Weight: 186 lb.
DOB: 2/14/95 (18 years old)
Clarkin offers a basic, three-pitch repertoire featuring a fastball, changeup, slider, and curveball. The fastball sits in the low 90's, but he reaches back and adds some velocity when he needs it. Clarkin's 6'2" frame should support an uptick in velocity when he matures and fills out. Command of the fastball is currently spotty, but Clarkin has a clean and repeatable delivery (video) that should allow him to improve his command with more experience.
The curveball flashes plus and will be strikeout pitch that Clarkin can use to finish off hitters. I would like to see a little better changeup, but it isn't uncommon for a high school pitcher to have an undeveloped off-speed pitch. Clarkin has been able to succeed by overpowering high school hitters with a fastball and spinning a curveball, and gaining feel for a changeup will go a long way in determining his ultimate ceiling. A common theme in all of Clarkin's scouting reports is an advanced feel for pitching, and pitchability that will allow him to use his pitches effectively, even if his changeup only becomes a 50 offering.
2013 Season Review:
Selected 33rd Overall in the first round this June, Ian Clarkin became the Yankees' compensation for losing Rafael Soriano in free agency to the Washington Nationals. Ian Clarkin signed quickly on June 17th, 2013 for the recommended slot amount of $1.65 million, but his debut was delayed until mid-August following a rolled ankle during a workout. Clarkin was on a short leash and only made 3 starts going 5 innings total.
Not much can be made from Clarkin's 5 innings of work in 2013. The results were uninspiring as he piled up a 10.80 ERA, 4 strikeouts, 4 walks, and giving up 2 home runs. The 2 home runs Clarkin gave up while throwing in the pitcher-friendly Florida Gulf Coast is a bit of a red flag, but I'm hesitant to put too much stock into anything spanning a 5 inning sample size. The more telling stat is 5 innings in 3 starts, because it declares New York's plan to take it incredibly slow with their rookie left-hander.
Ian Clarkin will be 19 for the entirety of the 2014 season so I don't expect him to see any time in a full season league. The most likely scenario is for Clarkin to hang around extended spring training before moving on to short season league in Staten Island. The goal for 2014 is to develop feel and command of his changeup, and to improve the command of his fastball. If Clarkin can accomplish both of these objectives, his prospect stock should soar as he'll be well on his way to his ceiling of a number 3 starter.
ETA and Future Fantasy Value:
If all of 2014 is spent in short-season A ball, I would expect Clarkin to be on a schedule for a 2017 arrival to the Bronx. The presence of a true put-away pitch in Clarkin's curveball and a build that can easily support a starter's workload, there is little risk in Clarkin's future as a starter. The question is where exactly to put his ceiling; if the changeup develops and the fastball command comes around, Clarkin has the makeup and pitchability to be a number 2 starter. If one of those pitches doesn't come around, Clarkin will still hold fantasy value as a mid-rotation starter. I believe in Clarkin ultimately maximizing all of his pitches and refining the command given his repeatable delivery and the poise he shows at an early age.
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