Weight: 200 lbs.
College commitment: Texas Tech
Generally labled as a prospect "toolshed", Trenton Clark is yet another prep outfielder from the DFW Metroplex, which has produced high picks such as Josh Bell (Dallas Jesuit, 2011) and Billy McKinney (Plano West, 2013) in recent years. Right off the bat (bad baseball pun not intended), Clark is a perplexing prospect; at only six feet in height, he doesn't come across as toolsy in the athletic sense, as he doesn't have the projectable frame you expect from highly-touted prep guys. Though the build does limit Clark's upside, it doesn't reflect on his best tool, the bat.
Clark's left-handed swing shows above-average bat speed with the ability to hit for average and power down the road. In addition to solid future average and power grades, Clark has a really solid hit tool, and he consistently makes good contact from the left side as he barrels up the ball. He has a tiny quirk in how he holds the bat. Instead of making fists with his hands around the bat handle, Clark holds his bat like a golf club with thumbs extended. Clark was profiled by TCB's kyuss94/Spencer back in December as a potential Texas prep talent who could go high. Here's Spencer's take on Clark's swing from that article:
"Clark's swing has some good and bad traits, with smooth upper body movement and great hands, but a choppy weight transfer that could hurt him against higher level pitching. He is somewhat reminiscent of Reds prospect Phil Ervin, and teams that value players with 1-2 very strong tools who can bring value in unorthodox ways, such as the Astros, could value Clark highly."
Outside of the plate, Clark gets rave reviews for his makeup and baseball I.Q. Baseball America was high on Clark as a runner and outfielder during his time at the Pan-American Games with Team USA last summer clocking him as low as 6.62 in the 60-yard dash and 3.47 from home to first. Other publications have more recently been less enthused in those parts of his game. Clark very well might have lost a step of speed over the past year, but his baseball instincts will at least help his speed game play up on the basepaths and in the outfield. Though a few reports (from nameless scouts) tend to think Clark can stick in centerfield, that's probably too optimistic; his arm isn't terrible, but it's not exactly special either so I see him as a corner outfielder. There's honestly not a lot of video on him out there on the interwebs other than a few short videos of some at-bats and swings. Therefore, I can't comment on his arm strength and how that might play up with the possibility of him in right field.
The Astros have been heavily rumored on bats at picks 1.2 and 1.5 in the draft, and Clark fits into that category as a possible prep bat at 1.5. Though he's not quite the prospect in my eyes as Kyle Tucker or even Daz Cameron, the Astros have reported interest in Clark. But unless Luhnow falls in love with Clark's bat at an under-slot deal, he fits better around the 9th-13th pick range. The high end of that is the Cubs, who have been heavily scouting Clark (Theo Epstein paid him a personal visit based on this article from WFAA in Dallas). The low end at 1.13 is the Marlins, who are always interested in toolsy, projectable prep players.
I personally wouldn't worry too much about the discrepancies between Clark's potential speed, and even defense; if he makes the majors, it'll be because of his bat, which projects to be at least above-average in the hit and power categories. If Clark continues to add power, his run game probably becomes even less a part of his game, which is a trade-off a lot of guys eventually make. It'll be interesting to see which team buys into Clark's at enough to take him.
(from The Prospect Pipeline)