The 24-year-old Schmidt, whom the Yankees chose 16th overall in the 2017 draft, has become one of their highest-regarded prospects, owing in part to impressive minor league production. He divided last season between High-A and Double-A, combining for a 3.47 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 90 2/3 innings.
In the wake of his 2019 performance, Schmidt earned top 100 prospect rankings at The Athletic (No. 51), Baseball America (No. 64), ESPN.com (82), and MLB.com (94). Keith Law of The Athletic wrote that the former Tommy John patient has a chance to turn into a No. 3-4 starter in the majors.
If Schmidt’s able to provide mid-rotation type of production immediately, it would be a boost to the playoff-contending Yankees, whose starting staff hasn’t lived up to expectations in 2020. Gerrit Cole hasn’t given the club the elite production it anticipated when it signed him to a nine-year, $324MM contract last winter; James Paxton has dealt with injuries and struggled when healthy; and J.A. Happ and Jordan Montgomery have fallen flat. The Yankees’ best starter has been Masahiro Tanaka, who has logged a 3.38 ERA/3.85 FIP over 26 2/3 innings.