Clarke Schmidt swiped a pitch from Yankees' rival ace to set himself up for 2024

New York Yankees v Miami Marlins
New York Yankees v Miami Marlins / Rich Storry/GettyImages

Blake Snell rumors? Clarke Schmidt couldn't care less. He's too focused on his own 2024 output, inspired by another AL East neighbor.

In response to his ability to tune out the Snell noise, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called Schmidt "not human," an assertion that he further backed up with his ruthlessly efficient, 44-pitch outing on Monday night against most of the Marlins' starters.

The Yankees entered that game hoping the right-hander, who's been flitting around Marcus Stroman this winter after picking up tips from Gerrit Cole the past two years, could hit his pitch limit in three innings and exit with grace. As it turned out, his first three innings went too well; the team had to stretch him to a fourth, which he also dismissed easily.

Credit his preparedness and Stroman-honed sinker, sure, but as it turns out, Schmidt was also experimenting with a pitch he picked up from a Yankees rival: Kevin Gausman's split-change.

Cue the hordes of Blue Jays fans calling it "cheating," but Schmidt reportedly picked up on the finer points of Gausman's grip by viewing a slow-motion video of the pitcher hurling at Yankee Stadium. Ban electronic grip-stealing, which takes six months to manifest itself!

Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt picked up Kevin Gausman's split change

Spring training results should be taken with a monumental collection of grains of salt, but it's still better to look efficient and locked-in rather than scattered and worrisome. The process is more important than the results -- and based on how Schmidt has looked thus far, he's absorbed a good deal of new ingredients, and has synthesized them seamlessly.

Add in the Spencer Strider-inspired offseason workout he attempted this winter, and it seems he's picking up pieces from all the right sources.

It's not everyday you can add to your arsenal and hone your existing stuff thanks to some veteran advice, all while the entire fan base clamors for your team to replace you with someone who'll inflate the payroll and turn up the volume on the spotlight.

You could do worse than having Schmidt as your fifth starter. By the end of the year, he might just look more like a No. 3.