New York Yankees 7/6: Live Yankee game tonight on TV, and weekend news roundup

Finally, New York Yankees fans will have a live baseball game to watch on TV.  The YES Network will televise the first Yankee intrasquad game since the shut down of spring training in March at the George M. Steinbrenner training complex in Tampa.  The prime time game will be at Yankee Stadium at 7 pm with coverage starting at 6 pm.  The game will be started by J.A. Happ facing the intrasquad Yankee rookie Clark Schmidt. Happ went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in the shutdown spring training. Other pitchers will surely get in on the action.

With only seventeen days before the first game of the season on July 23, in Washington D.C. against the Nationals, the New York Yankee manager Aaron Boone said yesterday that he “wanted to get in as many live reps as possible. With a shorter amount of time [to prepare], we want pitchers in game action and build up pitch counts, we’ll go easy as far as running and getting out of the box.”

The YES Network will also televise another intrasquad game at 7 pm on Tuesday.  That game will have Gerrit Cole starting.  Both games will likely be six or seven-inning affairs as the players’ build-up for the regular season.  Manager Boone indicated that would be more exhibition games.

Masahiro Tanaka doing well after taking a hit

In case you missed the big headline at the start of summer camp. On Saturday New York Yankee pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, in a sim game took a Giancarlo Stanton comebacker off the head and immediately dropped to the ground where he lay motionless for minutes, before being helped off the field.

Tanka was taken to the hospital for an MRI and tests and was released a few hours later.  Yesterday on Twitter Tanaka said he was “all good” and thanked all his supporters for their encouragement.  Tanaka was at the Stadium yesterday.  Tanaka was diagnosed with a mild concussion. The next few days will be telling for if he will miss more than a few days.

39 MLB players test positive for COVID-19, two are Yankees

With the start of summer camp across baseball 39 players have tested positive for the coronavirus, and more are sure to be added to that list. Two New York Yankees are on that list.  New York Yankees MVP 2nd baseman DJ. LeMahieu and Yankee reliever Luis Cessa.

DJ LeMahieu is asymptomatic and Luis Cessa has very mild symptoms, as reported by the Yankees. Neither player had yet reached Yankee Stadium and are at home self quarantining. Manager Aaron Boone is hoping they won’t be out too long and may return before the end of summer camp. It has been reported that team infection rates of as much as 5% will not affect play.  Right now that figure is at just over 1%, which is far below the national average.

No New York Yankees are expected to opt-out of the season.

New York Yankee manager Aaron Boone has said that he doesn’t expect any New York Yankee player to opt-out due to the coronavirus.  The agreement between MLB and MLBPA (players union) states that any player that feels uncomfortable with playing during the pandemic may opt-out. Other teams are not that lucky.

The Los Angeles Dodgers got a double hit when new pitcher David Price and Mookie Betts, both former Red Sox announced they will opt-out. The new Atlanta Brave Felix Hernandez has opted out of the season. Others who have opted out are the Washington Nationals Ryan Zimmerman, Wellington Castillo, and Joe Ross, the Colorado Rockie Ian Desmond, and the Giants Tyson Ross. More are likely to follow in the coming days.

Gleyber Torres transitions back to short

Tonight Yankee fans will get to see Gleyber Torres play at short in his first game of summer camp.  Torres through his minor league days was a shortstop but the Yankees transitioned him to 2nd base, now the Yankees are putting him back at short.

Last year with an injury to Didi Gregorius that caused him to miss some of the season, Torres for the most part filled in for him. DJ LeMahieu covered 2nd base with MVP perfection.  Over the postseason the Yankees decided to let Gregorius go to the Phillies and make Torres their opening day shortstop.  Fans and the Yankee brass will be watching to see how successful he can be.

“I feel pretty good these first couple of days [of camp],’’ said Torres, who was in Tampa for part of the shutdown. “During the quarantine, I prepared myself well. There were not too many options for fields. I [watched] a lot of videos of myself, trying to get ready for shortstop.”

 

New York Yankees: The Future Looks Bright For These Three Youngsters

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees just released their summer camp rosters so let’s look and see who on the list we might see in Pinstripes one day. Three players come to mind.  All of them are pitchers. 

