The New York Yankees, while not hitting the bullseye in team performance this season, have nonetheless unveiled a silver lining. With the curtains slowly drawing on their season, it's prime time to spotlight the standouts who've surged ahead this year, signaling a promising foundation for 2024.
MLB.com, in their latest analysis, highlighted one player from each team who's made notable strides this season. The luminary for the Yankees? Pitcher Clarke Schmidt. And rightly so. Schmidt's 2023 trajectory offers a testament to his resilience and evolution.
Defying the odds and general anticipations, he has matured into a formidable Major League starter. A slightly turbulent start to the season couldn't deter him; post-May 19, he sported an 8-4 record, accompanied by a commendable 3.84 ERA over 20 games, of which he started 19.
His inning count has peaked at a career-best of 140 2/3. Moreover, a tally of 23 starts where he limited the opponents to three or fewer runs stands as the third-highest in the American League.
Schmidt's Rise to the Majors
The Yankees, recognizing his potential, had drafted Schmidt in the 2017 MLB Draft's first round straight from South Carolina.
But the path to the big leagues wasn't instantaneous. Following two intensive seasons in the minors, Schmidt had his Yankees' debut in 2020. His initial involvement was limited, with just five appearances over 2020 and 2021. It was only last season that he began making waves, marking his presence in the bullpen across 29 appearances, three of which he started, wrapping up with a balanced 5-5 record and an impressive 3.12 ERA.
2023 has witnessed Schmidt's inaugural full-fledged season as a starter. And his mettle was truly tested when a significant injury sidelined Carlos Rodón. However, rising to the occasion, Schmidt emerged as a linchpin, bringing much-needed consistency to the Yankees' pitching lineup.
As the Yankees reflect on this season and strategize for the next, Clarke Schmidt's stellar progress undoubtedly stands out, offering hope and excitement for what's to come in 2024.
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