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Lesser Brewers: Matt Clark

Matt Clark mashes in the minors and showed a strong bat in a brief major league stint. But there may not be room for him on the roster in 2015.

Jeffrey Phelps/Getty Images

Matt Clark didn't get a ton of playing time in 2014, but by the end of the season he appeared to be the best option the Brewers had at the position.

Clark didn't even start 2014 with the Brewers' organization: Originally, he signed with the Mets after spending the previous year in Japan. Mid-season, he opted out of his minor league deal and latched on with the Brewers, where he saw a better chance at earning a big league job. At the time of his opt-out, he had been crushing the ball in Double-A Birmingham, hitting to the tune of a .297/.380/.498 line with 10 homers.

Once he joined the Brewers, he was advanced to Triple-A. He continued his great hitting, posting a .313/.371/.605 line with the Sounds while launching another 16 homers in just 53 games.

That performance was enough to earn the major league team's attention and, in September, he was call-up to the big leagues for the first time in his career. He acquitted himself well, hitting three homers and posting a .744 OPS. His five hits and two walks in 31 plate appearances resulted in a .226 OBP, but that's obviously a small sample size to take at face value. He looked like he had the ability to hold his own at the plate if given a future opportunity.

That's where it gets a bit tricky, now: Clark finally reached the majors but it's looking less likely the Brewers will have a spot for him on their roster next year. Newly acquired lefty Adam Lind will take most starts, but needs a platoon partner. Unfortunately, Clark is also a lefty and thus doesn't fit that profile.

Clark has played some outfield and could thus fit as a corner outfielder/pinch hitter with Gerardo Parra being the primary outfield backup. The possibility of that will depend greatly on the rest of the roster make-up, though: If the Brewers need platoon options for Lind and Scooter Gennett, there may not be a spot for someone like Clark.

Lind has been somewhat injury-prone in his career, so there's still a chance Clark could see major league playing time in 2015. It seems unlikely he'll be on the team out of spring training, however.

Best Game

There are only 16 games to choose from, but by both WPA (0.101 in this contest) and statistically, his best game was against the Marlins on September 10 when the Brewers won 4-1. Clark made one of his seven starts that day and went 1-2 with a home run and a sacrifice fly, resulting in two RBI.

The sac fly came in the bottom of the fourth inning and allowed Jonathan Lucroy to come in to score. That put the Brewers on top 2-0. Then, in the seventh inning, Clark hit one of his three major league home runs, a solo shot to lead off the inning. The Marlins had cut the lead to one prior to this, so Clark gave Milwaukee an insurance run.

Contract Situation

Clark technically won't be a free agent until after the 2020 season and isn't arbitration eligible until after 2017. That said, he's spent six seasons in the minors and I'm not totally sure how many of those were also on the 40-man roster. Thus, I'm uncertain how many option years he may have remaining.