In George We Trust
A(nother) blog about the most storied franchise in sports
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Prospect Profile: Josh Schmidt
Name: Joshua M. Schmidt
Position: RHP
Vitals: 6'4", 175 lbs
Born: November 14, 1982
Hometown: Sierra Madre, California
Drafted: 15th round (469th overall) in 2005 (Yankees 15th selection)

Background: After going 12-5 over 2 seasons at Citrus College (Glendora, CA), Schmidt (nicknamed the Undertaker) transferred to the University of the Pacific, where he eventually became the school's all-time career saves leader. Schmidt ranked second in the nation with 13.3 Kper9 during his senior season, finishing with a 1.79 ERA, good for 10th in the country. Despite being named to the ABCA All-West Region Second Team and twice receiving Pacific's Rod Bovee Pitcher of the Year Award, he wasn't looked at highly by scouts, and didn't even earn a recommendation to Baseball America.

Strengths: Schmidt sports a very good slider that features a sharp break; it's clearly his best and most reliable pitch at this point. He has the tall and lanky frame that scouts drool over, theoretically leaving lots of room for projectability (don't you love it when baseball people make up words?). His sinker can reach the low-90s and features decent movement, but it still lacks consistency and deception. He may add 2-3 mph to his fastball as he fills out, but for now it's an average second offering. He records plenty of outs by himself, but otherwise he gets a good amount of groundballs and keeps the ball in the park: he had given up roughly 1 homer for every 27 innings he hurled at Pacific.

Weaknesses: Schmidt employs a sidearm delivery, which eventually may take a toll on his shoulder and particularly his elbow given his lanky frame. His mechanics tend to get out of whack from time to time, adding to the problem. Schmidt has no significant third pitch, but he'll throw the occasional well-below-average changeup just to show the hitter something else. He'll remain a sinker-slider arm out of the bullpen. He hasn't faced particularly strong competition as an amateur, creating skepticism as to how good he really is.

Comparison: Schmidt utterly dominated the competition while serving as the closer of Staten Island's prospect laden pitching staff in the NY-Penn league. He took the league by storm and was an All-Star both in the traditional sense as well as in Baseball America's eyes. He ended the season tied for second in total saves (13) while owning a remarkable 47:8 K:BB ratio and an unheard of 0.27 ERA (no, that's not a typo). Here's how Schmidt performed compared to other top NY-Penn League closers:

Derek Feldkamp1526.26.7511.183.711.16
Paul Phillips1339.17.099.382.971.12

Outlook: Schmidt is 23 years old now and was 22 for all of last season, meaning he was the equivalent of a dinosaur in the NY-Penn League. As with any college senior, he'll be expected to move through the system quickly, and already has some calling him the next Mariano Rivera. While that comparison may be farfetched and certainly premature, Schmidt has the look of becoming a 15th round steal. He'll have to make adjustments as he climbs the ladder, particularly with more advanced hitters who will not be fazed by his twisting delivery, especially lefties. It's hard to speculate on his future given the low amount of pro experience he has, as well as the aforementioned lack of amateur competition. With his age and his short season performance, I'd expect Schmidt to skip a level and jump to High-A Tampa to start 2006, with the Yankees looking to move him quickly if he performs well. If he improves his sinker to where it's a consistent second plus pitch, I think Schmidt could be as much as a setup man, but more than likely he'll settle into a middle relief role where he'll face primarily righthanded batters. He seems to fit the description of a righthanded Randy Choate. Of course, if he continues to pitch the way he has, the sky's the limit. His Bronx ETA could be as soon as 2007 if it all comes together.
Blogger Joseph P. said...
If you can miss bats and force hitters to put the ball on the ground, you'll always have a spot on a roster. I gotta keep a closer eye on this guy.

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