as well try to find out.

Clarke Schmidt, the New York Yankees’ first-round selection in 2017, is a talented prospect who not only impressed last season in the minor leagues (3.84 ERA in 63.1 Double-A innings and 2.37 ERA in 19.0 Triple-A frames, always with more than 9.00 K/9) but also raised many eyebrows in spring training and summer camp.

Should the Yankees boot Happ from the rotation?

Happ, meanwhile, was plain bad last season (4.91 ERA and an even worse 5.22 FIP in 161.1 frames) and started off 2020 with the wrong foot (10.29 ERA, 11.13 FIP, 3.86 K/9 and 10.29 BB/9 in seven innings.)

Happ was very good for an extended period of time, including some starts with the 2018 Yankees and the entire month of September in 2019. But at nearly 38 years old, there are a lot of miles in his left arm and he looks terrible. It may be time to move on for the Bombers, and in Clarke Schmidt, they have an exciting prospect who has a great chance of performing better.

Even if the Yankees decide to stick with Happ, another path to the rotation could open up for Schmidt. Paxton, who has showed diminished velocity in his first two starts, doesn’t look healthy. It wouldn’t shock anyone if he hits the injured list soon and the team calls up Schmidt.

Only time will tell, but Schmidt’s debut looks closer each day. But look at this stuff and tell me it wouldn’t be better than Happ.

New York Yankees News: All the latest moves before Thursday’s Opening Day

The New York Yankees opening day game is Thursday, July 23, at 7 pm, in the nation’s capital.  The game is against the World Champion Washington Nationals and will feature the Yankee’s new pitching ace Gerrit Cole facing the National’s ace Max Scherzer.  The Yankees are traveling today for a late workout at National’s Park this afternoon.

Ahead of the game, the Yankees have made several moves. One of those moves included optioning Jordan Montgomery to the Yankees alternate training site in Moosic, PA.

Manager Boone announced that Cole would start on Thursday and James Paxon on Saturday.  Masahiro Tanaka’s scheduled start on Sunday probably will not happen. It has yet to be decided but will most likely be started by an opener. Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Michael King were mentioned to start that game.  Montgomery would likely be recalled before the sixth start of the season.

Before the first game of the regular season, the New York Yankees must reduced their pitchers, hitters, and bench down to the allowed 30 men, mandated by MLB for the first two weeks of the season. In doing so they have reassigned to the club’s alternate training site in Moosic, Pa.,  infielder Matt Duffy, outfielder Estevan Florial, right-hander Deivi García, outfielder Zack Granite, catcher Erik Kratz, pitcher Brooks Kriske, pitcher Tyler Lyons, pitcher Nick Nelson, pitcher Clarke Schmidt, pitcher Nick Tropeano, pitcher Miguel Yajure and right-hander Tony Zych.

Prior to moving the players and pitchers manager, Aaron Boone had words about pitching prospects Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia.

“Deivi is a young guy that had so much success last year and rocketed through [the Minors] that clearly still has some development to go,” Boone said. “This will be an important time for him down there to continue to develop and iron out his delivery. His repertoire and his talent will allow him to get here, so it’s an important time for him to continue to prove himself down there and keep himself in the conversation.

“And then Clarke … has delivered in every way; what we saw in Spring Training, what we’ve seen now here in Summer Camp, he’s been excellent. For a guy that hasn’t had a lot of Minor League experience yet, he’s pretty polished, too. Hopefully, he’ll go down there and continue to develop and pitch. He’s very much in the conversation to be with us at some point this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was — and not only if he was, but playing an important role for us.”

Earlier yesterday, Clarke Schmidt was awarded the James P. Dawson Award, indicative of the club’s top rookie in Spring Training.

The Yankees alternate training site in Moosic, PA is the home of the Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Riders of the minor leagues.  The Yankees AAA team plays at PNC Park.

In other moves, the New York Yankees placed right-hander Dan Otero on the restricted list. They also signed left-hander Luis Avilán, right-hander David Hale and catcher Chris Iannetta to Major League contracts, selecting them to the 40-man roster.

In the case of Otero, the reason for him being placed on the restricted list is unclear. The restricted list includes players who are out of organized baseball but are not free agents. It can include a player has left the team without a valid reason, or has announced his intention to retire but is still of age or level of skill that could allow him to return in the future. In effect, the team states that it retains rights to the player if and when he becomes active again. The list is also used to place a player who is unavailable to play for non-baseball reasons, such as personal issues or trouble with the law.


