Ian Clarkin was the third and final first round pick of the Yankees in 2013, being drafted at 33rd overall out of James Madison High School in San Diego, California. The 6'2" prep lefty had what was regarded as the best curveball of high schoolers in the 2013 draft with top of the rotation potential and a fastball that topped out at 94 mph. Clarkin is not one of the high schoolers scouts find to be overly projectable but with plus command of his curve and an average changeup, it's easy to dream on his potential as a starting pitcher in the majors.
Before agreeing to terms with the Yankees, Clarkin was committed to San Diego State University. An injury delayed the start to his professional career, but he ultimately joined the Gulf Coast League Yankees before the end of the season to kick off his time with the Yankees.
Clarkin was only able to make three starts in Rookie Ball after recovering from an injury that delayed the start to his first season as a professional. In an extremely small sample size of five innings, Clarkin pitched to a 10.80 ERA but he managed to keep right-handed batters in check by allowing them to only bat .167 off him. There's not a whole lot that could be gleaned from such a small sample size and seeing how Clarkin performs in his first full season with the Yankees should be much more telling.
Yankees vice president of player operations Mark Newman believes that Clarkin will begin the 2014 season at Short Season-A Staten Island. It's possible that a strong performance in spring training might convince the team that the soon-to-be 19-year-old is ready to be sent to Low-A Charleston right out of the gate. If Clarkin does indeed start the season with the Staten Island Yankees it's reasonable to assume that he might be able to find himself in Charleston by the time the season is over. He's so young that there is likely no rush on the part of the Yankees, but strong performances can change a lot of minds.
Despite the Yankees' inability to really develop a pitching prospect recently, there's a lot to like about Clarkin's potential. Left-handers generally fare pretty well in Yankee Stadium and scouts were absolutely enamored with his curveball right out of high school. All three of the most recent first round picks have the potential to be special players and Clarkin could end up being a huge part of the future of the Yankees' rotation in a few years if he lives up to all his potential.