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Spring Training Gameday Thread, #5: 2/27 @ Padres

The first spring look at Taylor Clarke.

Cleveland Indians v San Diego Padres Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Clarke was ranked #7 on Michael McDermott’s list of top 30 prospects, and on the recent MLB Pipeline prospect update, he came in at #10. Michael said Clarke “has nothing left to prove at the minor league level,” though there does seem to be some question over whether his future will be as a starter or a reliever. The main issue seems to be that, while most of his pitches are decent, there’s not a true “excellent” one. He doesn’t have great strikeout numbers and isn’t particularly a groundball guy, but does appear to have a knack for making hitters generate weak contact, and pop-ups. How well that translates to the majors will be key, along with an ability to out-think batters and keep them off-balance.

For now, it appears he is being retained as a starter, and that makes sense. Even if his likely ceiling (per MLB) is a back-end starter, he’d still be more valuable in that role than out of the bullpen. Michael suggested making him a long reliever for the D-backs this season, to get his feet wet at the major-league level. Though I suspect with the likes of T.J. McFarland and, perhaps, Nick Green, ahead of him on the depth chart for that role, he will probably need some injuries to open the door immediately for a roster spot next month. However, it would not surprise me at all if we see Clarke in the majors at some point in 2019, either providing rotation help, or in that long relief role.

In case you’re wondering: @EutawBackstop is Caleb Joseph, and @JuniorL07 is Domingo Leyba. No local broadcast of any kind for this one, so we’ll be relying on Gameday and/or whatever might show up on social media for coverage!