New York Yankees: Pitcher Clarke Schmidt wins the coveted James P. Dawson Award

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt
The New York Yankees are nearly done with summer camp 2020. With the split spring training in Tampa and New York, it is unclear what awards will be given out for spring training play. Today the Yankees organization released a press release that announced that Clarke Schmidt had won the coveted James P. Dawson Award.
JULY 21, 2020
The New York Yankees today announced that right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt is the recipient of the 2020 James P. Dawson Award, given annually to the most outstanding Yankees rookie in spring training.
Schmidt, 24, made four official spring training appearances (one start), posting a 2.57 ERA (7.0IP, 2ER) with 8K. The El Toro, Calif., native was selected by the Yankees in the first round (16th overall) of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft. He entered the 2020 season tabbed by
Baseball America as the Yankees’ No. 2 prospect and as having the “Best Curveball” among all Yankees farmhands.
The award was established in honor of James P. Dawson (1896-1953), who began a 45-year career with The New York Times as a copy boy in 1908. Eight years later, he became boxing editor and cove red boxing and baseball until his death during spring training in 1953. Two winners of the honor, Tony Kubek in 1957 and Tom Tresh in 1962, went on to win the American League “Rookie of the Year” Award. The Dawson Award first was presented to rookie Norm Sieb ern by Manager Casey Stengel in St.
Petersburg, Fla., at the conclusion of spring training in 1956. New York Yankees beat writers vote on the winner. In conjunction with the award, Schmidt will receive a watch from Betteridge Jewelers.
Other recent winners of the prestigious award were Brett Gardner in 2009, Masahiro Tanaka in 2014, Gleyber Torres in 2017, and Miguel Andujar in 2018.  Clarke Schmidt is destined for big things.

New York Yankees: Gleyber Torres talks 2020, Tyler Wade, Clarke Schmidt

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

Infielder Gleyber Torres is focused on helping the New York Yankees win the World Series in the truncated 2020 Major League Baseball season.

On Monday Torres said the Yankees’ mission is “winning everything” (quotes per’s Bryan Hoch).

“Last year is in the past right now,” Torres said on Monday. “We forgot that. Our mentality and our focus is on the short season right now. We have a mission; the mission is winning everything. That is the job, that’s the focus and mentality, and we’re preparing right now to get there.”

DJ LeMahieu was manager Aaron Boone’s projected second baseman this season, but the infielder recently tested positive for COVID-19, vacating the middle infield position for the time being. A prime candidate to start in LeMahieu’s place is Tyler Wade.

Torres, the Yankees’ likely shortstop, would be “100 percent comfortable” with Wade being his double-play partner.

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“I’d be 100 percent comfortable,” Torres said. “I knew Wade in the Minor Leagues. We’ve got really good communication during the double plays and during the game. It’s like growing up together, and it’s the same feeling right now.”

One of the Yankees’ top prospects, 24-year-old right-hander Clarke Schmidt, has caught Torres’ eye.

“Clarke is really impressive,” Torres said. “We always played a little joke, [saying], ‘When I face you, I’m going to try to hit a homer.’ And now I’ve faced him. I feel really good, I feel confident in all my pitchers.”

Last season Torres posted an .871 OPS and 128 OPS+ while totaling 38 home runs and 90 RBIs. He started 64 games at second base and 73 at shortstop.

Torres says he feels “good.”

“I feel good,” Torres said. “I’m just getting ready to see all the pitchers. I try to be ready each at-bat. I know it’s a little bit different because I don’t really like seeing my teammates; when they pitch, I don’t feel really comfortable. This is a moment to just be focusing in your area and try to get ready for Opening Day.”

The Yankees open the season on the road against the World Series-champion Washington Nationals on July 23.

New York Yankees: Two players to watch during this season

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

It’s finally happening. The New York Yankees will take the field in 2020 and be on the quest for ring number 28. Big players such as Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, and Gary Sanchez. The Yankees already have a core group of guys that are the main reason for the team’s success, but there are some under the radar players that could have a dominant year this season.

Clark Schmidt

After just two seasons in the Minor Leagues and undergoing Tommy John surgery, Clark Schmidt has impressed many during his last two outings during the Yankee intrasquad games. Even though hitters aren’t 100% up to speed with pitchers yet, all of his pitches look MLB-ready. He commands his fastball very well and flashes a strong breaking ball.

YES Network broadcaster Michael Kay has extremely high expectations for Schmidt this season: “I’d go with Clarke Schmidt. So far, he’s shown me he can get outs in the big leagues. He’s got something to prove, he carries himself with a chip on his shoulder… and the guy looks like he has three to four big-league pitches… He has shown them a lot, not only in spring training but also in the intrasquad games here… I would give him that reward.”

I believe Schmidt will be called upon early in the season to allow the rotation an extra day of rest. He may also be utilized as an “opener,” the strategy that was used several times last season. He has proved so far that he can get outs against a power lineup so there should be no surprise if Schmidt gets quality innings this season.

