The 2022 season may have just been a warmup for Denzel Clarke.
A fourth round selection in the 2021 MLB Draft by the Oakland A's, Clarke immediately attracted attention due to his impressive all around game with the Stockton Ports. While a midseason promotion to the Lansing Lugnuts did not go as well as anyone would have hoped, Clarke still showed his impressive tools and blend of power and speed.
Oakland A's rewarding Denzel Clarke after impressive minor league showing
His impressive first full season in the A's system may just be the beginning. Clarke is being rewarded for his strong performance, having been invited to the major league portion of spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Barring an absolutely ridiculous showing in spring training, there is little chance that Clarke will crack the Opening Day roster. However, his time in the major league portion of spring training will give him a closer look at how the veterans on the roster prepare while giving him access to the A's coaching staff. He could also benefit from this exposure by staying in the minds of the coaching staff with a strong showing.
This could also set Clarke up to take that next step in his development. As he starts to rise through the system, he will be facing tougher competition. Getting to work with the major league coaching staff and any adjustments they may feel are needed could a dramatic difference.
As it is, Clarke rose up the A's prospect rankings last season, finding his way to the Future's Game and being a focal point for the franchise in the Arizona Fall League. The power, speed, and athleticism are there; it is a matter of making adjustments to his approach to get the most out of his talent. If his time in the major league portion of spring training can unlock that next level, Clarke may rocket up the A's rankings again this year.
Denzel Clarke is perfectly set up to take the next step forward in his development. His time in the major league portion of spring training could make a major difference.