Ian Clarkin Works To Channel Vintage Clayton Kershaw
Ian Clarkin‘s delivery is reminiscent of Dodgers superstar Clayton Kershaw. And while imitation is the highest form of flattery, does the Yankees first round pick have the stuff to match? Earlier in the 2014 season, the now promoted Luis Severino and left-handed Clarkin formed a formidable 1-2 punch. With a 64/19 strikeout-to-walk ratio and less hits than innings pitched, will Clarkin force his way to Tampa by seasons end?
Just 19, the 6-foot-2, 186 pound Clarkin has a wide base with the potential to add size through his back and shoulders. His loose upper half projects for additional velocity at full physical maturity, while average or better athleticism points to a pitcher capable of filling out while maintaining his delivery.
When at the park, watching Clarkin throw instantly reminded me of a pitcher seen before. Unable to connect the dots, a scout in attendance blurted out Clayton Kershaw after a couple of minutes discussing the left-hander. It instantly clicked. Look past the exaggerated leg kick and back elbow and Clarkin has clean arm action and and a fluid delivery. When reviewing the video, no red flags were noted.
Against the Rome Braves, Ian Clarkin sat 89-91 mph throughout, attacking hitters and working quickly. He’s the type of pitcher defenders adore. The left-hander mixed in a two-seam fastball as 85-88 mph as well. Both variations of the fastball featured tail to his arm side.
Early in the game, he commanded the pitch well, keeping the pitch down while nibbling the corners. As he tired, Clarkin’s arm dragged and fastballs at the letters were barreled by opposing hitters. A fantastic ability to hide the baseball saved the California product from further damage. It’s a mechanical trait which allows his velocity to play up on a consistent basis.
Ian Clarkin’s primary breaking pitch was a 72-75 mph curveball with depth and sharp, 2/7 break. The pitch has promise and featured two-plane break. When in the strike zone, opposing hitters swung-and-missed. However, he hooked the pitch on a few occasions, causing it to hang up and out over the plate.
Featuring an 81-83 mph change-up, the pitch was an equalizer in this outing. With ability to pull the string and command the pitch down in the zone, it’s surprising Clarkin’s peripherals fall short of dominant. With identical arm action to the fastball, the former first round pick has the ability to add and subtract from the offering, affording it plus potential. The pitch will carry him to MLB even if the rest of the arsenal fails to develop.
Ian Clarkin’s arm strength isn’t dominant, but he’s a pitcher whose smarts will allow the entire arsenal to play up at the MLB level. From watching Clayton Kershaw video with Charleston’s video guy to incorporating deception, he’s a high floor talent with mid-rotation upside. At a time when pitchability is a hot commodity, Clarkin has it in spades.
Tool Present Future Projected Role Number 3 Starter On First Division Team Fastball 45 55 Curveball 40 50 Changeup 55 70 Control 45 60 Command 35 50
Owning Ian Clarkin
In shallow dynasty leagues where it pays to churn and burn through a shallow prospect pool, Luis Severino [Scouting Report] is preferred to Ian Clarkin. But as leagues become deeper, pitchers perceived as “sure things” gain value. This is Clarkin’s sweet spot. In a dynasty fantasy baseball league where 150-200 prospects are owned, the Yankees prospect is worth a speculative play and will receive a boost in trade value just playing for New York.
21 Jul 2014 / Mike Newman /
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