Let’s begin with the 20-year pitching machine Deivi Garcia (currently ranked 92nd on MLB’s top 100). Garcia has everyone talking about him and is closer than ever to getting his shot in the big leagues. He has a nasty arsenal of pitches with a screaming fastball and a knee-buckling curve ball. He has climbed up the minor league ladder quickly in the last 3 years and was the youngster most consistently in the spotlight this past Spring. Let’s look at the numbers. 

He started getting attention in 2018 when he put up an astonishing 1.27 ERA in 5 starts with the Tampa Tarpons. In mid-2018 he optioned to the Charleston River Dogs where he struggled in his first few starts but finished strong enough to be called up to the Trenton Thunder late that season. He had just one outing, but pitched a very productive 5 shutout innings.   

Garcia again received an invite to extended Spring Training with the Tampa Tarpons in 2019 where he finished with a 3.06 ERA over 17.2 innings. He was again called up to the Trenton Thunder and held his own finishing with a 3.86 ERA in 11 starts. 

Garcia made his Triple-A debut with the Rail Riders bullpen in late 2019. While he struggled in his first two starts there, he improved over time and ended with a 5.40 ERA.

He got his first invite to Spring Training in 2020. He finished with a 7.36 ERA after 7 innings pitched in a season cut short by COVID-19.  That was not the performance Garcia wanted, but the spotlight hasn’t shifted and the Yankees know he gets better with time. Despite his Spring Training performance, the higher-ups are expecting Garcia to positively impact the Yankees very soon.  At just 20-years old, he has plenty of time to do just that.  Look to see Deivi Garcia’s name in the big leagues at some point in the future. 

The next pitching stud that is opening eyes in the organization is 23-year old pitching phenom Clarke Schmidt (currently ranked 88th on MLB’s top 100). Schmidt is another player that’s climbed the Yankees ladder quickly after being drafted by the Yanks in 2018. Schmidt’s nasty breaking ball makes players whiff. 

The first rounder has surprised everyone in the organization with his quick development.  In 2018 he pitched in the Gulf Coast League and also played for the Staten Island Yankees. He finished the year with a 3.09 ERA in 23 innings.  With shockingly good numbers in 2018, he was invited to Tampa for extended Spring Training. He had great numbers with the Tarpons, finishing with a 3.84 ERA in 12 starts. He returned to the Gulf Coast League where he started three games finishing with a 3.24 ERA. From there, he was pulled up to Double-A to play with the Trenton Thunder. His time with the Thunder was short due to the late call-up, but he started 3 games and finished with a phenomenal 2.37 ERA leading to an invite to join the Yankees in Tampa for his first Spring Training. He was a member of the bullpen for the beginning of Spring Training and handled that adjustment with ease, finishing with a 2.57 ERA in 7 innings.

Schmidt looked great in Tampa and used his breaking ball effectively. Clarke Schmidt is definitely one of the names to watch in the future. 

The final stud on the list is 22-year old, right-handed pitcher, Miguel Yajure. There are higher ranked pitchers in the organization but I see something special with Miguel’s ability to dominate deep in counts and get players to swing and miss. Miguel has some nasty pitches in his arsenal.  During our recent interview, he told me he is most confident throwing his change-up. He is creeping up in the rankings and gaining recognition but still doesn’t get talked about enough. 

He has been with the Yankees since he was 17-years old and has improved every year. In 2018, started 14 games with the Charleston River Dogs and finished with a 3.90 ERA. He played the majority of his 2019 season with the Tampa Tarpons and pitched in 22 games (started in 18) and finished with an incredible 2.26 ERA in 127 innings of work. Heads were turning quickly and he was called up to Double-A to play with the Trenton Thunder. While he only started in 2 games he dominated both, finishing with a 0.86 ERA over 11 innings. Based on his performance in 2019, he was invited to join the Yankees down in Tampa for Spring Training where he pitched in 2 games, giving up 3 runs over 2.1 innings pitched. 

Yajure’s resume speaks for itself and he is really due to make some noise soon.  

All three pitchers are extremely talented and trending up in the rankings.  Don’t be surprised to see one or more in the Bronx soon. Their future truly looks bright!

New York Yankees News: Yankee prospects want a season and sooner than later

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees and all MLB teams sit waiting while the negotiations between owners and players seem to be at a standstill.  The reason there haven’t been breakthrough centers around health issues and money.  The health issues have been addressed even though some players have said the risk is too high.  The biggest stumbling block to getting a deal done is the owners’ plan for revenue sharing, which the MLPA has said is dead on arrival.  At this point, neither side seems willing to blink.

