PP Scouting Report: RHP, Ray Clark

Ray Clark was drafted by the Yankees out of the University of Texas in the 2002 draft along with two of his fellow Longhorns. Clark stood out from the pack in a short stint in Staten Island in his first season and was promoted to single-A Tampa for the 2003 season. Is Clark the next big thing out of Texas, following Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens? Or is he just another average minor-leaguer?

Vital Statistics:
Raymond (Ray) Clark
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: October 27, 1980
Place of Birth:
Grapevine, Texas
185 lbs
How Acquired:
Selected by the Yankees in the 14th round of the 2002 amateur draft.

If the Yankees were expecting the next Ryan or Rocket out of Clark, they were barking up the wrong tree.  Clark is far from a power pitcher, and relies more on changing speeds and pinpoint control to succeed.  He's closer to Greg Maddux than Kerry Wood, but that seems to work just fine for him.  Clark's fastball tops out around 89-90 mph, but he likes to mix it with his changeup and good curveball to keep hitters off balance.

"Whenever I have my off-speed working like that, I use it to set up my fastball," Clark told The Daily Texan in 2001 after defeating Texas Christian University. "Most people use their fastball to set up their off-speed. But I think I can use a balance of both, and that's when I'm at my best."

Clark started the 2003 season with Tampa, but ran into problems quickly.  The high-A batters were hitting him too hard, posting a .319 batting average.  Clark's walk rate increased and his strikeout rate was cut by more than half.  His poor performance earned him a demotion to Battle Creek on May 2, where he eventually seemed to regain his control and his confidence. He got off to a bit of shaky start in the Midwest League as well, but turned things around on July 12 against Dayton, when he allowed just a run on four hits over eight innings while fanning nine batters.  He went 7-2 with a 2.16 ERA for the rest of the season.

Clark has shown flashes of brilliance in his short career, but he's also shown signs of not being able to cut it.  The dramatic decrease in his strikeout rate from his rookie season to 2003 is not a good sign, but Clark also doesn't walk many batters.  His 3.54 K/BB ratio would have placed him 14th in the major leagues, behind Andy Pettitte (3.60) and just ahead of Kevin Brown (3.30).  The young righty has also shown the ability to clamp down and dominate.  He didn't allow an earned run in three consecutive starts (23 innings), fired a complete-game two-hitter on August 4, and struck out nine batters twice.  While with Battle Creek, Clark only allowed more than four runs in a start twice.  For a final statistic, 13 of his 19 starts (68%) for Battle Creek were Quality Starts. 










Battle Creek






3.55 1.21 .262 6.5 1.8








3.76 1.71 .319 5.1 2.7


Staten Island






1.97 0.91 N/A 10.9 1.7

Repertoire: Fastball, Changeup, Curveball

Fastball: Clark's fastball isn't blazing by any means.  He generally hovers around the high 80s, topping out at around 90 mph.

Other Pitches: Relies on his off-speed pitches to set up the fastball.  Can hit spots with both the breaking pitch and the changeup, and uses both to keep batters off balance.  Doesn't really have a plus pitch.

Pitching: Clark is a control pitcher that needs to have command of his off-speed stuff to be effective.  When he hangs pitches and doesn't hit his spots, the results are what happened to him in Tampa.  Clark has the ability to pitch at the level he established at Battle Creek, but it won't be an easy road for him.

Projection: Middle relief, possible back-end starter.  Clark doesn't have the stuff to be a front-line starter and will probably be relegated to relief duty if and when he hits the bigs.

ETA: 2007  Clark needs a full season at each of the three minor league levels before he is ready for the majors.  Early success at Tampa could push him ahead of schedule, but early failure could completely derail him.

Notes:  MWL Pitcher of the Week (July 28 - August 3)... Complete-game two-hitter on August 4... 6-2 record at home... Six scoreless innings during playoff game against Fort Wayne... 3.59 ERA in 2003 was fourth overall in Yankees minor-league system.

Starting Pitchers

2003 Team

Jorge De Paula

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Alex Graman

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Christian Parker

AAA - Columbus Clippers

Eric Schmitt AAA - Columbus Clippers
Andy Beal AA - Trenton Thunder
Eddie Candelario AA - Trenton Thunder
Brad Halsey AA - Trenton Thunder
Javier Ortiz AA - Trenton Thunder
Edison Reynoso AA - Trenton Thunder
Chien-Ming Wang AA - Trenton Thunder
Sean Henn A - Tampa Yankees
Dave Martinez A - Tampa Yankees
Mark Phillips A - Tampa Yankees
Jose Garcia A - Tampa Yankees
Jose Valdez A - Tampa Yankees
Ray Clark A - Battle Creek Yankees
Jon Skaggs A - Battle Creek Yankees
Matthew DeSalvo A - Battle Creek Yankees
Brandon Harmsen A - Staten Island Yankees
Jeffrey Karstens A - Staten Island Yankees
Chase Wright A - Staten Island Yankees
Abel Gomez R - GCL Yankees
Tyler Clippard R - GCL Yankees
Edgar Soto R - GCL Yankees
Toni Lara R - GCL Yankees
Guillermo Villalona R - GCL Yankees


1. Danny Borrell - Yankees top pitching prospect, command pitcher recovering from ligament surgery.  Had excellent first season back with 2.93 ERA in 55.1 innings.  Could be ready for majors in 2004.

2. Jorge De Paula - looked excellent in spot start for Yankees in 2003.  Uses change-up as his out pitch, but has two other good pitches.  May be ready for major league action in 2004.

3. Christian Parker - Once a top-level pitching prospect, now an afterthought.  Parker's K rate (3.4 K/9)was pathetic in '03, and .313 opponent's BA do not bode well.

4. Chien-Ming Wang - Talented pitcher with good repertoire had a bumpy season in his first full year at AA.  4.65 ERA in 122 innings and 6.2 K/9 are good but not great.

5. Sean Henn - Went 5-4 with a 3.49 ERA with mostly Tampa in 2003.  Southpaw posted pretty good K rate, but walks too many batters.  Mixes high-90's fastball with excellent changeup to completely mess up opposing hitters. Can't seem to stay healthy yet.

6. Alex Graman - Spent entire season with AAA after making 20 starts for them in 2002.  Just turned 26, but hasn't had a really good season since 2001.

7. Tyler Clippard - Yankees 9th round draft pick in 2003 had an impressive debut for the GCL Yankees.  Compiled a 2.89 ERA in 43.2 innings and struck out a whopping 56 batters (11.5 K/9) while walking just 5 (1.0 BB/9) for a sparkling 11.2 K/BB ratio.  0.88 WHIP was also pretty nice.  At just 18 years old, need a lot more time in the minors.

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