Yankees’ Aaron Boone feels Clarke Schmidt has the 'weapons and stuff' to be starter
It was announced earlier this week that Yankees right-hander Frankie Montas will undergo shoulder surgery, likely keeping him out until late in the season, at best. As a result, New York has a big hole to fill at the back end of their starting rotation.
While they could turn to the trade route to fill that spot, SNY’s Andy Martino reported on Wednesday night that the Yankees’ plan is to lean on their internal depth options, such as Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt.
While speaking with reporters at Yankees camp on Saturday afternoon, Aaron Boone offered some high praise of Schmidt. The skipper said he’s “encouraged” with what he’s seen from the youngster so far in camp, and he think’s he “has the weapons to be a starter" in the big leagues.
“With Clarke, he’s got the weapons, he’s got the pitch arsenal, and he’s got the stuff to be a starter," Boone said. "Now can he really develop the command, which has continued to improve. Can he continue to improve on that command that would allow him to be a really good starter.”
Boone added: “One of the things we’re seeing that’s encouraging and exciting early on in camp here is his cutter and how it looks. I think it could be a difference maker for him, especially against left-handed hitters.”
Schmidt, a former first-round pick, is coming off a strong 2022 campaign. In 29 outings, only three of which were starts, he posted a 3.12 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 56 strikeouts. He also made eight starts in Triple-A and posted a 3.27 ERA.
The top prospect has a ton of potential heading into this season. While his exact role is still a bit of a question mark, Boone and the Yankees are confident Schmidt will make an impact no matter where they use him.
"It’s certainly nice that he has served the bullpen role as well, so we have confidence in him there, and if that need arises he’s capable in that regard," Boone said. "He’s pitched in big games. He’s had successes and failures, which is all good at the big league level.
"Whether it’s as a starter, it’s out of the bullpen, or it’s in kind of a flex role I do feel like he’ll continue to play a big role for us."