Scouting Yankee Prospect #34: Josh Schmidt

The Yankees selected Josh Schmidt in the 15th round of the 2005 draft out of the University of the Pacific. But, little did anyone know that this former college strikeout artist would translate so incredibly well to professional baseball. Armed with a devastating slider and a nails mentality out of the closer's role, Josh is our Yankees' prospect #34.

Vital Statistics
Name: Josh Schmidt
Position: Relief Pitcher
DOB: November 14, 1982
Height: 6' 4"
Weight: 185
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

When dealing with a college senior that was drafted in the 15th round of the draft, expectations are not usually that high. Some players play above their expectations and some exceed them by leaps and bounds. But, a few simply come out of nowhere and annihilate the competition. One of those few was Josh Schmidt in 2005 with Staten Island. To sum up his tremendous success as the closer for the Baby Bombers, one number says it all. That number is 0.27. In his first professional season, that was Schmidt's ERA. To look at it a little closer, the 15th round selection gave up one lone run over a span of 33 regular season innings. A pitcher simply can't perform any better than that in any season, whether it is his first or last professional season.

His dominance was simply unmatched in the New York Penn League in 2005, as he was as close to untouchable as any pitcher can be in any league. As a 15th round pick, he seemed to come out of nowhere, but as he continued to put up zeros, he earned quite a reputation.

Some may call the former University of the Pacific standout an older player, at age 23, just a guy having his way with some younger players in a pitchers' league. But, from several different perspectives, that may not the case. The fact is that you don't put up a 0.27 ERA, average thirteen strikeouts per nine innings, and win the Rolaids Relief Man Award by accident. And, according to one Tampa Bay Devil Rays' scout, he's much more than just legit.

"That guy is nails out there," the Rays scout told PinstripesPlus.com while wishing to remain anonymous. "Nothing seems to bother him. He has that closer mentality. He is just nasty and no one is touching him right now. He's deceptive and he's got nasty stuff. If you combine that with his mental toughness, he's quite a reliever That's a guy you look at as a late round steal. To dominate like he has is amazing no matter what the situation is. You need to have great stuff to do that and he's got it."

Putting up zero after zero at a low level in the minor leagues is one thing, but having the ability to be a legitimate closer is completely another. We won't know for sure if Josh Schmidt has that or at least, not until some time down the road. But, for now, many signs suggest that he has exactly what it takes.

"I find it to be a whole lot of fun," the righty reliever said in regard to pitching the ninth inning. "A lot of guys will tell you there is a lot of pressure on you, but I did it in college. To me, it is just another inning to pitch, and it is a lot of fun because people are really into it at the end of the game."

As far as stuff, Schmidt has a typical closer arsenal. He brings with him to the mound a good fastball with heavy sinking action, mostly in the 91-93 MPH range. But, his biggest weapon is a lights out, hard breaking, frisbee slider. With the best view in the house, Schmidt's catcher, P.J. Pilittere weighed in on just what a weapon that pitch is.

"Well, Josh Schmidt has a very, very good slider," Pilittere said as if it was an understatement. "That's a pitch I'd certainly call outstanding. It's definitely very above average."

Josh Schmidt certainly has a road ahead of him, one that is not quite as neatly paved as top draft picks'. But, by performing the way he has with Staten Island, showing the mental toughness to win, and having the pure stuff that he possesses, the road may become a little easier to travel. The numbers say a lot about Josh Schmidt, but they don't even scratch the surface of what he is all about.

"I think everyone has their own standards and I just want to live up to my own standards," Schmidt told PinstripesPlus.com. "I just don't want to be the guy who is losing the game when I am in there. I just want to keep the lead if we're winning and if we're down, to keep us in the ballgame. As far as the team goes, just keep winning and have everybody get better each day."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2005

Staten Island

5-1

13

33.0

14

8

47

0.27



Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup

Fastball. Josh Schmidt has long been known as a strikeout artist, but that is not as a result of a blazing, overpowering fastball. On the contrary, he depends very much on a good, well located, moving heater that he throws down in the zone. With heavy sink and late life, hitters have enough trouble with Schmidt before even thinking about his secondary attack. And, although his fastball isn't getting up there in the mid-90's, he's consistently in the 89-92 MPH range. But, the key for him is locating it well and getting ahead quickly in order to set up his lethal slider. It is very rare to see Schmidt miss up in the zone with his heater so, when he does give up hits early in the county, they are usually ground ball singles rather than extra base hits in the air.

