1st Round, 33rd Overall: Ian Clarkin, LHP, James Madison HS, San Diego, Pick Value: $1,650,100, BA Pre-Draft Ranking: 18
John Sickels’ report: If Phil Bickford isn’t the most talented California prep pitcher, the 6-3, 190 pound Clarkin is. Teams saw him as a certain first round pick due to a low-90s fastball, so it is maybe just a bit surprising that he fell this far, especially since he also has unusually good feel for his curveball and a promising change. Committed to the University of San Diego, he wasn’t expected to pose a signability risk. With Jagielo, Judge, and Clarkin, the Yankees made some diverse choices.
Baseball America’s report: Clarkin punctuated his strong performance on the 2012 summer showcase circuit with six strong innings in the gold medal game to lead USA Baseball’s 18-and-under team to the IBAF 18U World Championship in Seoul, South Korea, in September. He got off to a strong start this spring with a good showing at the Southern California Invitational in February, establishing himself as the top prep pitcher in the region. Clarkin has feel for pitching with three quality offerings. His fastball sits at 90-92 mph and bumps 93-94, and he pitches inside aggressively, but sometimes his fastball command falters. He flashes a plus downer curveball with sharp bite, and he can locate it to both sides of the plate when he’s on. He also has shown the makings of an average (but inconsistent) changeup with good arm speed and fade. Clarkin needs refinement, but his three-pitch arsenal and competitiveness give him a chance to be a quality major league starter down the road. He is committed to San Diego.
My Take: Considering the Yankees took a pair of bats with their first two picks it was good to see them go with a pitcher for their third. Better to see them get a young lefty with plenty of upside. Considering their last two first round picks of Cito Culver and Dante Bichette Jr., the Yankees did a very nice job for themselves on Thursday.
Funny thing about Clarkin, he grew up a Red Sox fan who hated the Yankees. Whatever, $1.6 million will change that and it didn’t help when the Yankees draft Gerrit Cole in 2008 that he was a huge Yankees fan.
Photo credit: Hayne Palmour IV (www.utsandiego.com/)