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2017 MLB Draft Profile: Clarke Schmidt, RHP, University of South Carolina

Although on the shelf with Tommy John surgery, South Carolina right-hander Clarke Schmidt could still be an early pick in the 2017 draft

University of South Carolina

Continuing with our coverage of the 2017 MLB Draft, we switch to the college pitcher ranks with a look at University of South Carolina right-hander Clarke Schmidt. Schmidt is currently on the shelf with Tommy John surgery but there’s still a good chance he will be drafted early.

THE BASICS

Clarke Schmidt played high school ball in Ackworth, Georgia, where he was known to scouts but viewed as a “needs to go to college and develop” type of player. Undrafted coming out in 2014, he went to the University of South Carolina and was used as both a starter and reliever as a freshman, posting a 4.81 ERA in 58 innings in 2015. He moved into the starting rotation full-time in 2016 and thrived, posting a 3.40 ERA in 111 innings with a 129/27 K/BB.

A potential first-rounder when 2017 began, he looked like a lock for the round by posting a 1.34 ERA in his first 60 innings with a 70/18 K/BB. Alas, he hurt his elbow after nine starts and is now out with Tommy John.

STRENGTHS

Born February 20, 1996, Clarke is listed at 6-1, 200. In high school he threw 87-88 MPH. That increased to 88-90 as a freshman, 90-93 as a sophomore, and up to 92-96 before he got hurt this spring. It is a 60-pitch with plus movement and velocity. He can mix in a plus slider and an improving change-up that he needs to use more often. Command and pitchability are additional plusses and his makeup is considered outstanding on and off the field.

WEAKNESSES

His change-up needs more work and he needs innings to make it happen, innings he won’t get for at least another year due to the injury. His future role is uncertain as a result, with some teams viewing him as a potential mid-rotation arm should the change-up improve. If it doesn’t, or if durability remains a concern, he could still slot nicely into a bullpen.

OVERALL

Schmidt is still viewed as a potential pick late in the first round despite the injury, although the supplemental round or the second round may be more realistic.

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