If no deal can be reached, the baseball season will be canceled.  If the negotiations go on and on without resolution, the season will be defacto canceled as time will run out to have a viable season.  If the season is canceled, it could have a negative effect on many player’s careers, including players that will become free agents at the end of the season, whether there is one or not.  However, the effect on many Yankee prospects may be even more costly. When you take a year away, that cannot be replaced, and several New York Yankee prospects want to advance to the Stadium this year.

Clarke Schmidt, pitcher

If there is one player chomping at the bit to play, it’s Clarke Schmidt. He is just itching to see the big time, and he believes he is fully ready. Yankee scouts saw something in Schmidt when the New York Yankees took him in the 2017 draft even though he needed Tommy John Surgery.  But that gamble paid off last season when he had an ERA of 3.84 in twelve games at high A Tampa with 69 strikeouts.  Once he was promoted to Trenton AA, he pitched even better, bringing that ERA down to 2.37 across 19 innings in three games.

In the abruptly shortened spring training this year, he impressed in four games.  He pitched for seven innings with an ERA of 2.57 and eight strikeouts and whip of 1.714.  The 24-year-old has in two seasons advanced from #62 prospect to #2. Schmidt has a mid-90s fastball, a deceptive changeup, and a slider that has been billed above-average. For a player advancing so quickly, a year off could be detrimental to his career.

Luis Medina, pitcher

Medina is another right-hand pitcher that the Yankees really like. Medina is blessed with phenomenal fastball velocity in the upper 90s, a great hook, but the righty has had problems with control. He pitched poorly in Advanced-A last season with far too many walks allowed. Nevertheless, he was promoted to the Charleston River Dogs, where things seemed to turn around, where he pitched to a .084 ERA.  With him seemingly gaining control, no play could have an adverse effect. Medina at 21 has time to develop.

Deivi Garcia, pitcher

Deivi Garcia was once a number one prospect but has slipped down to number three in most listings.  Garcia has had his struggles. In 2017 at Tampa high A, Garcia had impressive success pitching to an ERA of 1.27, but in 2018 he had an up and down year. 2019 was a bit better; between Tampa and Trenton, he was 4-6 ERA of 3.43.  He earned a promotion to Scranton Wilkes/Barre, where his tired early in games and basically fell apart.  In six games, he was 1-3 with an inflated 5.40 ERA.  In spring training, he failed to impress. Whether time off helps or hurts Garcia is questionable.

Anthony Volpe, infielder

The New York Yankees have high hopes for Volpe. Volpe is an infielder, but shortstop is his desire and where he plays best.  The Yankees can see Volpe with a future, staffing that position. During spring training, he didn’t get to show his stuff, playing in only one game.  In 2019 he played in 34 games at Pulaski. He hit .215 with two homers but with an OPS of .704 with a .936 fielding percentage.  Volpe is only 19 and is still developing.  Missing a season is not going to aid in that development.

There are also other prospects like pitcher Luis Gil and Roansy Contreras that also would like to see some playing time this year.  You might notice I have left Jasson Dominguez and Estevan Florial off the list.   Jasson, although the top Yankee prospect at 17, is still a year or two away from the bigs although he continues to work out in the Dominican Republic.  Florial has dropped off the Yankees top 10 prospect list, after having a sub-par season in the minors and when called up.  With the minor league season canceled this year, lack off of play could be a significant issue with many of these players.

New York Yankees: Clarke Schmidt’s family is helping him stay in shape during the extended break

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

MLB was supposed to start on March 26. However, due to concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, play was stopped and the start of the 2020 season was pushed back. There is, as of now, no set date to resume spring training and begin playing games that matter. However, that hasn’t stopped New York Yankees‘ hurler Clarke Schmidt, who is still preparing at home for whenever public health and MLB officials consider that the conditions to play are acceptable.

Schmidt said he was throwing to Cincinnati Reds’ catcher Tyler Stephenson, his buddy, before the state of Georgia (where he lives) implemented a full-on lockdown. Now, he has other partners helping him stay in shape.

Schmidt told Brendan Kuty in a long, entertaining interview for NJ.com that his brother Clete, who used to play professional baseball and retired this past year,is catching his bullpens. “He’s extremely athletic,” he said.

