Clarke Schmidt had his junior season cut short by Tommy John surgery, but that isn’t hampering the draft expectations for the South Carolina baseball ace.
In Baseball America’s latest MLB mock draft, Schmidt is projected as the N0. 19 pick to the San Francisco Giants.
“San Francisco also could be in on Schmidt, who rivaled Erick Fedde in terms of stuff and profiles similarly as an injured college ace who could go in the first round despite Tommy John surgery,” wrote John Manuel, who also added that the Detroit Tigers, at No. 18, could be the high point for Schmidt.
Schmidt was cruising through a dominant junior season as the ace of the impressive South Carolina weekend rotation before it came to an end at Florida on April 20. Schmidt left the start with forearm tightness, which later proved to be a torn ulnar collateral ligament.
He had season-ending Tommy John surgery less than a week later.
“With everyone coming back, you look at the results and everyone is coming back better than they were before,” Schmidt said. “That is my outlook on it. I get a new arm. I get a new pitch count on my arm. I’m ready to go and ready to get back out there. It is going to be fun. It is going to be a long battle, but I’m treating like it is going to be a long offseason. I’m itching to get back out there already.”
Despite the injury, Schmidt’s draft stock has remained high. He went 4-2 with a 1.32 ERA this season in nine starts. He struck out 70 hitters in 60.1 innings pitched, holding opponents to a .194 batting average, numbers that had him ranked highly among SEC pitchers.
“He was outperforming a lot of the highly billed SEC arms coming into the year,” said Perfect Game national scouting coordinator Brian Sakowski after Schmidt’s injury. “I think his performance is going to help him. I think what his profile was before the injury is going to help. The reality of the situation is he is going to slip a little because of the injury.”