The New York Yankees tonight selected two players over the first two rounds of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. With their first-round selection (16th overall), the club drafted University of South Carolina right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt. In the second round, the Yankees chose right-handed pitcher Matt Sauer
The New York Yankees tonight selected two players over the first two rounds of the 2017 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. With their first-round selection (16th overall), the club drafted University of South Carolina right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt. In the second round, the Yankees chose right-handed pitcher Matt Sauer out of Righetti High School in Santa Maria, Calif., with the 54th overall pick.
A 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior, Schmidt went 4-2 and ranked second in the nation with a 1.34 ERA (60.1IP, 41H, 15R/9ER, 18BB, 70K, 3HR) in nine starts for the Gamecocks in 2017. Named to USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List for the second straight season, the 21-year-old posted a 10.44 K/9.0IP ratio and held opposing hitters to a .194 batting average (41-for-211).
Schmidt had his 2017 season cut short in late April due to a right elbow injury and underwent successful "Tommy John" surgery.
"Schmidt's got four pitches that at times are all plus. He has command, he has makeup," said Damon Oppenheimer, Yankees Vice President of Domestic Amateur Scouting. "We really like his delivery. He's got a chance to be a top end of the rotation type of guy who combines pitchability with power stuff. And you always like it when they're the Friday night guy, pitching and having success in that conference." Regarding Schmidt's surgery, Oppenheimer added, "The results were positive and we feel really good about the rehab. He should be back pitching at full strength in approximately 12 months."
In three seasons at South Carolina, Schmidt has produced a 15-9 record and 3.21 ERA (229.2IP, 218H, 102R/82ER, 65BB, 254K, 17HR) in 45 appearances (36 starts). His older brother, Clate, is a right-handed pitcher in the Detroit Tigers organization.
A native of Acworth, Ga., Schmidt was rated by Baseball America as the No. 31 overall prospect in this year's draft, as well as the 17th-best pitcher. This marks the third time in four years that the Yankees have used their first draft pick on a college pitcher, after the team chose right-handed pitcher James Kaprielian out of UCLA with the 16th overall pick in 2015 and selected left-hander Jacob Lindgren from Mississippi State University in the second round in 2014. The Yankees have chosen University of South Carolina right-handers in consecutive drafts, also drafting Taylor Widener in the 12th round in 2016.
Sauer went 9-1 with a 0.98 ERA (78.1IP, 42H, 18R/11ER, 31BB, 142K) in 14 appearances (13 starts) as a senior at Righetti High School in 2017. A two-way player, the 18-year-old also led the Warriors with a .427 (50-for-117) batting average while totaling 37R, 8 doubles, 2 triples, 1HR and 24RBI across 35 games, and was named the 2017 PAC-8 League Most Valuable Player.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound right-hander was a member of the 2015 USA 17U National Team Development Program. He has committed to the University of Arizona.
"Sauer is a projectable high school right-hander who is athletic, with a 'now' fastball and a plus slider," said Oppenheimer. "He really has a good way about his aggressiveness and makeup on the mound. We see a chance there for a starter with power stuff."
Sauer was tabbed as the No. 28 overall prospect entering the draft by both Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com. Baseball America listed him 15th among pitchers in the 2017 draft class. He is the first high school player drafted by the Yankees in the first or second round since 2013, when the club took LHP Ian Clarkin with the 33rd overall pick in the first compensation round.
The Yankees' first-round pick was announced at the MLB Network studios by 11-year-old Landis Sims, of Elizabeth, Indiana. Born without hands and half of his legs, Sims signed a single-day, ceremonial minor league contract with the Yankees on March 7, 2016. Since that Spring Training day, Sims has gone on to continue his Little League career and was recently awarded a 2017 grant from the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Sims, who also threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Yankees' win over Baltimore on Sunday at Yankee Stadium, sported a Yankees bowtie and white Yankees polo to deliver the pick.
The 2017 First-Year Player Draft resumes on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. ET, with the Yankees making their next pick in the third round (92nd overall).