Yankee fans are about to realize the benefit of having an analytics-based mind with a keen eye for the minute ways in which pitchers tick. If you've got someone who's absolutely keyed in on your mechanics, or if you're a pitcher with one fatal (yet correctable) flaw holding you back, there's a wealth to be learned from new pitching coach Matt Blake.
The 33-year-old rose through the ranks of Cleveland's system turning pitching depth into viable big leaguers like Aaron Civale, and intriguing prospects into aces, like the way he took a shine to Shane Bieber from all the way back in their Cape Cod League collegiate days. These three Yankees prospects could benefit from similar wisdom.
3. Tanner Myatt
Myatt falls firmly into the "one fatal flaw" category, but one look at his arm action gives away just how good he can be if that talent is firmly unlocked. His overhead arm angle provides at least an illusion of extra zip to the ball, and his breaker has bizarre depth. Unfortunately, that fatal flaw is Myatt's walk rate. Beset by injuries, the lanky hurler was mostly limited to a relief role in 2019, and managed to walk 45 men in 40.1 innings pitched. A little strengthening and a bit of coordination could leave Myatt in a much better place in 2020.
2. Glenn Otto
2017 fifth-round pick Glenn Otto had a bit of a breakout in the High-A Florida State League last year, though in limited duty. In 56.1 innings pitched, Otto whiffed 68, and held FSL batters down to the tune of a 3.20 ERA. However, there was plenty of traffic on the bases -- 54 hits and 33 walks made for many crowded afternoons for Otto, who made a habit of wading out of trouble (like another Otto we know at the big league level, in fact...). Easier said than done to say, "Just stop allowing so many hits and walks!" but with swing-and-miss stuff like Otto possesses, he should be facing fewer catastrophes. Let's see what Blake can do to prevent him from relying on luck so often.
1. Clarke Schmidt
Schmidt is a top-10 Yankees prospect, and the one Blake is most likely to get hands-on time with. Drafted in the first round in 2017, mid-Tommy John rehab, Schmidt has developed linearly, performing well at High-A (3.84 ERA in 63.1 innings) before looking like a bonafide ace at the more age-appropriate Double-A level. Now entering his Age 24 season, Schmidt is about to hit the most important year of his development yet. Mr. Blake, can we count on you to guide him through it?