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Clarke Schmidt Battles For Spot In Yankees’ Rotation

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Clarke Schmidt is one of the New York Yankees’ top pitching prospects. He will be 25 years old in 2021 which puts him on the older side of the prospect spectrum, due to him going to college which gave him a late start. He also missed a full season due to having Tommy John surgery. Will Schmidt eventually make it on the New York Yankees pitching rotation in 2021?

Clarke Schmidt in College and Minor Leagues

Clarke Schmidt was drafted 15th overall in the 2017 June Amateur draft out of South Carolina after he dominated in 2017 where he had nine starts and posted a 1.34 ERA in 60 innings pitched.

In his two minor league seasons Schmidt pitched 146 innings and had a 6-8 with a 3.39 ERA. In the minor leagues it’s more important to improve your mechanics then having a good win-loss record.

Gerrit Cole Mentoring Clarke Schmidt

Clarke Schmidt’s pitching arsenal includes a mid 90s fastball and a devastating curve ball. Prior to the 2020 season, he was taken under the wing of New York Yankees Ace pitcher Gerrit Cole. The whispers were heard that Schmidt might crack a spot in the pitching rotation or at least start in the bullpen and work his way up.

The only problem was he never appeared in a single game until Sept. 4th. He finally made his first MLB start till the last game of the season on September 27th against the Miami Marlins. Overall he pitched 6.1 innings, allowed seven hits, five runs, five walks, and had seven strikeouts. It was a small sample size and was not as good as the organization was hoping.

Clarke Schmidt’s Mechanical issues

Even though his only start was rough, Clarke Schmidt did show some promise. His curveball was working very well and he also has some very minor mechanical issues which can easily be fixed. After fixing these minor issues he could become a very solid pitcher in the New York Yankees’ pitching rotation.

Schmidt was a bit wild in his one major league start, although he was never really wild in college or in the minor leagues. There is good reason to believe his control will come around. Schmidt’s problem is he nibbles around the strike zone to avoid getting hit hard. He needs to learn to trust his stuff. Once he trusts his fastball and curveball he wont have to nibble around the plate.

As far as mechanics, the biggest issue is that he opens up his side way to early. When this happens he ends his stride falling toward first base. When he pitches he needs to have all of his momentum move toward home plate.

Another issue to watch is his left elbow. His left elbow, which is his glove side, is at an angle when he goes through his stride. He needs to tuck the elbow into his gut which gives a pitcher a good position to stop a ball hit toward them. If it’s at an angle, the arm will be flopping around and not getting him in position.

When he gets these two mechanical issues solved he will be in better control of his pitches. It is an easy problem to fix. Clarke Schmidt was a great pitcher in college and the minors. There is no reason to believe he won’t be a good pitcher in the majors. As he becomes more seasoned he will learn more pitches and learning under Gerrit Cole will only help.

Can Clarke Schmidt get into the New York Yankees pitching rotation?

Don’t look for Clarke Schmidt to start on the rotation right out of the gate. He should definitely make it on the rotation mid-season. He just needs to get more fine tuned so he can become a solid pitcher.

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Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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