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Yankees 2014 Roster Report Card: Ian Clarkin

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With a successful 2014 under-his-belt, the Yankees pitching prospect has established himself as the systems top lefty.

Chung Sung-Jun

Grade: A-

2014 Statistics: 16 GS, 70 IP, 3.12 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 2.8 BB/9

2014 Level/Roster Status: Low-A|High-A / 40-man roster

Having only pitched five total innings of professional ball at the Rookie Gulf Coast League last season, it would not have been unusual to see 2013 first round draft pick Ian Clarkin begin the season at the Short-Season level. The young lefty impressed the Yankee brass enough during extended spring training that the organization chose to be aggressive and send him to Low-A Charleston. Clarkin took the challenge in stride, putting up a solid ERA and FIP while displaying a strong ability to miss bats and limiting the number of free passes. His strong performance earned him an end-of-season promotion to the Yankees' High-A affiliate in Tampa. Clarkin made just one start before being shut down, likely in an effort to control his innings.

Clarkin’s season did not go unnoticed in prospect scouting circles either. ranked Clarkin number four on the Yankees' top prospect list and Baseball America recently ranked him number fifteen on their post season top twenty South Atlantic League prospects.  Reports have been positive with some discrepancies about the current quality of his stuff.  This is not unusual for a 19-year-old still growing into his body, but all who have seen him believe that each in his three-pitch mix of a fastball, curve, and changeup grade out as at least solid average pitches.

There were not many negatives to Clarkin’s campaign, but some of the main knocks on the lefty were that he needs to improve the command on his pitches and that he must learn to be more consistent during his starts as he climbs the minor league ladder.  Clarkin generally did not walk many batters, but scouts made note that his command occasionally falters from time to time, even within a single start. These lapses in command have caused him to leave balls up in the zone, making his pitches more hittable than they otherwise would be.  Clarkin is likely to begin next season in Tampa with a realistic chance of reaching Double-A Trenton if all goes well.