Yankees: 2020 Team Award Predictions

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Clarke Schmidt #86 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Rookie of the Year: Clarke Schmidt

Clarke Schmidt could be a key piece for the Yankees rotation.

A number of arms are on the cusp of breaking through the big league roster. No arm is more intriguing than former first-round pick Clarke Schmidt.

While it’s hard to get excited over scrimmages, Schmidt has made a few talented Yankees hitters look foolish in his handful of appearances thus far. The strong showing has made Schmidt the talk of summer camp and he has garnered praise from Gleyber Torres of late.

At the moment, Schmidt may not start the season in the rotation but all signs point to the young flamethrower playing some sort of role with the big league club. In a normal season, he would have been a top candidate for the annual September call-ups, but a loaded schedule and injuries to the pitching staff could see him get serious MLB action in the coming weeks.

Remember, the rotation may look settled on paper but cracks have already emerged with Masahiro Tanaka in concussion protocol. An injury or a few bad starts from veteran J.A. Happ or Jordan Montgomery could force the Yankees’ hand with Schmidt.

Plus, New York is set to have both Tanaka and James Paxton hit free agency next season. The Yankees will need to see if they have a reliable option in-house before the potential departure of a pair of key arms.