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From the Ivy Leaguer to Dust Devil

Hours after I had concluded my draft round-up of promotions to the Tri-Cities, 1st-round picked 1B Nolan Shanuel debuted for Rocket City, and 5th-round pick Chris Clark was assigned to the Tri-City Dust Devils. I was at the game on 7/29/23, hoping to glimpse Redfield and Ketchup; however, neither played.

The alignment was quite interesting as OF D'Shawn Knowles lined up at 3B. He played in 11G at SS in 2022 for the Dust Devils, and this was his first career game at 3B. He is a fantastic OF and has the speed to play all three positions on the grass. However, he did look okay at 3B and slightly out of position. He committed 1E and looked to misjudge the speed of a couple of runners that reached on routine ground balls.

Now, we are on to the 6'4" righty out of Harvard University, Chris Clark. Clark signed for $318,825, more than $100K under the slot value of $425,100. Clark is 21yo and played two seasons at Harvard and in parts of 3 summers between the FCBL and the CCBL. He was also the first player in this year's draft taken from the Ivy League.

Let's look at the big righties' performance at college. This previous season he was 2nd in the Ivy League in strikeouts, earned a spot on the Ivy League All-Tournament Team, gained CSC Academic All-District Accolades, was an Ivy League pitcher of the Week, and was 14th in the NCAA in K/9. Previously as a sophomore, he was a 2nd team All-Ivy, first in the Ivy League in OBAA, 4th in ERA, and 8th in K's.

Going deeper with Clark, he was his junior and senior teams captain. He was also a varsity kicker for his Football team for three seasons and was the prospect in Pennsylvania in the 2020 class seasons and 14th-ranked; he was a 5-star kicking prospect coming out of high school.

Clark did not get a first year due to Covid. As a sophomore, he was used primarily as a reliever as he posted a 3.08ERA over 14 appearances and four starts. In 38IP, he had 2SV, 13ER, 2HR, 20BB-47K. Following it up in his junior year, he appeared mainly as a starter with a 4.93ERA over 13 appearances, 12 starts. In 65.2IP, he went 4-4, and with 1SV, he allowed 61H, 36ER, 5HR, 32BB-03K.

Looking at the numbers, two things stand out to me.

  1. The strikeout-to-walk numbers are ridiculous. He doesn't allow many walks, and he can get outs with a command and executes his pitches repeatedly. Clark appears to have a solid 3/4 pitch mix with reasonable control of his secondary pitches.

  2. He limits home runs, which tells me he genuinely takes the scouting report seriously and can easily follow and execute a game plan.

I am unsure how the organization plans to use Clark, as he has the mix to be a starter. However, he also has the stuff to be a good bullpen piece and possibly move faster through the system.

We welcome Chris to the Tri-City Dust Devils as he begins his road to the show.

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