Other Pitches. When we speak of Schmidt's other pitches, the first and most important pitch to look at is his first class slider. It is no secret that it is his out pitch, but Josh is also not afraid to throw it in just about any count. He locates it as well as his fastball and a batter can never truly be sure if he's going to put over one of the corners for a strike or try to make him fish for it out of the strike zone. Not to mention, it gets on the hitters quickly, ranging anywhere between 81-84 MPH. At times, he will also put a little more on it or take a little more off of it. The bottom line is, the ideal reliever has a plus out pitch and that is exactly what this California native has. He also has a solid and developing changeup that he still, at this point, uses sparingly. But, it will be a key component in his arsenal moving forward to in order for him to be effective versus lefty hitters.

Pitching. As we've already touched on, Schmidt has a nails mentality on the mound. He is very aggressive, but is also a very controlled individual on the mound. He is not what you'd call an overly emotional pitcher, but more of a guy that quietly does his job. With his slider, he is far more effective against righty hitters, but with the development of his changeup, he should handle lefties well also.

Projection. As much as his success in 2005 may indicate that Schmidt's future is as a closer, his more likely Major League role would be as a highly effective setup man. However, if he can add a little more velocity, he may turn into a serviceable closer if he was needed in that role.

ETA. Late 2007. With his early professional success, it is easy to assume that Schmidt will be moved rather quickly through the minor league system. There's an outside chance that he will begin the season with Charleston in 2006, but at the age of 23, Tampa seems to be the more likely destination. Beyond that depends on his success in 2006.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics
\r\nName: Josh Schmidt
\r\nPosition: Relief Pitcher
\r\nDOB: November 14, 1982\r\n
Height: 6' 4\"
\r\nWeight: 185
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nWhen dealing with a college senior that was drafted in the 15th round of the draft, expectations are not usually that high. Some players play above their expectations and some exceed them by leaps and bounds. But, a few simply come out of nowhere and annihilate the competition. One of those few was Josh Schmidt in 2005 with Staten Island. To sum up his tremendous success as the closer for the Baby Bombers, one number says it all. That number is 0.27. In his first professional season, that was Schmidt's ERA. To look at it a little closer, the 15th round selection gave up one lone run over a span of 33 regular season innings. A pitcher simply can't perform any better than that in any season, whether it is his first or last professional season.\r\n

\r\nHis dominance was simply unmatched in the New York Penn League in 2005, as he was as close to untouchable as any pitcher can be in any league. As a 15th round pick, he seemed to come out of nowhere, but as he continued to put up zeros, he earned quite a reputation.\r\n

\r\nSome may call the former University of the Pacific standout an older player, at age 23, just a guy having his way with some younger players in a pitchers' league. But, from several different perspectives, that may not the case. The fact is that you don't put up a 0.27 ERA, average thirteen strikeouts per nine innings, and win the Rolaids Relief Man Award by accident. And, according to one Tampa Bay Devil Rays' scout, he's much more than just legit.\r\n

\r\n\"That guy is nails out there,\" the Rays scout told PinstripesPlus.com while wishing to remain anonymous. \"Nothing seems to bother him. He has that closer mentality. He is just nasty and no one is touching him right now. He's deceptive and he's got nasty stuff. If you combine that with his mental toughness, he's quite a reliever That's a guy you look at as a late round steal. To dominate like he has is amazing no matter what the situation is. You need to have great stuff to do that and he's got it.\"\r\n

\r\nPutting up zero after zero at a low level in the minor leagues is one thing, but having the ability to be a legitimate closer is completely another. We won't know for sure if Josh Schmidt has that or at least, not until some time down the road. But, for now, many signs suggest that he has exactly what it takes.\r\n

