With two picks in the top 5 of this year’s First-Year Player Draft, Houston Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow will have a lot of options available when making his selection on June 8th. In our Climbing Tal’s Hill series of analyzing different potential Astros draft targets, there will be many different positions mentioned. Yesterday, Eric introduced the series and gave a breakdown of where the Astros currently stand with their depth at each position in the minor leagues.
Who is Trenton Clark?
Today, I’m going to present a scouting report on another Astros draft target, Trenton Clark. Clark is a 6’0” 200 lb. outfielder from Richland High School in North Richland Hills, TX, which is basically a suburb of Fort Worth. He is best known for having a great feel for the game, with scouts praising his decision-making in the outfield and at the plate. He bats from the left side and throws left as well, which gives him a bit more value as a left-handed bat. Although he has a very unusual grip to his swing, he has proven time and time again that he is one of the best high school hitters in the country.
He has produced for his high school team, at various high school prospect showcases, and in tournaments for team USA. Clark’s short swing makes him come off to scouts as a contact hitter that doesn’t have great bat speed when he takes his cuts, but he actually has a fair amount of pop in his bat, with much room to develop in the future.
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His aforementioned great instincts help him out tremendously on the bases, making him a plus runner (we could use this at the major league level right now). Clark’s great instincts also showed in the outfield, where he plays center field and seems to be able to make most of the plays. Some scouts say that they could definitely see him moving to left field during his professional career, as he doesn’t seem like your true center fielder. But, his above average arm, great instincts, and solid speed will give coaches good reason to keep him in center field.
I was really torn when trying to compare Trenton Clark to a current MLB player. My initial reaction told me, Hunter Pence, because of the unusual swing and good instincts, but the physicals don’t really match. Pence is a right-handed hitter and thrower, weighs in at 220 lbs. compared to Clark at 200 lbs, and Clark is 6’0” while Pence is 6’4″. The next name that came to mind was Christian Yelich, because they are both really solid left-handed hitters that are more contact-based rather than power-heavy and possess solid speed and fielding ability. The only holdup with Yelich is that he’s also bigger (6’2”, 220 lbs.) and throws right-handed. So I’m going to settle with a Hunter Pence/Christian Yelich combo, Hunter Yelich or Christian Pence. I’m sure Trent Clark would like either of these comparisons, as both of these players have had great success at the major league level and are considered to be two of the best outfielders in the game.
The statistics show that Trenton Clark had an unbelievable high school career and that based on his performance in high school, he’s well-deserving of a first round draft pick. At the 18-and-under Pan American Championship in Mexico, which took place in September 2014, he led team USA in most major hitting categories with a .565 batting average, 3 home runs, 20 RBIs, and 5 stolen bases in 8 games. He was an integral part of team USA’s run to receiving the gold medal in that tournament. According to MaxPreps.com, Clark had a .518 batting average and .697 on base percentage with 9 RBIs, 25 runs scored, 7 doubles, 1 home run, and 9 stolen bases in his senior year at Richland High School. As an all-state junior, Clark hit 10 home runs and also had a .441 batting average. He was selected as an All-American and competed in the Perfect Game All-American Game in San Diego in August.
Is Clark an Option for the Astros?
Trenton Clark is a viable draft target for the Astros because we could always use depth at the corner outfield spots. If you look at a potential 2019 or 2020 starting outfield in Houston, it would be very enticing to put Tony Kemp in center, Derek Fisher in left, and Trenton Clark in right. That would be three elite prospects forming a powerful trio in the outfield. The Astros have plenty of competition currently in their minor league system, but you can always make room for an elite prospect like Trent Clark. The only real struggles happening right now within the Astros’ system is that center fielder Teoscar Hernandez is struggling for AA Corpus Christi, while Low A Quad Cities doesn’t really have an outfielder stepping up besides Derek Fisher, who was recently promoted to High A Lancaster.
If the Astros decide to draft Trenton Clark, which I believe is not a strong possibility, they would definitely use the fifth overall pick on him. He’s rated as the 13th best prospect by MLB Pipeline, and there are better outfielders like Daz Cameron, Kyle Tucker, and Andrew Benintendi on the board. However, I definitely believe that Clark will be available for both picks and the Astros will have the opportunity to select him. Most mock drafts that I’ve been researching have Clark dropping outside the Top 10, falling somewhere in between the 13th-17th pick. Overall, if Jeff Luhnow and the Astros front office are looking to develop a really young outfielder with great instincts and many tools that are present, but still growing, then Trenton Clark is their guy.
However, I definitely believe that Clark will be available for both picks and the Astros will have the opportunity to select him. Most mock drafts that I’ve been researching have Clark dropping outside the Top 10, falling somewhere in between the 13th-17th pick. Overall, if Jeff Luhnow and the Astros front office are looking to develop a really young outfielder with great instincts and many tools that are present, but still growing, then Trenton Clark is their guy.
Keep up with the rest of the series below.
Astros Draft Prospect: Daz Cameron
Astros Draft Prospect: Alex Bregman
Astros Draft Prospect: Carson Fulmer
CTH Mock Draft (First Five Picks)
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