Comparing what the Yankees and Mets have at each position in the minor leagues, we take a look at…
Splitsville: Eric Schmitt v1.1
Splitting Time: Right-handed pitcher Eric Schmitt, originally drafted by the cross-town New York Mets in the 18th round of the 1996 draft out of high school, was selected in the 25th round of the 2000 MLB Draft out of Wake Forest University. Schmitt entered his sixth minor league season in 2005 with a career mark of 26-20 with a 3.99 ERA before making 16 appearances with AA-Trenton and 23 appearances with AAA-Columbus this past season. We'll take a look at his splits with both clubs.
Home Not So Sweet Home: Whether he was pitching at home for Trenton at Waterfront Park or at Cooper Stadium with the Columbus Clippers in 2005, Schmitt was less than effective at home. If you combine his 21 appearances at home in two stops between AA and AAA, he posted a 5.59 ERA at home in 2005. He was able to cut his ERA by more than a full earned run on the road however, posting a 3.97 ERA in 18 road appearances.
A big reason for the differences in his home versus road splits was his inability to keep the ball in the ballpark at home. Schmitt allowed 0.79 home runs per nine innings pitched on the road, not exactly a great ratio. However, on the road, he served up nearly two home runs every nine innings (1.91 home runs per nine innings to be exact), a very unacceptable ratio.
Righties Went Nuts: Eric Schmitt, a right-handed pitcher, not only faired better against left-handed hitters, right-handed batters got to him early and often in 2005. Schmitt held opposing left-handed batters to a .253 batting average in his two stops between Trenton and Columbus - a number close to average - while right-handed batters smoked him for a .296 average this past season.
His ERA against right-handed batters stood at 5.46 ERA at season's end while his ERA against lefties was 4.14, despite the fact that left-handed batters went for extra bases in 41.9% of his hits allowed to lefties (37.9% of his hits to right-handed batters were extra-base hits).
Horrendous Start: Schmitt finished the 2005 season with a 5.17 ERA with the Trenton Thunder and his horrific start to the season was a big reason why. He went 1-1 with a 6.38 ERA in his first seven appearances with the Thunder this past season and posted a 4.40 ERA in his other nine appearances with Trenton the rest of the way.
In his games with the Columbus Clippers, Schmitt allowed as many earned runs (14) in his final 8 games as he did in his first 14 appearances. The bottom line in Schmitt's month-to-month splits was when he wasn't on his game, his rough patches lasted a little too long.
A Tale Of Two Clubs: When first glancing at Schmitt's numbers from both Columbus and Trenton in 2005, there doesn't appear to be a vast difference in his performances. He posted a 4.61 ERA at AAA and a 5.17 ERA at AA, just barely a half earned run difference. However, a closer look at his splits reveals a much different story.
Despite the small difference in ERA's between the two clubs, Schmitt's success in pitching with runners in scoring position at AAA was like night and day in comparison to the same situations with the Trenton Thunder. He held opposing AAA batters to just a .192 batting average with runners in scoring position this past season while AA hitters smacked him around to the tune of a .371 batting average with runners in scoring position.
It would seem it should be the other way around considering the significant difference of experience in AAA hitters compared to AA hitters.
Unidentifiable Role: Eric Schmitt made 11 starts and 28 relief appearances in his two stops between Columbus and Trenton and as his overall numbers show, he wasn't too effective in either situation. He posted a combined 4.66 ERA as a reliever this past season and a 5.15 ERA as a starter. That's hardly a noticeable difference in his splits.
A closer look at his splits between the two clubs once again reveals a "Jeckyll and Hyde" between his time at AA and AAA. For the Columbus Clippers, Schmitt held opposing batters to a .233 batting average in games in which he started and a .288 average coming out of the bullpen, evidence that perhaps he was better suited in a starting role.
However, at AA-Trenton, his splits were the exact opposite. Opposing Eastern League batters hit .239 off of him as a reliever and a fat .310 off of him as a starter. His inconsistency in both roles at two different levels, combined with the fact he now has six years of minor league baseball experience under his belt, leaves many wondering how he fits in the Yankees' pitching prospect scene.
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