The Yankees’ prospect is getting ready and breaking down video

The promising pitcher said that while doesn’t have the Edgertronic at his house, he does have “certain types of cameras that aren’t as high speed as obviously the other ones. But whether it’s a small video or whatever it might be, I’ve been able to have my father or my mom or whoever it may be video taping.”

His family is helping him reach the major leagues, which could happen as soon as this year as things stand. The Yankees may need fresh arms if expanded rosters are going to be in play.

So, what is Schmidt looking in his videos? “I want to look at release and finger release and you can slow it down enough to where you can see noticeable differences and you can look at axises. You can make Sharpie balls where you color with the Sharpie on the ball to see where the ball is spinning when it comes off your fingers. It will tell you the axis on some of your pitches. I’ve been doing that, working on some stuff with different pitches and stuff like that.”

In four spring training games and seven innings, Schmidt had a 2.57 ERA for the New York Yankees. He had a good showing, and while he will ideally benefit from a bit more seasoning in the minors, he could certainly hold his own in the bigs if that’s the case.

The New York Yankees’ pitchers are using a Google Docs file to update their activities

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees may be stuck at home, like the rest of us, but that doesn’t mean they are not working or preparing for a hypothetical start of the season, whether it is in May, June, July or August.

Pitching coaches and coordinators, led by newcomer Matt Blake, are certainly not resting and not letting their pitchers relax too much. Instead, they are using a simple, but useful technology resource to keep the whole staff connected and updated with everybody’s progress and activities.

Yes, the players and coaches are all spread around the United States, but the Yankees are using a Google Docs file to keep track of their pitchers and their exact offseason activities and preparations.

The Yankees keep preparing for the season

According to pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt, “whatever you’re doing, whatever you threw that day or whatever you were planning to throw that week, you put it in the Google doc and edit it under your name.”

“[Pitching coach Matt] Blake or a pitching coach will check in on us. That’s the way it’s going right now. They put out a tentative throwing program that you can follow or you can do your own thing, whatever you feel is comfortable for yourself.”

With rumors about the season starting in May with all teams playing games in Arizona, there is a chance that teams play lots of doubleheaders. That would mean expanded rosters, which may result in us seeing a lot from Schmidt and young guns like Jonathan Loaisiga, Mike King, Nick Nelson, Ben Heller, and other talented hurlers from the New York Yankees.

That being the case, the Yankees may need to keep their Google Docs file updated with regular activity. The organization could need contributions from several unexpected places and sources.

“They’ve been awesome with communicating with us,” Schmidt said to NJ.com. “There’s not like a two-day or three-day period that goes on where I’m not talking to someone with the staff, whether it’s Blake or it’s [head trainer Tim Lentych] or Brad Hyde, the strength coach. Everybody’s staying in contact. It’s just making the process as easy as possible because there’s so much unknown. It’s one of those things where any bit of information can help.”

Yankees News/Rumors: David Hale we love you, Clarke Schmidt, Anthony Volpe, and more

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

David Hale still a Yankee!

Yesterday, I, along with many others who report on the New York Yankees, reported that Yankee reliever David Hale had been cut, although it was true Hale is still a Yankee.  Hale had an opt-out in his minor league contract at the end that could have been exercised four days before the end of spring training.  With spring training shut down, the opt-out became moot.   So the story was accurate, the Yankees did release him, but the news didn’t catch up that he had been immediately re-signed.

Meanwhile, Hale is at his home in Georgia, trying to stay in shape for an eventual re-start of the season.  Being that this was paperwork only matter, Hale was temporarily shaken when he started to get texts from friends about his release.  His manager explained it all, and all is good.  Hale may start in the minors when the season starts, but could also be used in the bigs for a multi-inning reliever at some point in the season.

Clarke Schmidt made his point

Deivi Garcia went into spring training at the Yankees number one pitching prospect, and wanted to solidify that position.  That did not happen; in fact, the New York Yankees announced that Garcia would be demoted to the Trenton Thunder.  Clark Schmidt, on the other hand, also considered a top pitching prospect proved to the Yankee brass that he was the man.

