Yankees: Deivi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt could play roles for New York this season


Whenever the 2020 MLB season gets underway, a pair of rookie pitchers could play key roles for the New York Yankees this season. 

There are naturally still a lot of questions that need to be answered before Major League Baseball returns to the field to begin the 2020 season. When games will resume is one. How many games teams will play is another. The answers to each question will have a big impact on how the Yankees approach things. Two of the Yankees top pitching prospects, Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt, could both end up playing important roles depending on how those questions are answered.

Garcia and Schmidt were two players highlighted by MLB Trade Rumors in a look at rookies within the AL East who should be on the radar this season.

Garcia was originally signed as an international amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in July 2015, just two months after his 16th birthday. He’s been a steady riser through the Yankees farm system since, reaching Triple-A this past season and landing himself on the major top prospect lists (MLB Pipeline, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus all had him in their Top 100) this past offseason.

The right-hander does bring some concerns to the table. He stands just 5’9″ and weighs 163 pounds, according to Baseball Reference. His size has left some scouts to question whether he’ll really be able to develop into an MLB starter.

The results, however, have suggested his size might not be an issue. Garcia threw 111.1 innings last season across three levels, striking out 165 batters (13.3 K/9). He’s shown a tendency to not allow a lot of home runs, too, outside of his brief stretch at Triple-A last season. He was roughly six years younger than the league average there though, so it’s expected that there would be some adjustments to be made.

Schmidt was the Yankees first-round selection in the 2017 Draft (#16 overall) out of the University of South Carolina. Schmidt’s final collegiate season had been cut short as he suffered an elbow injury that would lead to Tommy John surgery before the draft. The injury didn’t keep New York from signing him to a $2.1 million bonus.

Over the past two seasons, Schmidt has thrown just 114 innings but the results have been promising — 10.4 K/9, just 2.7 BB/9, and a 1.132 WHIP. Like Garcia, he landed on the top prospect lists (MLB Pipeline and BA, but not BP) for the first time this winter.

Garcia will turn 21 in May. Schmidt just turned 24 in February. Both pitchers are likely to begin the season at Double-A Trenton whenever games resume but they could find themselves in the mix for a role in New York before long.

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The Yankees appear to have a fair amount of pitching depth in their rotation. Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery, and Jonathan Loaisiga all should factor into the mix. James Paxton will eventually return from injury. There are not many experienced arms projected to start the year at Triple-A (minor league free agents Nick Tropeano and Chad Bettis plus rookie Mike King). Depending on how much depth the club finds a need for (or depending on how a future schedule looks if MLB schedules regular doubleheaders) there’s a fair chance New York calls on one of Garcia or Schmidt before the season ends.