Yankees pitching prospects shine in minor league playoffs
Yankees No. 5 prospect, Clarke Schmidt, lifted the Trenton Thunder to an ELDS Game 1 win, while No. 1 prospect Deivi Garcia pitched Scranton to an International League North Division title.
Following the Yankees 4-1 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday night, the Bombers’ magic number to clinch the AL East is down to 12 games.
With only 21 regular-season contests remaining, the Yanks will need to play lights-out ball to keep home-field advantage throughout the playoffs from the Houston Astros. Since the ‘Stros won the season-series 4-3, should both teams finish win identical records, Houston would gain the home-field edge.
However, as the big boys battle it down to the wire, the minor league playoffs have already kicked off.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders took on Syracuse in a one-game playoff to determine the International League North Division champion.
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In a battle of potent offenses, it was Scranton that would prevail victorious 14-13, thanks in large part to the Yankees top overall prospect Deivi Garcia.
Working out of the bullpen, Garcia pitched three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and no walks while striking two.
Delivering the ball quickly and effectively, Garcia rebounded in a big way from his previous outing versus Buffalo, when he gave up three runs on two hits while walking two and picking up two K’s in just one inning.
Then there’s Yankees No. 5 prospect, right-hander Clarke Schmidt.
Entering Game 1 of the ELDS in relief of the rehabbing Jordan Montgomery, who allowed two runs on five hits with five K’s and no walks (33 of 44 pitches for strikes), Schmidt showed all the signs of being a first-round draft pick back in 2017.
A starter by trade, Schmidt only made three starts for Trenton after being called up from High-A Tampa on August 15.
Pitching for his third different level of minor league ball this season, Schmidt picked up the win over Reading on Wednesday when he threw six scoreless frames of two-hit, no earned-run ball — walking one and striking out four.
Despite missing all of 2017 following Tommy John surgery, Schmidt took the mound in June of 2018 and hasn’t looked back. In his most recent outing, the 23-year-old threw 45 of 74 pitches for strikes and needed only 12 pitches or less in four out of five innings.