The 24-year-old Schmidt really opened eyes during the shortened spring training. Before Schmidt’s signing in 2017, he had Tommy John surgery. In his two years in the minors, he had posted a respectable 3.39 ERA in 27 games.  During spring training, he pitched beautifully in his two-game allotment due to the shortened camp.  In his second outing scouts remarked:

“It was his [second] big league game and it’s spring training, but when you can throw the breaking ball behind in the count for strikes, you have a chance to be really good,’’ the scout said of Schmidt, who worked two scoreless innings, allowed two hits, struck out three and didn’t issue a walk. “You can see him as a keeper.’’

Obviously Schmidt was trying to elbow his way into starts at Yankee Stadium due to the pitching shortage caused by back surgery to James Paxton and the Tommy John surgery on Luis Severino.  With the shortened season and James Paxton to return sooner than expected, that will likely not happen.  He also has not pitched about the double-A level.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him flash his stuff at some point during the season, especially if there are injuries in the rotation.

Anthony Volpe and spring training

In a really messed up spring training caused by the coronavirus, Anthony Volpe got a taste of playing with the big guys.  When a minor league tested positive for the virus, all the minor leaguers were guaranteed.

The 18-year-old passed up on a scholarship to Vanderbilt and signed with the New York Yankees.  Last season he slashed a .215/.341/.704 line.  But for the month before his season was shortened by mono, he hit .318. Volpe got to play in one game at Gorge M. Steinbrenner Field this spring.  Disappointed by the sudden shutdown of camp, he returned to his home in New Jersey when the minor league quarantine was lifted.

“In the grand scheme of things, compared to other people, we didn’t have it that bad,’’ Volpe told The New York Post. “Pray for the people who are sick and all the doctors and the nurses and everyone who are putting themselves at risk.’’

Yankee manager Aaron Boone says yes to a baseball season

The New York Yankees Field Manager Aaron Boone is at his Greenwich, CT. home trying to prepare for what a baseball season might look like. He is also playing occasional catch with newly acquired Yankee pitching ace Gerrit Cole who purchased a large home near Boone’s.

In a recent podcast, Boone indicated his optimism that there will be a baseball season this year, albeit a shortened one.

“I absolutely feel hopeful that we’re going to have a season,” said Boone. “I’ve tried, even though it’s hard because you kind of end up speculating every day, like whatever little bit of information that comes in, ‘Well I could see us starting on this date.’ It’s usually a futile effort because you don’t really have any answers and nobody really does. You try to remain hopeful and remain optimistic.

“If and when that time comes, as best we can, go out there and be prepared to go win a championship. That will be our mindset and that will be our focus. I’m confident that when we do get that call that our guys will be ready to go perform in whatever way, shape or form that is.”

Boone said of the need for a mini-spring training that it would depend on the start date and on what MLB will allow for a roster expansion.  Boone said he is in touch with all the players by text message and, in some cases, by Facetime.  He also indicated that there are about a dozen players that have remained in the Tampa training complex area.

 

New York Yankees: Analyzing Possible Breakout Prospects

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

There has been a lot of buzz about the way Clarke Schmidt has looked so far for the New York Yankees. Last year there was a ton of buzz surrounding Deivi Garcia with how quickly he was rising through the New York Yankees system. Now, both of those guys deserve the hype they’ve received. I mean, I’m a huge fan of Clarke Schmidt and believe he is a future staple of the rotation. I believe Deivi Garcia has a very high ceiling as a reliever, but I’m not 100% sold on him as a starter just yet. However, there is one pitching prospect that I think fans should keep their eyes on in 2020. This is a prospect that might have the best stuff in the entire system. This prospect has a fastball that touches triple digits, an incredible curve, and 90 MPH+ splitting change. The prospect I’m referring to is Luis Medina.

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Up & Down 2019

Medina is getting ready to turn 21 and he is looking to build off of a great end to his 2019 season. Medina has really struggled with command at times during his first few years in the minors but showed flashes at the end of last year why many believe he can be the top arm in the Yankees system. Medina really struggled for the majority of 2019 with Single-A Charleston. Medina went 1-8 with a 6.00 ERA and was walking almost seven batters per nine innings. On the flip side of that, he was striking out 11 batters per nine innings. Medina has been very hot and cold during his first few years, but the stuff is undeniable when on. The location is the part that he really needs to figure out. He turned a corner in his last couple of starts with A+ Tampa last year. In his final two starts, he pitched 10.2 innings and only gave up one run. He struck out 12 batters while only walking three. Something seemed to click with him and I think that will carry over to the 2020 season.

