Prospect Profile: Ian Clarkin

Thoughts on a random Wednesday
What Went Right: Brett Gardner
(San Diego Union-Tribune)
(San Diego Union-Tribune)

Ian Clarkin | LHP

A Southern California kid from San Diego, Clarkin struck out 133 batters and posted a 0.95 ERA as a senior at James Madison High School this spring, which earned him a third consecutive All-California Interscholastic Federation Baseball Player of the Year selection. Clarkin led USA Baseball’s 18-and-under team to the International Baseball Federation 18U World Championship in South Korea last year with six strong innings in the gold medal game. He committed to the University of San Diego.

Prior to the draft, Baseball America (no subs. req’d) ranked Clarkin as the fifth best draft prospect in California and the 17th best draft prospect overall. The Yankees selected him with the third of their three first round picks, the 33rd overall selection. That’s the pick the team received as compensation for losing Rafael Soriano as a free agent. Clarkin infamously said he hated the Yankees in a pre-recorded video aired during the draft broadcast, but the team changed his mind with a $1,650,100 signing bonus. He took exactly slot money roughly two weeks after the draft.

Pro Debut
Clarkin headed to Tampa soon after signing, but his pro debut with the Rookie Gulf Coast League Yankees was delayed after he rolled an ankle during a workout. He didn’t get into his first game until mid-August. Clarkin allowed six runs on five hits, four walks, and one hit batsman in five innings of work while striking out four. If you’re curious, that works out to 10.80 ERA and 9.80 FIP in three appearances.

Scouting Report
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 186 lbs., Clarkin stood out from the high school pitching crop in the draft because he already has three pitches. His four-seam fastball sits in the 90-92 mph range right now and has touched 94 in the past. He’s shown the ability to get some two-seam-ish movement on the pitch as well. A fading changeup has shown promise but is a clear third pitch right now.

Clarkin’s break and butter is a power mid-70s curveball with hard break that is more 11-to-5 than 12-to-6. It’s a true put-away pitch that, when he’s on, he can throw for called strikes or bury in the dirt for swings and misses. Here’s the obligatory GIF:

As you can see, Clarkin has a bit of an unconventional delivery with a long stride and a very high leg kick. That adds a ton of deception but hinders his command — he needs to develop more consistent mechanics to improve the effectiveness of all his pitches. He’s an athletic kid and that should help him iron out the mechanics. Clarkin earns high marks for his competitiveness and willingness to pound the inside corner with fastballs despite less than stellar command.


There are plenty more video at YouTube and even a few clips at (mostly interviews).

2014 Outlook
Over the last few years, the Yankees have held their top high school pitching draftees back in Extended Spring Training for their first pro season before assigning them to either the Rookie GCL squad or Short Season Staten Island. I do think Clarkin might be the exception, however. New pitching coordinator Gil Patterson has a tendency to push young pitchers up the ladder aggressively, so an assignment to Low-A Charleston next year could be in the cards. It’s not a guarantee, obviously, but I don’t think it’s completely off the table as it has been in recent years.

My Take
I’m a big high school pitcher guy, so I’m a Clarkin fan by default. I like that he already has a) good velocity from the left side, b) an out pitch breaking ball, and c) the makings of a good changeup. Usually you’re lucky to get two of the three. The Yankees have not not have much success developing prospects lately, but Clarkin definitely has has plenty of raw material to build on going forward. They definitely got the draft pick right. Couldn’t ask for a better prospect with the 33rd overall pick under the new restricted spending system.

Thoughts on a random Wednesday
What Went Right: Brett Gardner
  • Bo Knows

    The only thing I don’t care for with Clarkin is his how high he holds his arms when starting his delivery, besides that I like his mechanics, they remind me more than a little of Kershaw’s with similar mechanics, and arm angle.

    I’m not saying he’s that talented and that’s his ceiling but it might be good that if the Changeup doesn’t work out, they can do what the Dodgers had with Clayton a few years ago and teach him a slider.

    As an aside, I wonder if someone (his agent) could see about him training with Kershaw in the offseason.

