New York Yankees Player Profiles: Clarke Schmidt, will he be the fifth starter in 2021? (video)

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees have many decisions to make this offseason and before spring training. But nothing is happening while everything is on hold until the front office finds out if they can re-sign DJ LeMahieu. Even if they do sign him soon, there will not likely be any changes until right before or during spring training. The New York Yankees will be conservative with spending as owner Hal Steinbrenner has already said he wants to cut payroll, not spend. With that stance, big signings are most likely not going to happen.

According to how you look at it, that news could be bad, or on the other hand, good for young Yankee prospects like the up and coming prospect Clarke Schmidt. Clarke made his major league debut on September 4, 2020. With the loss of Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ, Schmidt just might be considered for the anchor spot on the 2020 rotation. How he performs during spring training will make that more clear. But let’s start his rise to possible inclusion in the rotation from the beginning.

Clarke was born in Acworth, Georgia, and attended Allatoona High School and played baseball at the University of South Carolina. As a freshman, Schmidt pitched in 18 games and made 10 starts, pitching to a 2–2 with a 4.81 ERA and 55. He became South Carolina’s ace as a sophomore in 2016. He pitched in 18 games with 17 starts and went 9–5 with a 3.40 ERA and 129 strikeouts. Schmidt remained the team’s number one starter his junior year in 2017, but in April, he was forced to have Tommy John surgery to repair an ACL.

Nevertheless, he was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 2017 draft but did hot play that year at all rehabbing. He made his pro debut with the Gulf Coast Yankees in 2018. He got a big signing bonus of $2.1 million. He quickly worked his way in the minors finishing the season with a 3.09 ERA in ​23 1/3 innings. He started 2019 with the Tampa Tarpons but in August was promoted to the Trenton Thunder, where he pitched until it was announced that there would be no minor league season. On September 4th, he was called up to the Stadium, where he pitched in relief. The 24-year-old ended up pitching in 3 games for 6.1 innings striking out seven but had an elevated 7.11 ERA.

He really impressed manager Aaron Boone and the coaching staff during spring training. Pitching coach Matt Blake feels that Schmidt is progressing well and is the second most promising pitcher after Deivi Garcia will most likely be the number three started when the season starts, assuming the Yankees make no moves to either bring back Masahiro Tanaka or pick up another mid-level pitcher. As it stands now, the number five spot is vacant and probably will be a competition between Schmidt and Jonathan Loaisiga. In the video below, Schmidt talks about his progress and what he is doing during the offseason to be ready for spring training.




New York Yankees: Buck Showalter recommends that the rotation should “go young”

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

On YES Network’s “Hot Stove”, analyst Buck Showalter suggested that the New York Yankees rotation should “go young”. The Yankees rotation is in a roster turnover, with many of their arms from 2020 hitting the free agency market this winter. They could choose to go to free agency to staff the rotation, or focus on in-house options.

Some of those in-house options include Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia, and Clarke Schmidt. All three of these guys have had opportunities in the majors, with Montgomery being on the roster since 2017.

Montgomery pitched to a 9-7 in 2017, his rookie season. He had a 3.88 ERA 144 strikeouts and a 1.230 WHIP over 155.1 innings, finishing sixth in Rookie of the Year voting.

He would make six starts in 2018 before injuring his arm and being forced to undergo Tommy John surgery, sidelining him until the end of the 2019 season. Montgomery appeared twice leading up to the 2019 postseason to shake-off the rust, beginning his 2020 comeback.

His first full-season back saw him finish with a 2-3 record and a 5.11 ERA in 10 starts, slowly returning back to his normal self and showing glimmers of success.

Garcia and Schmidt, on the other hand, have far less experience. While Garcia made six starts in 2020, Schmidt appeared just three times. Garcia posted a 4.98 ERA, while Schmidt held a 7.11 ERA to his name.

If the Yankees were to focus on in-house options filling the rotation, it would be a high risk, high reward scenario. The team would save a lot of money by pitching young guys who have a lot of potential. On the other hand, the Yankees are one of the best teams in all of baseball, and not going after veterans could hurt their postseason chances.

Veterans provide experience with proven talent, something you won’t see in young pitchers. For the Yankees to have the most success, they may be better off mixing in-house guys with veteran free-agents.

Showalter’s proposal of the Yankees rotation going young sounds like a good idea, but won’t work. With how competitive the Yankees are, the can’t afford to stay away from high-profile, proven veterans. Having a mix of young pitchers may help the team, but focusing solely on young-guns will hurt the Yankees.

