Though Schmidt established himself as one of the best pitchers in college baseball's best conference (Southeastern), his prospect status took a hit when he had Tommy John surgery a month before the 2017 Draft. The Yankees still selected him 16th overall, signed him for a below-slot $2,184,300 and used the savings to ink second-rounder Matt Sauer. While Sauer had his elbow reconstructed in 2019, Schmidt softened that blow by making a full recovery and finishing last season by helping Trenton win the Double-A Eastern League championship.
Schmidt has three pitches that grade as plus at their best, and his slider did as well before he scrapped it to focus on his curveball. He uses two- and four-seam fastballs, ranging from 92-97 mph with heavy sink on the former and cut and carry on the latter. His low-80s curve features good depth and high spin rates while his tumbling changeup bottoms out at the plate.
Schmidt has a history of throwing strikes but his control has stood out more than his command. He was especially sharp after reaching Double-A in mid-August, looking like he could fit into the middle of the Yankees' rotation in the near future. His size and less-than-smooth delivery led to concerns about his durability even before he had Tommy John surgery, and he missed a month last year with minor elbow inflammation.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
One of the best pitchers in the best conference in college baseball (Southeastern) as a sophomore and junior, Schmidt went 16th overall in the 2017 Draft despite having Tommy John surgery a month earlier. The Yankees knew he wouldn't have lasted until their next choice, so they took him early, signed him for a below-slot $2,184,300 and used the savings to afford second-rounder Matt Sauer. Schmidt returned to the mound last June and showed the potential for four solid or better pitches.
Schmidt pitches off of a 92-94 mph fastball that peaks at 96 and generates ground balls with heavy sink. While both his low-80s curveball and mid-80s slider can be plus pitches at times, they sometimes lack consistency and he has shelved the slider to focus on improving his curve. There are days when his tumbling changeup is his best secondary offering, though his breaking balls are generally more reliable.
Schmidt has a history of throwing strikes but can get knocked around when he doesn't keep his pitches down in the strike zone. His 6-foot-1 frame doesn't create a lot of downhill plane on his pitches, and his size and less-than-smooth delivery created concerns about his durability even before he blew out his elbow. He has the best four-pitch mix among Yankees pitching prospects, so they will continue to develop him as a starter.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Schmidt was one of the Southeastern Conference's best pitchers in 2016 and 2017, but he blew out his elbow last April and needed Tommy John surgery. That didn't stop the Yankees from taking him with the 16th overall pick last June and signing him for a well below-slot $2,184,300 (still late first-round money). They knew he wouldn't have lasted until their next selection and used the bonus savings to afford second-rounder Matt Sauer.
Before he got hurt, Schmidt tied up hitters with a 92-94 mph fastball that reached 96 and featured heavy sink. Both his curveball and slider were plus pitches at times but lacked consistency, and New York may have him focus on one breaking ball when he returns to the mound. He also had a decent changeup with some tumble.
Schmidt had no issues throwing strikes in college, though he tended to get hit when he didn't keep his pitches down in the zone. Even before his elbow injury, there were questions about his durability because he's not big and doesn't have the smoothest mechanics. The Yankees view him as a starter but are easing him back slowly as he makes his pro debut in 2018.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Schmidt performed as well as any pitcher in the loaded Southeastern Conference during the first half of 2016 before tiring down the stretch, then posted better numbers this spring until he blew out his elbow in April. The Yankees still selected him in the first round (16th overall) after he had Tommy John surgery because they knew he wouldn't last until their next choice and needed to save money to sign second-rounder Matt Sauer. Schmidt agreed to a $2,184,300 bonus, well below his $3,458,600 assigned pick value.
When healthy, Schmidt relied on a 92-94 mph fastball that topped out at 96 and featured heavy sink. Both his slider and curveball can be plus pitches but aren't as reliable as his heater. He also mixes in a decent changeup with some tumble.
While Schmidt generally throws strikes, he gets hit when he doesn't keep his pitches down in the zone. Even before he got hurt, scouts worried about his durability because he's not big and doesn't have the cleanest delivery. The Yankees see him as a starter, and his fastball/slider combo gives him a fallback as a late-inning reliever.