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Analysis

Is Clarke Schmidt The Prospect To Watch For The Yankees?

The New York Yankees have a handful of prospects set to breakout in 2020. Could starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt be one of them?

It is no secret the New York Yankees have young talent already producing at the big-league level. Even with Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres making waves, there are other names to keep an eye on in the minor leagues. One prospect that could be primed for a big year is starting pitcher Clarke Schmidt.

Schmidt isn’t viewed as the top pitching prospect for the Yankees. That title likely belongs to Deivi Garcia. But even with all of the attention on Garcia, Schmidt is looking to keep his end-of-the-year stretch going. The 23-year-old could begin to make some waves in the minors in 2019.

As the season approaches, MLB.com listed one prospect from each team that could break out in 2020. Given Schmidt’s injury history, he hasn’t done so yet. But there’s a feeling he could make a name for himself during the new campaign. Here’s what they had to say about the former first-round pick:

Yankees: Clarke Schmidt, RHP (No. 5) — Schmidt had Tommy John surgery as a South Carolina junior a month before New York made him a first-round pick in the 2017 Draft. Though he has been brought back slowly, taking that summer off and totaling 114 innings in 2018-19, he already has reached Double-A and shows the makings of four plus pitches.

Schmidt was the Yankees’ No. 5 prospect during the 2019 season. The 2020 list doesn’t come out until February but Schmidt should be high on the list. He’s likely behind Garcia and Luis Gil on the list, but there should be some excitement for the Yankees’ first-round pick from the 2017 MLB Draft.

Schmidt pitched across three leagues in 2019. He tossed 8.1 innings in the Gulf Coast League before making his longest stint with the Yankees’ High-A team in Tampa. While in Tampa, Schmidt appeared in 13 games (12 starts). He finished throwing 63.1 innings with 69 strikeouts and a 3.84 ERA.

The former Gamecock was then promoted to Double-A Trenton to close out the season. In three starts, Schmidt went 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA while striking out 19 batters in 19.0 innings.

He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, but Schmidt does have a four-pitch arsenal to work with. It includes a slider, curveball and changeup to go with a fastball that has some heavy sink.

Most of the attention in the minors will be on Garcia but don’t be surprised if Schmidt makes some noise now that he’s fully past the Tommy John surgery he had a month before he was drafted.

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