New York Yankees: Is Clarke Schmidt ready to be a solid big league contributor?

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees, as an organization, are extremely excited to have a prospect like Clarke Schmidt waiting in the wings. In today’s MLB, good pitchers are very valuable, and Schmidt is clearly a noteworthy prospect. However, is he ready to hold a rotation spot and compete with the best of the best? Is he a finished product, ready to take some of the best offenses in baseball currently making their living in the AL East?

The answer is probably “no.” He’s not quite ready yet, as evidenced by his short cameo in the bigs in 2020. He made three starts at Double-A in 2019, yet because of the absence of a minor league season this year, he was taken by the New York Yankees to their alternate training site and made his debut, perhaps prematurely, but as a way of keeping him active.

In 6.1 frames, Schmidt had a 7.11 ERA, but a much more decent 4.30 FIP and a 5.49 SIERA. He is, however, best served at Triple-A for an extended period of time, ideally half a season. If he proves he can handle Triple-A hitters for several starts, he could get an opportunity with the Yankees in 2021. Of course, to this point, it is not a certainty that there will be a MiLB season next year.

The Yankees’ manager would like to see him prove himself in the high minors

Yankees manager Aaron Boone spent some time this week on the Bucky Dent’s “Deep To Left Podcast” with Jon Schwartz. There, the skipper hinted that Schmidt could use some more time in the minor leagues.

“Clarke Schmidt, we’re so excited about,” Boone said. “Still probably needs some more seasoning.” The 24-year-old righty should be a good starter for years to come, and there is nothing wrong on making sure he’s ready to contribute consistently.

“(Schmidt) obviously not having a minor league season this year is frustrating,” Boone said. “You want to be able to see those guys continue to develop because, in Clarke’s case, he’s a guy we’re pretty confident is going to be a really good pitcher in this league for a long time.”

The Yankees might need him soon into the 2021 season. As of now, only Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Domingo German, Deivi Garcia, and Mike King are healthy and under contract. Luis Severino should be ready come July, and Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ are free agents.

New York Yankees: Where do Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt fit in the 2021 puzzle?

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

There’s a lot of questions surrounding the New York Yankees about the 2021 season, but one may be no bigger than the starting pitching situation. The team has their ace in Gerrit Cole, but the rest of the rotation remains unknown for 2021.

Three of the Yankees usual five starters will be hitting the free-agent market this winter in Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and JA Happ. Luis Severino, sidelined by Tommy John surgery, will reportedly return in June or July. The team also has control of Jordan Montgomery for several more years, a valuable lefty. Additionally, Domingo German is eligible to pitch in 2021 after missing the 2020 season to suspension.

So with all these guys having the potential to return to the rotation in 2021, where does this place Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt?

Well, that depends on what the Yankees do with some of the other guys. With Cole being the only lock in rotation in 2021, they have four spots to fill and a lot of pitchers that want those spots.

Tanaka is reportedly drawing interest to play back in Japan, where he’s likely to get more money. Rumors indicate he’ll be offered 20$-25$ million dollars a year in Japan. Since the team already has a lefty in Montgomery, they may not want to bring back Paxton since he is relatively injury prone. And Happ, he’s a lefty as well, but his velocity is dipping and he’s starting to lose his stuff.

So it’s very possible the Yankees don’t bring back any of these three free-agent pitchers. However, the team seems interested in landing Trevor Bauer in free-agency, a strong contender to be the NL Cy Young award winner this season.

For Garcia and Schmidt to see starts in 2021, the team can only really sign one free-agent, unless they move on from German. With his suspension, rumors indicate the Yankees may get rid of German, even though he’s reinstated for 2021. If they keep German, it would likely put him with Montgomery, Cole, a free-agent, and either Garcia or Schmidt.

The two young arms of Garcia and Schmidt likely will be competing against each other in Spring Training for a spot. The winner gets a rotation spot, the loser goes to the bullpen. Both arms are too valuable to keep in AAA to start the season.

But, when Severino gets healthy, he’ll be placed in the rotation. So someone would have to get moved from the rotation, and that would likely be either Garcia or Schmidt.

On the other hand, if the Yankees sign two free-agents, it’s likely neither Garcia or Schmidt will start games. That’s unless Paxton is among those signed. If they hold on to Paxton, Montgomery risks losing a rotation spot. It’s highly unlikely the team rolls without a lefty starter, but it isn’t unheard of them having multiple lefties.