2020 Preview

This year I expect Medina to make it up to AA. I am not expecting Medina to come close to the majors, but I do expect him to really garner a lot of attention from people in the baseball world. You’re going to see Medina fine-tune some of his mechanics and use his three-pitch mix to really go after guys when he’s on the mound. I expect to see his strikeout numbers stay about the same, but I expect those walk numbers to go down. Medina is too good of a pitcher to never figure out his command. Expect a breakout season from Medina that will turn him into a top-five prospect in the system going into the 2021 season.

New York Yankees Prospects Looking To Make Their Marks

The New York Yankees find themselves in yet another welcoming position they’ve been in the last few years.  Keith Law of The Athletic has the Yankees currently ranked as having the sixth-best farm system in all of baseball.  Over the last few years, the Yankees have done what has been referred to as a rebuild on the fly. They took notice of their current state of not being world series contenders and traded away their older aging assets for younger players that could help give them a future while maintaining competitiveness. This strategy has set them up for years to come with young talent that can eventually take the place of their current stars. In some cases, these young stars will be called upon sooner than expected due to unforeseen circumstances such as an injury to the major league players.  In this piece, I’ll go over the prospects who have a great opportunity to contribute this year.

Deivi Garcia: Depending on which ratings you use, Garcia can be the best pitcher in the Yankees’ minor leagues.  He is equipped with a fastball that ranges from 91-97 mph with good movement, a newly developed slider, a wipeout curveball as his bread and butter strikeout pitch, and a changeup that offers a different look to hitters.  Garcia raced through the minor league system last year making it all the way to Triple-A Scranton. At AAA. he finally found some level of competition that made him struggle. The New York Yankees will most likely keep him in Scranton for a good part of the season in order to give him more development time as he’s still only 20 years old.  Once he can refine his command and prove that he can get out AAA hitters, he will finally get his chance to prove himself in the big leagues. With the state of the Yankees rotation currently, there’s an outside chance he gets called up sooner but I would expect him to make his debut either late summer or as a September callup.

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Clarke Schmidt:  The other best pitcher in the New York Yankees farm system.  Clarke reached all the way to Double-A Trenton this past season and has an outside shot at getting some spot starts during the season if he continues to progress the way he has been.  Out of all the pitchers in the Yankees top prospects, Schmidt probably has the highest floor. He may not have the best pure stuff, but he already possesses a command of all his pitches and is probably the surest thing to be a middle of the rotation major league pitcher.  His fastball ranges from 92-97 mph with heavy sink and his breaking balls grade as above average as well. He also mixes in a changeup that drops away from bats as it reaches the plate. As previously mentioned, Schmidt is very close to being major league ready and could probably get some spot starts during the season similar to the way Jonathon Loaisiga did in 2018 making the jump from Double-A all the way to the bigs.  At the very least he will most definitely be getting a September callup to audition for a full time

Nick Nelson:  Nelson is kind of an under the radar choice for e contributor in 2020.  He is rarely talked about in the top prospect lists but he is probably the closest out of any of the pitchers to playing a role with the Yankees this year seeing as he finished in Triple-A last year as well. He comes equipped with a fastball that sits 92-96 and tops out at 98 mph but his secondary pitches are what holds him back.  None of his other pitches grade out as anything but average. The key with Nelson is although he has found success at each stop of the minor leagues, his future may be in the bullpen. His arsenal of pitches may actually be more suited for the bullpen. His fastball would just need one or two pitches to complement it allowing him to focus more on just those ones. If the Yankees end up needing another arm in the bullpen throughout long stretches of games during the season, Nelson could very well be that guy.  I believe the bullpen is going to be where he finds his home. But for now, they will continue to develop him into a starter.

These three top prospects for the Yankees have the most to offer them now and in the future.  They will be waiting for the call to showcase their stuff and look to begin their hopefully long careers in pinstripes.

When will New York Yankees’ Clarke Schmidt debut this year?

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees new top pitching prospect made his spring debut this week and looked pretty impressive if you ask me. Clarke Schmidt struggled a little when he first started last weekend but has shown why he is the new top pitching prospect for the Yankees.

