Last season BCB readers (sic) participated in our annual ranking of the Brewers’ top prospects. Let’s see how those prospects advanced (or not) their standings in the list.
#4: Trent Clark
Happy Birthday Trent! November 1st is his 20th birthday, an important number when reviewing what he has accomplished in his first two seasons.
First, though, it is also pertinent to note that Clark missed significant time in his debut 2015 season after a nasty collision with a wall in the outfield. He played that season in both levels of rookie ball and had significant success at the plate. His combined OPS was .854, with an impressive .424 on base percentage. His 25 steals looked very good, too.
Last season Clark again missed significant time, this time with hamstring issues. It would appear that this impacted all aspects of his game; he totaled only 262 plate appearances for low A Appleton, and had only 5 steals the whole season. His strikeout rate jumped from 17.5% to 26%, while his walk rate fell from 15.5% to 14.1%. His average fell from a robust .309 in 2015 to .231 for the T-Rats. While that leaves an OBP of .346 in ‘16, the .344 slugging percent was not impressive.
Trent has managed only 4 home runs in his two seasons, and the 22 doubles and 8 triples only bring his two season total to a .384 slugging percentage.
Again, like other Brewer prospects, Clark was playing ahead of himself in low A ball. He was 2.5 years younger than average. This is significant, and combined with the injuries we certainly don’t have major cause for concern. A reason to be a little wary, maybe, but it is much more likely that he bounces back in 2017, providing...
Health. A complete season with reasonably good health is the major goal in 2017 for Trent. There are good prospects at outfield positions in the Brewers’ system, and some good young players already at the major league level. Trent will have to stay healthy and continue to develop into a quality player lest he get lost in the shuffle. You hate to see a young players’ development hurt in that way, and surely don’t want to see him thwarted because other guys beat him to the punch. Of course, a good player will always find a home somewhere, but most fans hope to see their club’s first round picks help the team that drafted them on the field.
If Clark is healthy, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him start in high-A ball with the Mudcats. If not, a second season in Appleton wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. The Brewers are stacking up at center field in their system, so it would seem logical that somebody will need to move to a corner spot sometime. His left handed bat could give him an edge in gaining playing time. Trent has started almost exclusively in center so far, with a few starts each year in left. If he has to move off of center field it would be to left because of a fringey arm, and it will be interesting to see if he gets more repetitions there in 2017.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs