With the MLB trade deadline approaching next week, the Yankees are expected to be among the buyers in the league. One area of need is starting pitching. James Paxton is currently on the injured list, and the rest of the rotation not named Gerrit Cole have struggled. There aren't many top tier starters available, without paying a large price. Could the Yankees answer to the Yankees' pitching woes be in top prospect Clarke Schmidt?
The Yankees drafted Schmidt back in 2017 with the 16th overall pick in the 1st round, even though he was just coming off of having Tommy John surgery. He only started seven games in 2018 between rookie ball and Low-A. But it was in 2019 that the team really saw what he was capable of.
Schmidt's 2019 season started in rookie ball playing for the GCL Yankees where he only made 3 starts. In those starts he pitched just 8.1 innings with a 3.24 ERA, 14 strikeouts and just 3 walks. He was quickly moved up to the Advanced Single A Tampa Tarpons. With Tampa, Schmidt started 12 games going 4-5 with a 3.84 ERA. In his 63.1 innings of work he struck out 69 batters, and walked 24. He only gave up 2 home runs while holding opponents to a .247 average.
He was then promoted to Double A Trenton where he started in 3 games, posting a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings of work. He allowed just one home run while opponents only hit .200 against him. He struck out 19 batters and only walked 1. Another statistic of note was his ground out to fly out ratio. In Tampa the number was 1.61 then dropped to 0.85 in Trenton.
Scouts are in basic agreement on Schmidt, he has a solid fastball, peaking around 96 MPH in 2019, with heavy sinking action, allowing those ground balls. He tends to stay in the strike zone, which could hurt him at times if he isn't able to locate consistently. His breaking pitches were said to be decent in his previous scouting reports. During July's summer camp he showed significant improvement in the break to those pitches.
Schmidt is currently the #2 prospect in the Yankees system, and 96th in the MLB's Top-100. Time will tell if the Yankees make a move, or turn to a player like Schmidt to improve their roster.