Regardless of what happens in free agency, it’s highly unlikely Clarke Schmidt or Deivi Garcia spends 2021 in AAA. The two are MLB ready and have endless potential. Garcia proved to the Yankees in 2020 that he deserves a spot in the big-leagues, and Schmidt’s stuff has looked great. He just needs more major league innings.

Even if Garcia and Schmidt aren’t starters in 2021, there should be a spot for them in the Yankee bullpen.



New York Yankees Recap: Yankees get shut out in final game of the season

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees last night hoped to gain momentum by winning their last two games of the season, going into the playoffs.  Instead, the Yankees were shut out by the Miami Marlins 5-0.  Yankee pitcher Clarke Schmidt made his major league debut as a starter. He didn’t pitch badly, keeping the Yankees in the game, but he did give up three runs in just four innings, walking two and racking up four strikeouts. That was enough for him to take the loss, as the Yankee offense was again quiet.

Last night’s game was just another instance of Yankee pitching not being stellar and the inability of the lineup to shore him up. It has been a trend for most of the year that has caused the Yankees long losing streaks and, at times, successful periods.  If the Yankees are going to succeed in the postseason, the offense will have to step it up, as they will be facing some of the best pitchers in the game.

At the top of the first inning, the New York Yankee’s  Clarke Schmidt took to the mound and encouraged the Yankees by putting down the Marlins, one, two, three, using only seven pitches. The Marlin’s pitcher Jose Urena pitched a clean bottom of the frame.  Schmidt’s dominance in the first inning was missing at the top of the second inning when he gave up three runs, which would be all the Marlins would need. With two on, he allowed Jazz Chisholm a standup double driving in two. Cory Dickerson singled up the middle, scoring Chisholm from second, and it was 3-0.

Continuing in the bottom of the second inning, Starlin Marte took to the plate, and Schmidt plunked him in the helmet, knocking him out of the game. Schmidt reloaded the bases, but Jesus Aguilar grounded out, saving Schmidt of a blowout in the inning and keeping the Yankees in reach of a comeback.  Unfortunately, the comeback was not to be had, as the Yankees failed to string any hits together, allowing them to cross home plate.

At the top of the third inning, DJ LeMahieu, who had walked in the first, sent a comebacker lined back at Marlins starter Jose Urena knocking him to the ground in writhing pain. The ball ended up hitting his pitching hand, and it became the second Marlin to be knocked out of the game by being hit by a Yankee.

The remainder of the game was relatively unremarkable for the Yankees. At the top of the fifth, Brian Anderson hit a homer off the Yankee reliever Jonathan Holder. Nick Nelson came out in the seventh, and in the eighth, he gave up a home to Jazz Chisholm to center, and it was 5-0 Marlins, which would be the final score in the game.  Schmidt took the loss, and Daniel Castano, who pitched brilliantly for the Marlins, in relief of Urena, got the win.

All in all, this is not the way the New York Yankees wanted to end their season.  But there are a few good takeaways from the game.  The biggest is that the Yankees played a clean errorless game without any injuries. Also, Brett Gardner, in his last game of the season,  went 3 for 4, which is a good sign going into the playoffs. DJ LeMahieu nailed down his batting title, being the first player to win it in both leagues in the modern era. Luke Voit, who has been this year’s workhorse for the Yankees, came away with the home run leader title.



New York Yankees: Clarke Schmidt expected to make first MLB start on Sunday

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

Reports indicate that Clarke Schmidt will make his first New York Yankees start on Sunday against the Miami Marlins. Schmidt, 24, has made two major league appearances out of the bullpen, but has yet to start a game. He has a 7.71 ERA in 2.1 innings.

The hard-throwing right-hander from the University of South Carolina was drafted by the Yankees in the first round of the 2017 draft. It wasn’t until 2018 where he made his professional debut, beginning a quick rise to the majors. His first season saw him stay in rookie ball and low-A, pitching to a tune of a 3.09 ERA across three levels.

2019 saw him make appearances in both A and AA, but never saw AAA. He had a 3.47 ERA across three levels, impressing the Yankees with his velocity and strikeout numbers. He struck out 102 batters in just 90.2 innings, and sits in the mid-90s on the radar.

Schmidt impressed during the shortened spring training, and was invited to “summer camp” once the season commenced. He impressed again there, but was sent to the alternate site in Scranton to continue training. After staying in Scranton for nearly a month and a half, he made his major league debut on September 4th, out of the bullpen.

