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Spotting the spring’s most impressive young pitchers for the Yankees

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Well, not all of them are prospects, but their stuff - and results - are raising eyebrows

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Spring training is well underway, and after a few days of games, we can start drawing some conclusions. On this site, we have advocated not to take March stats too seriously for a variety of reasons, with small sample size and the focus on getting in shape over winning being the heaviest ones. Nevertheless, a few Yankees pitchers have raised some eyebrows with their performance.

Some of them are young prospects that are unlikely to make the big league team out of camp, and others are somewhat forgotten hurlers that have had a relatively successful spring training.

Let’s use video to review some of them, with some stats that are updated through Tuesday night.

Clarke Schmidt

Clarke Schmidt is looking more and more likely to be a member of the New York Yankees’ rotation at some point in the near-future. He has six strikeouts in five innings this spring, allowing one earned run in the process.

In the following GIF, we can see how Clarke Schmidt can miss bats with his curveball if he throws it in the zone or if he buries it in the dirt. It is truly a power pitch, with good speed and late, sharp break. It already looks like an out-pitch that can work against big league hitters.

And, as you can see, this changeup is nasty and had a left-hander biting the dust:

Schmidt, to me, has been the most impressive young pitcher for the Yankees in spring training.

He is slated to open the season in the high minors, where he could use some seasoning. He’s also not yet on the 40-man roster, which lessens his odds of making the team out of camp. But make no mistake: he is looking more and more like the first-round pick he was.

Luis Cessa

Cessa had a decent 2019 season, and he is showing in spring training that he wants to move higher in the Yankees’ bullpen pecking order. He has allowed only one hit in 3.2 innings so far, with no walks and five strikeouts.

His slider already looks to be in midseason form:

Hopefully he can keep up the good work into the season. He could be needed to make spot starts or to eat innings as a long man with Luis Severino and James Paxton on the shelf.

Jonathan Loaisiga

Loaisiga has long teased with his electric stuff, whether it is as a starter or as a reliever. Injuries and a lack of command have always gotten in his way.

He’s looked impressive this spring. So far, he has pitched five perfect innings, with nine strikeouts, and his stuff appears as tantalizing as ever:

It should be pointed out, however, that he has mostly faced minor league hitters and weak competition in general. It may be time for the Yankees to challenge him and give him a start or two before spring training comes to an end.

Luis Medina

For Medina, one of the Yankees’ better pitching prospects, the key will always be his control. If he can limit walks, his stuff will do the talking, but if he clogs the bases via bases on balls, he will be in trouble. Last season he made adjustments and improved that particular area. As a result, he took a (needed) step forward.

So far, in spring training, he seems to have kept those gains. He has allowed one unearned run in three innings, with three hits and four strikeouts, plus zero walks.

That powerful fastball-curveball combo will do some damage one day:

Jordan Montgomery

The favorite to win the Yankees’ fourth starter job, Montgomery is ready to show that he belongs in the team’s long-term plans.

In four frames so far, he has conceded no runs, just one hit and one walk. He has fanned seven batters. Here is how his stuff has looked:

There is no reason to think Montgomery can’t be a solid, sub-4.00 ERA for the Yankees in 2020.