2016 Statistics: 98 IP, 3.31 ERA, 18 games started, 72 strikeouts, 30 walks
2016 Level/Roster Status: High-A/Non-40
After not pitching in 2015 and somehow managing to avoid the dreaded Tommy John surgery, Ian Clarkin returned to the mound for the Tampa Yankees for just under 100 innings this season. He spent his entire year in the Florida State League, going 6-9 for the T-Yanks.
Injuries certainly cannot be helped, and the fact that Clarkin’s cost him an entire year of development is fairly significant. The first round pick from 2013 will only turn 22 in February, giving him plenty of time to still make an impact if he can stay healthy.
The innings that Clarkin threw for Tampa weren’t spectacular, but they were fine. He kept his ERA below the mid-3.00 range in 18 starts, but opposing batters did manage to hit .265 against him. That at a low level isn’t really what you want, but it could be worse for a guy who sat out an entire season the year before.
Clarkin may be in a little danger of losing his shine as a prospect, but age is still on his side if he can put together a strong showing in 2017. He isn’t especially young anymore, but nothing has really been derailed.
As is the case with all the Yankees’ pitching prospects, the team is in desperate need of success on the farm. New York is looking at a complete turnover of their rotation after 2017, and they need bodies to fill those spots. Clarkin likely won’t be in contention for that right out of the gate, but positioning himself to be able to be considered for a big league rotation in 2018 or so would be very helpful for the team.
The good news is that Clarkin will presumably be able to enter 2017 on a healthy note an entire year removed from missing significant time. The next step is to ramp up his innings totals and try to get him moving up through the system. The likeliest scenario is that he probably starts and finishes the year at Double-A Trenton, which would be perfectly respectable.