Kyle Higashioka

Most people don’t know this, but Kyle Higashioka is the longest-tenured player in the Yankee organization on the roster Major League roster. The Yankees must love Higashioka’s game to keep him for so long, and it’s finally paying off this season. After letting Austin Romine walk to free agency this offseason, Higashioka will be the backup catcher for Gary Sanchez.

Higgy has only played 56 games in the Major Leagues but shows promising talent at the plate and especially behind the dish. “He’s earned this spot, this opportunity,” manager Aaron Boone said about Higashioka’s promotion. “He’s put himself in a really good position to be that guy and I have a lot of confidence in him.”

New York Yankees fans should look forward to watching Higashioka behind the plate when Sanchez has a night off. He’s proven to be an above-average defensive catcher that has a little pop in his swing.

Yankees’ Aaron Boone raves about SP Clarke Schmidt: ‘He has a presence to him’

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

New York Yankees‘ Clarke Schmidt is a pitcher whose stock has risen in the last year and has turned lots of heads in the organization. He is finally getting attention from the higher-ups and has a chance to prove something in the coming weeks. 

Before the intrasquad game yesterday, Yankees manager Aaron Boone shared in a media interview how much he loves SP Clarke Schmidt. He talked about how impressed he was after seeing him pitch up close in Spring Training and seems to have high hopes for the young pitcher.

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Manager Aaron Boone raved about the young arm

Boone seems to have trust in the young star. In the interview, Boone says that his pitch repertoire is “excellent” and says his “athleticism on the mound allows him to have a real clean delivery.” Adding on, he talks about his attitude and how “he has a presence to him” saying that “he believes he belongs here.” 

Boone notices Schmidt as a very determined person and states “he came in highly touted” and “looked the part” in Spring Training. Boone finishes by saying they  “certainly are excited about his development so far” and that he is “looking forward to seeing him go out and start building.”

Schmidt pitched the first and second inning of last night’s intrasquad game and was lights out. He struck out some big-name players like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton on nasty breaking balls. Boone and the rest of the coaches seemed really pleased with Schmidt’s performance. 

Clarke showed promising numbers last season. He pitched in 19 games last year and finished with 3.47 ERA. He struck 102 batters out in 90.2 innings and had a BB/9 of 2.8. Schmidt then received an invite to Spring Training in 2020. He appeared in 4 games and had a 2.57 ERA in 7 innings of work. 

Clarke Schmidt is currently ranked as the 88th best prospect in the MLB and 2nd in the Yankees organization. He still has a lot to prove but is someone to keep your eye on in Summer Camp.

New York Yankees: 2 biggest takeaways from intrasquad scrimmage

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees faced off in an inter-squad matchup consisting of a fraction of their 59 summer camp players.

Ultimately, it was the starting lineup first the reserve line up, but neither of the two looked ready for live-action. Prior to the start of the game, a storm rolled through the Bronx, forcing the tarp out onto the field. It would’ve been an interesting site to see a rain delay on an inter-squad exhibition game the represents live reps for the players.

The Yankees have waited idly by for the opportunity to get on the field, and the matchup showed us several things to keep an eye moving forward.

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Here are the two biggest takeaways from the New York Yankees exhibition game:

1.) The pitchers dominated

As expected, the pitchers dominated the first matchup against live hitters. Even the Yankees’ top sluggers were behind on pitches, due to a lack of reps during quarantine. This is a fantastic opportunity for the players to return to their previous form in spring training.

Several months ago, Giancarlo Stanton, who is reportedly healthy after straining a calf muscle before spring training began, stated that he needed about 30 at-bats to get into baseball shape.

Stanton, aside from his health issues, hit starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka in the head with a line drive over the weekend, staining the come back for the Bombers.

The inadequacy of the hitters was more a testament to the quality of the pitchers, especially youth star Clarke Schmidt, who blanked everyone he faced. He struck Gary Sanchez out on a swing and a miss, something we have become accustomed to over the past two years.

Both the starting and reserve lineups struggled to get anything going, hitting a majority foul balls or light grounders to shortstop and third-base. The only positive sign was Thairo Estrada, who hit a homerun to left field off Tommy Kahnle.

New York Yankees have better luck adhering to health protocols

The New York Yankees tonight will have their first intrasquad game with the Yankee’s J.A. Happ facing the Bombers Clarke Schmidt in a 7 pm eastern matchup at Yankee Stadium.  Some teams have not even been able to complete their first workouts.

The problem seems to center around getting results from testing and the lack of necessary health protocol supplies.  With that in mind, it put the 38 or 39 players testing at positive for the coronavirus in question.  With some teams not getting their tests back promptly that total is most likely much higher than the 1.2% infection rate reported by the players association.

