Minor League Baseball League Top 10 Prospects: Carolina League

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Triston McKenzie
MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Triston McKenzie /
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8. Trent Clark, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

An elite raw talent when he was drafted 15th overall out of Texas high school, Clark has certainly flashed that talent, but he’s not yet put together the ability to make consistent contact, though he did really step up his strike zone recognition with Carolina this year, leading many to believe that there’s another step coming.

Clark’s .224/.361/.349 line may not impress, but with 21 doubles, 6 triples, 8 home runs, and 37 stolen bases, Clark flashed a blend of power and speed at 20 years old that certainly turned plenty of heads.

While having the raw power start to break through into production is impressive, seeing Clark show off his incredible plus to plus-plus speed on the basepaths along with certain plus defense and a plus arm in the outfield was a huge thing for the Brewers. On the bases, Clark shows excellent instincts, whether it’s running first to third on a single or stealing a base. On the season, he stole 37 bases in 42 attempts for an 88% success rate.

Clark has an unusual grip to his bat, and I’ve always felt that it leads to some instability in his bat path, but when he does make contact, it’s certainly loud contact. Clark played with top draft pick Ray, so he did shuffle around the outfield, though he has definite instincts to be able to be a center fielder.

With the impressive 17% walk rate in 2017 and keeping his strikeout rate below 25%, Clark has shown the zone judgement needed to make improvements with his contact skills eventually, though it may require some swing overhaul for Clark. Being young and with some excellent depth in the outfield ahead of him in the Brewers system, the team may take their time working to get his quick bat more consistent to the ball.

Clark likely will work at AA in 2018, likely for the full season.

7. Isan Diaz, IF, Milwaukee Brewers

Originally born in Puerto Rico, the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted Diaz out of high school in Massachusetts in the collective round B in the 2014 draft. When the Brewers traded Jean Segura to the Diamondbacks in the 2015-2016, they made Diaz a significant target of their return in that trade.

Diaz has significant explosive movement in his 5’10” frame, filled out to roughly 200 pounds at this point. He has excellent first step quickness and impressive power due to that quick-twitch explosion present in his body.

Diaz has filled out to the point where he is likely a second baseman long-term, though he still played roughly a 70/30 split of second base to shortstop with Carolina this season.

This season was one of ups and downs for Diaz, with a solid opening to the season before a prolonged slump. Just when he began to come out of the slump with his play in July, Diaz broke his hamate bone and was out for the season. He finished with an overall line of .222/.334/.376, but did have 20 doubles, 13 home runs, and 9 stolen bases with a 13.6% walk rate and 26.6% strikeout rate.

After the injury and the struggles on the season, Diaz may repeat Carolina to open 2018, but he’ll likely work his way to AA, and I would estimate fairly quickly. The ceiling is still very high for Diaz.