After writing about Dustin Martin and Ben Jukich, Josh Schmidt is the subject of my third Rule 5 post on this site. No use setting the table since Schmidt is the third serving. Let’s get right into it.
RHP-Josh Schmidt (27) was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 15th round of the 2005 draft. He spent the 2009 season with Double-A Trenton in the Eastern League. He pitched in 46 games, 5 of them as a starter, and finished with a 1.61 ERA, 1.135 WHIP, 57 H, 38 BB, and 96 SO in 83.2 IP. His five starts this past season were the first starts in his minor league career. Since moving from the University of the Pacific to professional baseball, Schmidt has appeared in 188 games over five seasons in the minors. In 301.1 IP he has a career 2.48 ERA, 1.135 WHIP, 222 H, 126 BB, and 350 SO. He has been older than the average age of pitchers at pretty much every level. In 2009, at age 26, he was almost two years older than the average age, 24.2, of his Double-A pitching peers. The following is from Yankees Daily.com and sums up his tools in a fairly concise fashion:
Even though he strikes a lot of batters out, he doesn’t throw the hardest. He changes speeds with a slow curveball and throws a cutter inside to lefties. He has great control of his fastball and has an awesome slider.
Schmidt is currently pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League for Aguilas del Zulia. He has appeared in 11 games, 9 of them starts and has a 3.38 ERA and 1.257 WHIP. He has allowed 39 H and 18 BB while striking out 41. In his last 5 starts he has pitched 27.1 innings while allowing only 5 earned runs.
If the Royals took a chance on him in the Rule 5 draft, Schmidt should be able to step into the Kansas City bullpen and hold his own. Possessing good fastball control, the ability to change speeds, and an out pitch in the form of his slider, Josh is a guy who can contribute to a ML team despite the complete lack of AAA experience.
My take on Ben Jukich at the back of the Royals rotation also applies to Josh Schmidt in the bullpen. In short, he would be hard pressed to do much worse than some of the “relief” performances we saw from the KC bullpen in 2009. If nothing else, he would give opposing batters a bit of a different look.