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2015 Phillies draft preview: Trenton Clark, OF

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The Phillies are seemingly rumored to be serious suitors for about 20 different players in this draft. Partly because no one knows what to expect from new Scouting Guru Johnny Almaraz and partly due to there not being a big difference between the 7th best prospect and the 27th best prospect in this draft.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Trenton Clark is one of those players the Phillies are rumored to be in on. Clark was the Phillies pick in Baseball America's most recent Mock Draft (http://www.baseballamerica.com/draft/mlb-mock-draft-2015-version-1-0/) last week. The logic for this pick was that Trenton Clark is from Texas, the Phillies are big scouting there (as is pretty much every team), Almaraz is from there, the Phillies love Prep bats and are rumored to be taking one this year and Clark is projected to go in that general vicinity in the draft anyway. That's a big pile of circumstantial evidence, but, since it appears I'll have to profile about 20 people for this pick, here we go.

Clark is a 6'0" 200 lb Center Fielder from North Richland Hills, TX (a Dallas/Fort Worth suburb). Clark hits and throws from the portside. He's a very toolsy player with significant risks. Now, I know some people will see that and want to stay away, but guess what, even the guys going #1-3 in this draft have pretty big risks associated with them. This is not a deep draft and those guys who are available even near the top are very boom/bust. There are a few things that prevent Clark from being rumored any higher in the draft and one of those is his height. Scouts just don't get very excited about guys 6'0" and shorter. The second is that while he's toolsy, the tools are mostly in the average range. His arm is the weakest of those tools and probably forces him to Left Field in the pros. He has enough speed/range for Center, but his arm is just North of the Ben Revere/Francisco realm.

His speed is another area of some concern. He's an average to above-average runner (same range Crawford was rumored to be pre-draft, so it's not detrimental). His advantage is that he's reported to be a very smart baserunner and player. He's not a burner, but he won't run himself into outs and he's been effective as a base stealer since he picks his spots well and gets good jumps.

Now the bat is both special and somewhat perplexing, as Clark just hits. He's a natural hitter with a fast, compact swing. He's quick to the ball and has tremendous bat control to adjust to pitches. It's a special tool and already gets rated Plus or better by every scouting report I've seen. Even better is that Clark also has an excellent eye at the plate, so he's not just a free swinger with good contact skills, he looks like a seasoned hitter who can work an at-bat to get a ball he can drive. Now, that isn't to say drive for Home Runs. Clark will hit a few, but his power looks more average at this point, though he's an advanced and confident enough hitter that a team could work with him to add loft and more power to his game. A good comp is a little tough. I initially thought Carl Crawford, but he looks to have a better eye than Crawford (though a similar bat otherwise and similar defense, arm and speed). Then I thought of his batterymate Ethier, but the Walks are the only part of the comp that works there, so think a cross between those two. Ethier's eye and the rest of Crawford's game.

Here's a neat look at Clark's swing in slo-mo. Even in slow motion, it looks fast and short and geared to Line Drives and a high batting average.

Here's a look at his swing in game action. First with a weird check swing hit thingy. then with a longer at bat where he works a walk. You can appreciate the bat speed a bit more on his foul ball where fights off a potential strike 3 to stay alive in the at bat. The mechanics are pretty quiet though. A bit of a kick and step for timing, but very clean and uncomplicated. It makes it easy to see what scouts like in his hit tool. The power he does have is pretty much to his pull side, but he has shown the skill to use the whole field and wouldn't be as susceptible to the shift as some other Lefties.

Among the High School bats in this draft, Clark probably has the highest floor, as his hit tool should get him to the show. If his power never develops then he's more in the Carl Crawford camp as far as his profile if his power does develop some, I think he'd end up somewhere in the Andre Ethier/Raul Ibanez realm as a 2-3 WAR hitter with pop, but better Defense and AVG. I'm fairly confident Clark's a future Major Leaguer, but it could be as a Ben Francisco like bench role (though with more patience as a hitter) where he's limited to Left Field and occasionally Center along with being a reliable pinch hitter. Teams need those guys and honestly, for this draft that's a pretty decent outcome.