When he’s on, watching this week’s SotW is like watching the infielders taking their fielding practice between innings as opposing batters beat Zach Clark’s offerings into ground ball outs. Last Thursday I went to a game he started and that was exactly how it went as Zach threw a complete game (7 inning) 4-1 victory over Kannapolis. It impressed me enough to make him Shorebird of the Week a week later.
And after looking into Zach’s numbers, that start wasn’t an anomaly – all four of his Delmarva starts have been what’s considered a “quality” start (3 or fewer earned runs in 6 or more innings.) A guy with a WHIP of 0.87 on your staff will certainly be one who can be leaned on to keep you in games. He’s given up 21 hits and just 5 walks in 30 innings with a 2-1 record for Delmarva, and carries a stellar 1.50 ERA.
Oddly enough, for the second week in a row I picked a guy who the Orioles didn’t pick with a draft choice. The Orioles signed him up last year and the native of Wilmington, Delaware has bounced about the Orioles system already – Bluefield and Aberdeen last season; Frederick, Aberdeen, and Delmarva in 2007. He did struggle to open the season in Frederick, allowing 14 hits and 11 runs in just 7 1/3 innings, so he was sent down to a more appropriate level to continue his career. Having just turned 24, he’s not all that far away from getting another shot with Frederick if he can continue to do what he’s done here.
The only knock that scouts could have on Clark is that he’s not a great strikeout pitcher, so he may need to develop a better out pitch to succeed at a higher level. But a guy who’s relatively economical with the pitch count and can eat innings will have a place in most organizations for awhile.