  • MooCow

    Delivery reminds me of a left handed Dennis Martinez.

  • Al

    Ian Clarkin hates the yankees, and Gerit ( Cole is a a yankee fan.

    • JohnC

      Cole wanted to sign with the Yanks, but his father pretty much steered him toward college. Just badluck for us.

    • Charlie in SD

      Of course Clarkin hates the Yanks – everyone around here hates the Yankees. I’m sure it’s the residue of being jealous of the Yankees past dominance (“buying rings” you know…). I get so much shit-talk whenever I wear my Yankees cap to watch a game. After 10 years, I’m used to it now.

      What you really should see is how everyone (even non-sports people) HATES Eli Manning. They can’t seem to get over the draft-day trade. It’s a riot.

      Anyway, looking forward to watching the two SD kids grow up (Katoh and Clarkin)

      • Cool Lester Smooth

        I don’t think it’s even about the trade.

        Giants fans are literally the only creatures in the world who like Eli Manning.

  • Larry

    Trade him to the Rays for so he can develop for 3 years and in exchange pay their Big League for payroll. Then when he is ready to come up he goes to the Bronx not St. Pete.

    Sounds Fair?

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    PROSPECT PROFILE!!! The best part of the offseason. Great job, Mike.

    • Mondesi

      A Florida kid from Daytona, Andy posted a 0.974 commenting rate on Prospect Profile posts since the Fall of ’08, which earned him all RAB prospect commenter honors.


    • Robinson Tilapia

      Seriously. Manna from the baseball godz.

  • RetroRob

    I would also imagine based on his age and frame that he’d be the type of pitcher projected to add velocity.

    • I’m One

      Especially when combined with a properly implemented training regimen.

      (start jokes here)

  • Sam Palazzo

    Excited to see how this kid turns out. Disappointing year from the farm this year but I still have faith!

    • RetroRob

      True, although we might look back a few years down the line and decide that the Yankees had a very good farm team now, but our view was clouded when viewed through the lens of 2013 when there were injuries and down years from the prospects.

      Heathcott bumps up to AAA, along with Austin having a bounce back. Sanchez, Williams, ManBan returning, Hensley healthy, the three top picks from this year, etc.

      Every team has similar things to say, although the Yankees had more of them then most.

  • Wayne

    A bigger version of Guidry from what I see of his delivery.

  • Wayne

    Leg extensión like ron guidry.

  • Wayne

    The yankees And Eli manning bias is because they play for the yankees And giants. They are the most hated teams in sports because There fans are white And conservative generally And associated as being all rich. Denver had john elway the same way. Nobody hates elway!

    • Mondesi

      Paging the RAB commenter who forgot to go leave the browser back at breitbart before leaving the family computer so his dad could use it: Get on top of your shit.

    • Cool Lester Smooth

      It’s because Eli Manning is the worst.

      Well, second worst. Tony Romo is a person who exists.

    • Ghost of Joe Dugan

      I live in the Mountain West and I assure you while the Yankees are hated by many the Giants aren’t even on most people’s radar. The Giants do not have an extensive national fanbase like the Cowboys, Steelers & Packers. Around here if you brought up Eli you’d generally have a positive opinion because he beat the Patriots in the SB twice.
      Also, early in his career many despised Elway for the way he handled being drafted by the Colts. It took many years for people to soften on him. I doubt they have in Baltimore.

      • Cool Lester Smooth

        Hell, I’m an Eagles fan and I was rooting for the Giants in both SBs.

        I live in Boston, so David Tyree’s helmet and Eli Manning’s general luckiness saved me 6 months of shit talk in 2008 and 2012 respectively.

  • Wayne

    Lets not forget that the mets got tom seaver after being drafted And signed by the braves! He supposedly did not play for braves because he wanted to finish pitching in USC after already signing with braves. Nobody hates tom seaver! Like i said its white conservative we must all be rich yankee bias!

  • Cozic

    Let’s hope that Clarkin gives Yankee fans in San Diego something to cheer about!

  • Brian in MA

    mmm…i’m just glad to get a hot and fresh prospect profile. love these features.