\r\n\"I find it to be a whole lot of fun,\" the righty reliever said in regard to pitching the ninth inning. \"A lot of guys will tell you there is a lot of pressure on you, but I did it in college. To me, it is just another inning to pitch, and it is a lot of fun because people are really into it at the end of the game.\"\r\n

\r\nAs far as stuff, Schmidt has a typical closer arsenal. He brings with him to the mound a good fastball with heavy sinking action, mostly in the 91-93 MPH range. But, his biggest weapon is a lights out, hard breaking, frisbee slider. With the best view in the house, Schmidt's catcher, P.J. Pilittere weighed in on just what a weapon that pitch is.\r\n

\r\n\"Well, Josh Schmidt has a very, very good slider,\" Pilittere said as if it was an understatement. \"That's a pitch I'd certainly call outstanding. It's definitely very above average.\"\r\n

\r\nJosh Schmidt certainly has a road ahead of him, one that is not quite as neatly paved as top draft picks'. But, by performing the way he has with Staten Island, showing the mental toughness to win, and having the pure stuff that he possesses, the road may become a little easier to travel. The numbers say a lot about Josh Schmidt, but they don't even scratch the surface of what he is all about.\r\n

\r\n\"I think everyone has their own standards and I just want to live up to my own standards,\" Schmidt told PinstripesPlus.com. \"I just don't want to be the guy who is losing the game when I am in there. I just want to keep the lead if we're winning and if we're down, to keep us in the ballgame. As far as the team goes, just keep winning and have everybody get better each day.\"

\r\n
\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n

\r\n \r\n Year

Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2005

\r\n

\r\n Staten \r\n Island

\r\n

\r\n\t\t\t\t\t5-1

\r\n

\r\n\t\t\t\t\t13

\r\n

\r\n\t\t\t\t\t33.0

\r\n

\r\n\t\t\t\t\t14

\r\n

\r\n\t\t\t\t\t8

\r\n

\r\n\t\t\t\t\t47

\r\n

\r\n\t\t\t\t\t0.27

\r\n\r\n

\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup\r\n

\r\nFastball. Josh Schmidt has long been known as a strikeout artist, but that is not as a result of a blazing, overpowering fastball. On the contrary, he depends very much on a good, well located, moving heater that he throws down in the zone. With heavy sink and late life, hitters have enough trouble with Schmidt before even thinking about his secondary attack. And, although his fastball isn't getting up there in the mid-90's, he's consistently in the 89-92 MPH range. But, the key for him is locating it well and getting ahead quickly in order to set up his lethal slider. It is very rare to see Schmidt miss up in the zone with his heater so, when he does give up hits early in the county, they are usually ground ball singles rather than extra base hits in the air.\r\n

\r\nOther Pitches. When we speak of Schmidt's other pitches, the first and most important pitch to look at is his first class slider. It is no secret that it is his out pitch, but Josh is also not afraid to throw it in just about any count. He locates it as well as his fastball and a batter can never truly be sure if he's going to put over one of the corners for a strike or try to make him fish for it out of the strike zone. Not to mention, it gets on the hitters quickly, ranging anywhere between 81-84 MPH. At times, he will also put a little more on it or take a little more off of it. The bottom line is, the ideal reliever has a plus out pitch and that is exactly what this California native has. He also has a solid and developing changeup that he still, at this point, uses sparingly. But, it will be a key component in his arsenal moving forward to in order for him to be effective versus lefty hitters.\r\n

\r\nPitching. As we've already touched on, Schmidt has a nails mentality on the mound. He is very aggressive, but is also a very controlled individual on the mound. He is not what you'd call an overly emotional pitcher, but more of a guy that quietly does his job. With his slider, he is far more effective against righty hitters, but with the development of his changeup, he should handle lefties well also.\r\n

\r\nProjection. As much as his success in 2005 may indicate that Schmidt's future is as a closer, his more likely Major League role would be as a highly effective setup man. However, if he can add a little more velocity, he may turn into a serviceable closer if he was needed in that role.\r\n

\r\nETA. Late 2007. With his early professional success, it is easy to assume that Schmidt will be moved rather quickly through the minor league system. There's an outside chance that he will begin the season with Charleston in 2006, but at the age of 23, Tampa seems to be the more likely destination. 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