In his first outing, Schmidt allowed a single down the line which saw the runner get thrown out at second. After that, Schmidt threw seven straight balls although a couple were very borderline calls. In a 3-0 count, Schmidt showed his dynamic changeup for a whiff then got an inning-ending double play.

In his second outing against the Rays, Schmidt threw two strong innings striking out three batters showing off his knee-buckling curveball along with his fastball and change. Empire Sports talked about the fact that the Yankees might have found their fifth starter in Schmidt, but will it be after this spring or sometime later in the year?

Schmidt’s Ceiling is High

I think Clarke Schmidt is the best option for the Yankees rotation. You’re looking at a guy who has three plus pitches and scouts are starting to talk about how he could be a top end of the rotation kind of arm. The 24-year-old looks primed to make his debut sometime this year for the Yankees.

That being said, I would be stunned if Schmidt breaks camp as the fifth starter for the Yankees. While a lot of folks think he is ready now, I think the Yankees will slow play this just a little. The Yankees have the top four spots in their rotation figured out, and they are expecting Paxton back in the first part of the season. I think the Yankees see the incredible value in Schmidt, but I also think they want to give him every chance to develop in the minors before throwing him into the rotation.

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Where does he start?

Now, Schmidt does have the ability to force their hand early in the year. I think the Yankees need/should to start him in AAA along with Deivi Garcia. I think they will patch the fifth spot in the rotation together while letting Schmidt and Garcia have more time at AAA to fine-tune some stuff.

If Schmidt comes out and looks like a world-beater at AAA, the guys battling for that fifth spot might lose their job before they can even get a fair look. It’s a doom and gloom time right now with all the injuries, but the rotation depth the Yankees have should comfort fans. Once the Yankees get Paxton and German back, they have about nine or ten guys who could start in a major league rotation. Out of all those young guys, Schmidt has the highest ceiling and I do expect him to pitch in pinstripes this year. If you ask me, it won’t be early unless injuries force the hand of the Yankees, but Schmidt will pitch in New York at some point.

Did the New York Yankees find their 5th starter in Clarke Schmidt?

New York Yankees, Clarke Schmidt

The season-ending injury to New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino has significant consequences. Finding a fifth starter would be problematic for any other team, but the Yankees have a profound prospect system and made the intelligent decision to retain J.A. Happ.

With James Paxton also expected to miss at least two months after having a cyst removed from his lower back, Jordan Montgomery will have to fill the void and claim the No. 4 spot in the rotation.

Initially, I expected the Yankees to utilize a three-man rotation for the fifth spot in the unit, but after seeing Clark Schmidt, one of the Yankees top youth pitching prospects, dominate on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays, my opinion has changed slightly.

Schmidt dominated in the minors last year, posting a 2.37 ERA in AA Trenton, while only pitching in 19 innings. In High A Tampa, he pitched 63.1 innings and logged a 3.84 ERA.

2019 Season Statistics:

GCL Yankees East: 8.1 IP, 3.24 ERA, 2.79 FIP, 1.080 WHIP, 15.12 K/9, 3.24 BB/9, 1.08 HR/9
High-A Tampa Tarpons: 63.1 IP, 3.84 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 1.311 WHIP, 9.81 K/9, 3.41 BB/9, 0.28 HR/9
Double-A Trenton Thunder: 19 IP, 2.37 ERA, 2.01 FIP, 0.789 WHIP, 9 K/9, 0.47 BB/9, 0.47 HR/9

According to The Athletic’s Keith Law, Schmidt is the Yankees’ top-rated prospect. He struck out three batters and allowed two hits over two innings pitched against the Rays on Thursday. While the 24-year-old has yet to make his MLB debut, he finished the 2019 season with a 2-0 record in Trenton.

Some say it is unlikely that Schmidt will make a significant impact on the 2020 season, but he utilized impressive offspeed pitches during his outing against Tampa Bay. His high strikeout rate and ability to generate ground balls rank among his greatest strengths. This also looks very good in Yankee Stadium. While consistency has been an issue at times for Schmidt, he has plenty of time to refine his abilities before the beginning of the season.

The Yankees do have Michael King, Jonathan Loaisiga, and other more experienced pitchers as options to fill the No. 5 spot. However, I wouldn’t toss Schmidt aside just yet, especially after such an impressive outing. Keep an eye on him as the pre-season progresses.