New York Yankees Vice President of Domestic Amateur Scouting, Damon Oppenheimer, selected Clarke Schmidt with the 16th overall selection in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Clarke signed for a reported amount of $2,184,300, which is more than $1 million under slot value. He joined Washington Nationals farmhand Erick Fedde, ex-Vanderbilt pitcher Walker Buehler, and ex-East Carolina Pirate Jeff Hoffman as notable college starters who underwent Tommy John surgery and still were selected in the first round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft.
Schmidt, a junior out of the University of South Carolina, went 4-2 with an ERA of 1.34 that ranked second in the country for 2017. He started nine games for the Gamecocks and tossed 60.1 innings. The Acworth, Georgia native struck out 70, walked 18, and held opposing hitters to a .194 batting average.
In his career at USC, Clarke went 15-9 with a 3.21 ERA. He struck out 254 hitters while walking 65, and held opponents to a .249 batting average.
Schmidt received several accolades throughout this season including being named to USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List in two consecutive season, 2017 Preseason All-America 1st Team (NCBWA) and the number eight overall best prospect in the SEC for the 2017 MLB Draft by Baseball America.
On April 20, 2017, Schmidt left a Thursday night start against the University of Florida with arm soreness. The soreness turned out to be a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm. He underwent Tommy John (TJ) surgery that was performed by Dr. David Altcheck (who is the same doctor that performed Gleyber Torres’ TJ surgery) and was out for the remainder of the season.
In an interview with Brendan Kuty from NJ.com, Schmidt said “Everything’s been great so far…I’m just excited to take the next step and to keep working” while also noting that the rehab has exceeded his expectations.