The Yankees have tasked Schmidt with starting the final game of the regular season, which will likely be a meaningless game for the team. They are poised for the five-seed, as Tampa Bay has clinched their first division in 10 years.

Additionally, Deivi Garcia is likely to start on Saturday, per Aaron Boone. Garcia has a 2-2 record with a 4.88 ERA in five starts. Like on Sunday, Saturday’s game is expected to essentially be meaningless for the Yankees.

The New York Yankees Starting Rotation: 2021 and Beyond

The New York Yankees are looking into Cleveland Indians pitcher, Trevor Bauer.

For the last decade, there have always been questions surrounding the New York Yankees starting rotation. That has been the one flaw in the team that has hindered them from getting over the hump and capturing a 28th World Series championship.

The Yankees made a big step in the right direction signing Gerrit Cole last offseason. Cole has been very good so far this year pitching to a 5-3 record with a 3.20 ERA and striking out 12.1 batters per nine innings. Masahiro Tanaka has been good, but the rest of the rotation has been hit or miss.

Jordan Montgomery hasn’t been sensational so far. The Yankees have had solid outings from J.A. Happ, but the bombers are hoping he’s not part of their 2021 plans given his optional salary. The Yankees have had one pleasant surprise this year, and that’s been Deivi Garcia.

I started thinking about the Yankees beyond this odd COVID season. What is the Yankees rotation going to look like beyond this year, and what are the Yankees going to do this offseason to address the starting pitching? Let’s take a dive into the options.

The Yankees Internal Options

Realistically there is only one guarantee for the Yankees rotation to start the season and that’s Gerrit Cole. Luis Severino will of course be a part of the rotation, but we really don’t know when he will return from his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

I would think that the Yankees would be willing to give Domingo German a spot in the rotation. Last year’s 18 game winner was suspended for the shortened season due to a Domestic Violence case. If those three are in, that leaves questions around the other two spots.

Deivi Garcia sure looks like he deserves a full-time spot in the rotation. The 21 year old has looked sensational through three starts for the Yankees pitching to a 3.06 ERA. However, given the small sample size, his spot isn’t guaranteed.

Jordan Montgomery could get one of the final two spots, but his inconsistent performances could give the Yankees pause. Clarke Schmidt is another option, but he was never given an actual look in the starting rotation, so I’m not convinced they’d go with him.

As things stand, the Yankees could go into the 2021 season without doing a thing and they could field a starting five if Severino is ready to start the year which might be unlikely. If Severino isn’t ready, the Yankees could give Schmidt a chance or look at the starting pitching market.

Options in the Market

The Yankees do have a few starting pitchers that will be hitting the free agent market. The Yankees will do what they can to make sure J.A. Happ’s option doesn’t vest while James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka are both set to become free agents after the year.

If the Yankees were to sign someone in the market, the likely signing would be retaining Masahiro Tanaka. While resigning Tanaka would certainly not be the sexy option for fans, this will probably be the most likely avenue GM Brian Cashman goes down.

If I were running things, I would take a shot at Trevor Bauer. Bauer is having a career year for the Reds. How nice would it be to pair him and Gerrit Cole? Yes there’s personal friction, but money and championships talk.

The Yankees could also look at retaining Paxton, but given the injury concerns, this likely won’t be an option unless they get him dirt cheap. The Yankees could also explore the trade market, but with Cashman’s history, this is also unlikely because of his unwillingness to deal top prospects.

There are plenty of avenues the team can go down to finish off the rotation next year. I would caution fans to not dream of a Bauer scenario. Instead, prepare yourselves for more of a underwhelming offseason like retaining Masahiro Tanaka.

New York Yankees: Could we see Schmidt making his debut this weekend? Here’s what Boone said

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees started an important series against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. At the moment of play ball, they were tied with the Toronto Blue Jays in the second place of the American League East division, so they need to string a few victories to claim separation and to mount a chase of the leaders, the Tampa Bay Rays.

To win some games, the Yankees need some quality pitching. They haven’t gotten many quality innings lately, especially from the bullpen. The team could use an injection of youth, freshness, and new blood.

Clarke Schmidt, the New York Yankees’ top pitching prospect, was added to the team’s taxi squad and traveled to Baltimore, where the club is playing its series against the Orioles. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reported that they could consider bringing him up to make his big league debut.

A rough stretch for the Yankees

After all, the Yankees will play 20 games in the next 17 days and they are going to need all the help they can get. But despite all the hoopla that was created over the report, manager Aaron Boone put some water on the fire.