Meanwhile, the New York Yankees have reported that two of their players DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa have tested positive.  LeMahieu is asymptomatic and Cessa only has very mild symptoms.  Both of these cases were discovered with testing before they arrived at Yankee Stadium.  They are self-quarantining at home. Yankee players have their temperature taken when they enter the park and are tested for the virus every two days.

The New York Yankees, although it is a challenge, have all the safety health protocols in place.  The use of Masks, surgical gloves, social distancing are all being used and practiced.  The media has limited access to the stadium and are not allowed in the clubhouse or on the field.  The Yankees are using all areas of the Stadium, both clubhouses, even the great hall to get in all their workouts and meetings.  The Yankees are using eight mounds and all areas of the field.

There have been more positive tests every day, including two for the Nationals that manager Davey Martinez disclosed during his Zoom call. The Cardinals have announced three positive cases, the White Sox two. Braves star Freddie Freeman, who initially tested negative, was among four cases in Atlanta. This has all been within five days of MLB starting back up. The New York Yankees seem to be lucky with only two players infected and they aren’t even at summer camp.

Intake tests have been sorely incomplete, which has forced several teams to change or even postpone workouts. It has been reported that some teams have not received the personal protection equipment that is required by the MLB health initiative.

There is one lab that supposedly is handling all the MLB tests.  There was an original skepticism that the lab would be able to handle the volume and get the tests back in the required 24 to 48 hours. That skepticism has become a reality. On Sunday, Oakland was forced to cancel its position players’ workout because it didn’t have all its intake test results.  In such a short summer camp these inequalities hardly seem fair.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Astros were not tested either Saturday or Sunday, sources tell me and @jakemkaplan . Testers also did not show Sunday for Angels and one, other unidentified clubs. Tests resume for Astros today.

Washington National’s reliever Sean Doolittle, who usually provides honest and articulate commentary said:  “This has got to get fixed.”  Doolittle has been tested four times, half of which have taken longer than 48 hours to get results. In order to complete the baseball season in this coronavirus environment testing as quick results will keep teams from getting to that 5% threshold that could end any teams season.

Photo:  Yankee Gerrit Cole with Yankee mask on Twitter.


New York Yankees News: Preview of tonight’s historic Yankee Matchup

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

Tonight the New York Yankees will make history with the first intrasquad televised game of the 2020 summer camp. Yankee fans have been waiting for the boys of summer to take to the field ever since MLB shut down operations back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This whole season will undeniably go down in baseball history, some positive, most negative.  After the shutdown, the sides made an agreement to allow players full payment based on the season that would be half as long as normal.  No one knew at the time that the season would be even shorter and the owners wanted the players to share in the losses that would be suffered due to no players in the stands or no concession sales.

That was not to be had by the players in contentious negotiations that dragged on for months.  Finally, Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred imposed a 60 game season in 66 games at full prorated play for the players.  Now that that is settled and all the safety protocols are in place to protect players, summer camp has started.

Last night the YES Network announced that the New York Yankees would have two exhibition intrasquad games this week, one tonight and one on Tuesday night that would allow Yankee fans to see their new pitching ace Gerrit Cole start in the game.

Tonight’s game at 7 pm on the network will feature J.A. Happ’s Yankee squad facing Clarke Schmidt’s squad.  The game will likely not go the full normal nine innings and other pitchers will most likely see action as the game progresses.

DJ LeMahieu and Luis Cessa will not be in the games as they have both tested positive for the coronavirus and are quarantined at home.

New York Yankee fans are chomping at the bit to see their New York Yankee players on the field even if it’s just an intrasquad game.  The Yankees have chosen two of their best performing pitchers from spring training 1.0 to face each other in this long-awaited test for both pitchers.

J.A. Happ was 12-8 last season with an elevated 4.91 ERA, however, the Yankees went 20-11 in games that Happ started.  In spring training 1.0, Happ had the best record for any Yankee pitcher that pitched at least ten innings.  In 4 games, all starts, Happ went 2-0 with a tiny ERA of just 1.38 across 13 innings.

After Clarke Schmidt missing the first year of his professional career to Tommy John surgery, Schmidt looked sharp in the first spring training.  He went 0-0 in 4 games and seven innings with a very respectable 2.57 ERA. Presently Jordan Montgomery is slated to be the fifth starter in a short season that is going to miss Domingo German and Luis Severino for the entire season.  Should Montgomery falter Clarke Schmidt and Jonathan Loaisiga would be next in line to take over those duties.

No matter what the outcome of tonight’s friendly game, Yankee baseball is back, and Yankee fans couldn’t be happier.