Name: Ian Clarkin
DOB: February 14, 1995
Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
Fastball. Where the injuries have really hurt Clarkin over the past two years has been collecting inconsistent playing time due to injury which really hasn't allowed Clarkin to build up the kind of arm strength he could have built had he been healthy over the course of the entire season and it's a major reason why his velocity has never really crept back up to the above average 91-94 mph fastball he had before his Tommy John surgery. He has his moments where he flashes that velocity but for the most part his velocity has stayed in the 88-92 mph range. The constant state of rehab has taken its toll on his command too, which really hasn't improved all that much over the past two years either. It's solid, borderline above average, but most scouts believed [and to some degree still do] he had it him to become even better in that regard after gaining more experience. His fastball is an average big league pitch overall right now, perhaps a tick above average given its solid movement, but it still has some considerable ceiling both velocity-wise and command-wise should he be able to stay on the field for more extended periods of time and continue developing his game.
Other Pitches. That constant state of flux health-wise sure hasn't had any real negative effects on what is still a plus curveball. It bottoms out with the best of them, a true wipeout breaking ball, and it is his best strikeout pitch. It sits in the high-70s to low-80s and it's one of the better curveballs in the entire farm system movement-wise. Where he still has some ceiling with it is command-wise, that's where the trips to the training room have somewhat taken away from what is normally a killer weapon. A better return to more consistent health can only help improve what has rapidly become an above average changeup too. Despite missing the chunks of time that he has, he has still been able to develop what was pretty much a non-existent pitch into one of his more reliable offerings. With great fade and depth, and a pitch he goes to a lot more often these days, it too has some ceiling left to it as well.
Pitching. Clarkin needs more consistent playing time more so than most pitchers and it's because his Clayton Kershaw-like, herky-jerky delivery has a lot of moving parts that equires a lot of constant attention. There's a lot of deception to his delivery, which is good, but it's also a reason why he hasn't been quite as good command-wise as he can be either. The good news is he is very athletic, a master of detail, and he's a tireless worker too so he is constantly looking to master his craft. The advanced level of athleticism gives him the necessary foundation in place to be repeatable in his mechanics too despite the various nuances to it. His approach to batters is a very aggressive one mentally but physically, especially when first coming back from some time off, his command can take some time to get going. More of rhythm pitcher than most, however, when he gets on a roll he really gets on a roll. Throw in a cerebral approach with advanced pitch-ability, he can be very tough to barrel up when his command it as its best.
Projection. Despite the significant time missed over the past two years Clarkin has been one of the steadier performers when he's been healthy enough to be on the mound and it's because his secondary pitches are so good, his pitch-ability overall is advanced, and his competitive drive is unrivaled. In fact, it's that kind of rare moxie that he possesses that leads many scouts to believe he safely projects long-term as a middle to back-end big league starting pitcher someday. However, whether he's jinxed or not, he's had just one healthy full season four years into his career and that missed time hasn't allowed either his velocity or his command to improve like many believe they can. So while in theory the ceiling is there to be a front-half big league starting pitcher if everything develops like it could, namely improving the fastball velocity back into the above average range, he will also have to prove he can remain healthy for an extended period of time for that kind of ceiling to have any chance of becoming a reality.
ETA. 2018. Clarkin's ETA in theory should be pushed back somewhat after two pretty significant injuries over the past two years but the fact is he's not nearly as raw as he should be. Should he remain healthy he seems poised to get a steady diet of Double-A experience this upcoming season and it's not far-fetched to believe he could be big league ready at some point the following year.