The New York Yankees’ farm system is an eminent one and it gets proven to be a true statement day in and day out.
In 2013, Clarkin was the Yankees’ first-round draft choice right out of high school but sat out the entirety of the 2015 season due to elbow complications. Surgery, thankfully, was avoided and the lefty returned to action in the Arizona Fall league.
There, Clarkin went 2-2 with a 5.84 ERA in six starts and saw his walks per nine innings climb to a staggering 5.1 despite possessing a respectable 1.8 the year before.
So far in 2016, he has groomed into the player he was selected to be.
In seven starts for Single-A Tampa, Clarkin is 3-3 with a 3.82 ERA and has witnessed his BB/9 drop down to 2.4 while his HR/9 reached a new low (.2). He also has 29 strikeouts in 37.2 innings of work.
This week, the gold-medal winner for Team USA turned in his best start in professional ball as he fanned 10 batters in seven innings of work. It was only the second time Clarkin lasted seven innings in his career.
Previously, he had given up five earned run in each of his last two starts.
Although Clarkin is only 21-years of age, he’s developing into something unique for the New York Yankees. In an arsenal that features a low-mid 90s sinking fastball, a cutter, a curveball, and a changeup, there’s no doubt he will transform into a major league pitcher very soon.
The concern here is command and health. Emphasis on the latter. This week was a prime illustration of what we can see from a healthy Clarkin while last season was quite forgettable.
If he persists in a good state of health for the remainder of the 2016 season, the Bronx may be calling for the southpaw as early as 2017.