The Times-Tribune’s annual countdown of the top 10 Yankees prospects is back. Here’s what happens: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders beat writer Conor Foley ranks 15 prospects, Donnie Collins ranks 15 prospects, and then they’re averaged together. The list takes into account ETA for the big leagues. You’re going to find some guys who might not have ceilings as high as others, but who instead could be in a position to help the Yankees sooner. 

He’s on the 60-day injured list with a right elbow strain, so expectations for Clarke Schmidt in 2021 have dampened a bit. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Schmidt has started a throwing program, so that’s a positive. When he gets back on the mound, he’ll still need some refining, so it’s possible he could become a big part of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rotation. Outside of three games in the bigs in 2020, he’s yet to pitch above Double-A.

The basics

Position: RHP
B/T: R/R
Age: 25
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 209
40-man? Yes
Acquired: Yankees’ first-round pick (No. 16 overall) in the 2017 draft out of the University of South Carolina.
SWB ETA: 2021

What about last year?

Made his major league debut Sept. 4 against Baltimore and allowed two runs on three hits in 1.1 innings. He appeared in three MLB games, starting one. In 6.1 innings, he allowed five runs on seven hits, walked five, hit two batters and struck out seven. Otherwise, spent the year at the alternate site at PNC Field.

Tell me something

Here are parts of some scouting reports from national outlets:

  • MLB Pipeline: “… Schmidt employs both two- and four-seam fastballs that range from 92-97 mph with heavy sink on the former and cut and carry on the latter. His curveball took a step forward after he scrapped a promising slider to focus on one breaking ball, and it’s now his best pitch, a power bender that sits at 82-85 mph with high spin rates and quality depth. He also has a tumbling changeup that grades as plus at its best. … “
  • Fangraphs: “… It’s a slam dunk starter’s repertoire in a vacuum, but Schmidt has one of the longer, gnarlier arm actions in baseball and already has one surgery under his belt. He also shows pretty significant release variation depending on pitch type, with his breaking balls coming from a lower, wider point while his fastballs, especially the four-seamer, comes from a vertical one. …”

Photo: New York Yankees