Yankees: Interview with Pitching Prospect Clarke Schmidt

Yankees’ minor league pitching prospect, Clarke Schmidt, talked with Yanks Go Yard about the upcoming season.

Clarke Schmidt, 24, was a first-round draft pick by the Yankees in 2017 out of the University of South Carolina. General Manager Brian Cashman told Yanks Go Yard Schmidt would’ve “been a top-10 selection” in 2017 had he not undergone Tommy John surgery a month prior to the draft.

“The best moment of my career so far,” Schmidt said in regards to being drafted by the Yankees.  “That was just an ultimate blessing to be in this organization….I couldn’t be happier to be in this organization and be where I’m at right now.”

Schmidt is ranked the best pitching prospect in the Yankees’ system, according to MLB.com, as well as the 88th-best prospect overall in minor league baseball. He pitched across three minor league levels in 2019 (Rookie, Single-A Advanced and Double-A), posting a 6-5 record with a 3.47 ERA in 19 games (18 starts). He struck out 102 batters in 90.2 innings — good for 10.1 K/9.

“I throw a two-seam, a four-seam, a cutter, a changeup and a curveball,” Schmidt stated, adding that he “started recently throwing the cutter.”

“I’ve been having a good amount of success with it {the cutter}” he said. “So that’s something I’m tuning up. And then obviously I’m continuing to refine that fastball command….Two-team command is something I’ve been really focusing on.”

Schmidt said his two-seam has been great so far in both the camps. Pitching is one thing, though. Schmidt, like all players, is also adjusting to a new COVID-19 reality.

“It’s different man,” Schmidt said. “It’s one of those things where you just kind of take it in stride. You continue to put your work in and whatever happens happens….You can’t really think too much about it. We were dealt the cards we’ve been dealt.

“It’s been an adjustment for sure, but I think everybody’s adjusting well. {We’re} taking it in stride, which is the only way you can deal with a situation like this. So, hopefully baseball can happen for a whole year.”

In addition to playing, Schmidt and the Yankees want to do something else.

“We can bring some type of normalcy and happiness to people,” he continued. “To baseball fans and sport fans around the world, being able to watch games.”

And, what are his hopes for 2020 and the future?

“I’m looking forward to winning a lot of games,” he stated. “And helping this team create a dynasty.”