As the 2018 season ramps up, MLB teams begin a war of attrition requiring them to fill innings from the prospect ranks when injuries strike. For teams eying October, quality near-majors starting pitching to fill the rotation’s backend is a near must. If the Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves in this situation, Taylor Clarke is one potential call up.
Clarke finished his second full season as a pro in the Triple-A rotation. His physical workhorse build lacks projection, and he’s an intense competitor who challenges hitters with his fastball in the zone, particularly inside. He works his mix of secondaries—a slider, curveball, and changeup–away to induce weak contact. In this look, Clarke’s fastball sat 92-to-94 mph (T95). The pitch has average run and some life at the top of the zone, a weapon with his arm angle in on righties. Clarke is able to throw basic strikes with the pitch, but the in-zone command is fringy, playing the fastball down to the 55-grade range despite solid velocity and movement. He will lose feel for his curveball at times, though it flashed tight 12-to-6 shape and average depth at best, projecting as a future0average pitch. A fringy changeup with moderate armside fade at 84-to-85 mph rounds out the arsenal, though he will wrinkle in a few sliders as well for another look. Clarke lacks a true swing-and-miss pitch, and carries a realistic ceiling as a #5 starter. With his mix of stuff, he will have to command the ball and induce weak contact in order to have success.