Boone said that the Yankees aren’t considering calling up Smith at this moment, per Mark Feinsand, although things could change any minute if the team suffers another injury or if one or several key arms are overused in Baltimore.

Schmidt, 24, is a very interesting prospect and could inject some life to the rotation, as Deivi Garcia did in his debut. He had a 3.47 ERA and 102/28 K/BB ratio over 90 2/3 frames across three levels in the minors in 2019. However, he has precious few innings above Double-A.

Will the Yankees call him up this weekend? As of now, there are no plans. But in this crazy short season, anything can happen. Stay tuned, because plans can change at any moment.

Yankees could trade away two young pitching prospects, or start them

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees are being forced into a corner regarding their starting pitching unit. After using Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka on Wednesday in a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves, losing both games, they will have to dive into their taxi squad to last the weekend.

With two doubleheaders, one on Friday and the other on Sunday, utilizing young pitching prospects will be on a necessity.

In the first game of the doubleheader on Friday, Jordan Montgomery will take the mound. In the second game, the Yankees will utilize their bullpen to last a shortened seven-inning contest. However, over the weekend, players like Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt could be handled the ball in their first MLB starts.

Trade bait or legitimate Yankees starters?

Ultimately, the two pitching prospects are considered trade bait at this point in the season. With injuries littered across the roster, the Yankees desperately need more talent to uplift their spirits. They’re currently on a five-game losing streak and need support in the bullpen and starting rotation. Finding a way to grab a solidified starter would be a huge boost to a team that recently lost James Paxton due to a flexor strain. He is currently on the 10-day injured list and will return eventually, but his velocity has already been down and has struggled at times on the mound.

Giving Garcia and Schmidt an opportunity to showcase their abilities, could give them a stock bump in a trade scenario for the Yankees. Often times, deals don’t happen until the final day of the deadline, and we shouldn’t expect a manager Aaron Boone to give away their hand so soon. General manager Brian Cashman works quietly behind the scenes, and despite losing out on Tijuana Walker, there are plenty of pitchers they can target.

When asked about the trade deadline Boone said, “Honestly, no real expectations. Obviously it’s such a unique year and i think [general manager Brian Cashman] and everyone in the front office is kind of navigating what all that means. I know they’re certainly doing their due diligence and going through the process and having conference calls and Zoom calls and definitely exploring a lot of different options. What comes from that remains to be seen. But I haven’t really had any heavy conversations with Cash the last couple of days in regards to that other than knowing they’re putting a lot of time into at least exploring different options.”

Unfortunately, trading for players is always at a loss. Waiting until free agency would be the ideal scenario, but the number of injuries is forcing the Yankees’ hand. Worst case scenario, they stay with their current group and hope for the best, and best-case scenario they land and experience starter who can hold down the fort in the meantime. It is also possible that Schmidt and Garcia simply earn debut starts and continue from there. Both are quality arms who are rising through the ranks and deserve an opportunity at this point.

These prized New York Yankees prospects could debut this weekend

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees have a very busy week, with three doubleheaders thanks to the Mets’ COVID-19 cases last week and last night’s rainout versus the Atlanta Braves. The weekend will be especially brutal from a physical standpoint, as the Bombers will play five games in three days.

Because of that, the Yankees are going to need many arms to navigate through the tough weekend, and if they are fresh, then even better. That’s why manager Aaron Boone told that prized rookies Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia are in play to be called up for the Subway Series.

“They’ll be guys that we’re definitely starting to have conversations that potentially could come into play in some way, shape or form this weekend,” Boone said before Tuesday’s game against the Braves at Truist Park had to be postponed due to rain.

The Yankees’ best pitching prospects

We are talking about the two best pitching prospects in the New York Yankees’ system, with no question. Both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America have Schmidt and Garcia as the second and third best young players in the farm, behind teenage phenom Jasson Dominguez.

Schmidt was the Yankees’ first-round draft pick back in 2017, while he was rehabbing from surgery. He healed, he developed, and he is now ready to take on the big leagues at 24 years old.

Garcia is 21 and had impressive numbers last year at Class-A Advanced and Double-A. He struggled somewhat at the Triple-A level.

Jordan Montgomery will take the ball in one of Friday’s games, while J.A. Happ will do it on Saturday. Sunday’s starter is up in the air, opening up the possibility of Schmidt and Garcia starting that day.

Their callup isn’t a sure thing, though, as neither of them are in the 40-man roster. The Yankees would need to cut someone from the roster to make room.