Yankees MLB Draft 2017: Yankees select RHP Clarke Schmidt from USC with the 16th pick of the first round

With the 16th pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, the New York Yankees have selected RHP Clarke Schmidt from the University of South Carolina. Schmidt was MLB Pipeline’s 49th ranked prospect and he was Baseball America’s 32nd ranked prospect. Schmidt comes along with much promise, but much concern as a risky first-round pick by the Yankees.

Photo Credit: Gerry Melendez


At 21-years-old, the 6’1,” 200-pound righty was one of the more polished college arms in this year’s draft. He has endured some setbacks, but still has the physical size and skillset to make it to the big leagues.

Schmidt became an exciting prospect during his sophomore year at USC where he went 9-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 17 starts. He struck out 129 batters compared to just 27 walks solidifying himself as a potential first round pick as he finished off his sophomore year.

Schmidt was off to a dominating start as the ace of the Gamecocks this spring going 4-2 with a 1.34 ERA and recorded 70 strikeouts with 18 walks in 60.1. However, Schmidt blew out his elbow, tearing his UCL which required Tommy John Surgery in early May.

This injury coming out of college was a crushing blow to the first round hopeful and it sets his development clock back a bit as he will miss the remainder of this season, and likely won’t see any action until next summer in the Yankee farm system. Schmidt joins fellow pitcher Jordan Montgomery as a South Carolina pitcher drafted by the Yankees, and he also joins right-hander James Kaprielian as a first round right-hander to have Tommy John Surgery. Ironically, the Yankees also drafted Kaprielian with the 16th overall pick.

Despite his injury, Schmidt has an impressive four pitch repertoire that should allow him to develop as a starting pitcher in pro ball. Schmidt’s best pitch is his power sinking fastball that sits in the 92-94 MPH range, but has the ability to touch 96. Schmidt also has a curveball and slider that he uses interchangeably as they are considered plus pitches, but he will look to find some consistency here as he comes up through the Yankees system. He also mixes in a changeup which could become average at the big league level.

The biggest red flag around Schmidt is obviously his durability. Additionally, some scouts do not love his delivery to the plate, so that is something to look out for going forward.

Still, Clarke comes from a baseball family as he has an older brother, Clate, who was selected by the Tigers in the 20th round of last year’s draft out of Clemson. Clarke and his brother are very close after Clate battled cancer last summer, and he should be able to offer him some valuable advice in dealing with adversity both on and off the field.

Although this is not the most glamorous pick in the world, this was likely a money saving pick by the New York Yankees. In drafting Schmidt, the Yankees can sign him under the assigned value of $3,458,600 and will now be able to draft and sign talented high school players with their later picks.  

Article by: Chad Raines

Comments