Oakland Athletics Prospect: Recapping Denzel Clarke's 2023 Season

Denzel Clarke has been rising up prospect boards. After getting hurt and missing the remainder of the 2023 season, can he bounce back in 2024?
World Baseball Classic Pool C: Canada v United States
World Baseball Classic Pool C: Canada v United States / Norm Hall/GettyImages

The Oakland Athletics drafted Denzel Clarke in the 4th Round of the 2021 Draft. Since agreeing to sign with them for a signing bonus of $700,000, he has risen through the ranks to become the Athletics' fourth-best prospect behind Jacob Wilson, Mason Miller, and Lawrence Butler.

Minor League Baseball success and rise through prospect boards

In 2022, Clarke excelled with his power and ability to reach base often. He played 93 games in 2022 in which he hit .248 with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs. He also walked 56 times and wasn't afraid to take a hit-by-pitch, which allowed him to have an OBP of .365.

In 2023, he has done even better in just 64 games at Double-A. In those 64 games, he hit 12 home runs and knocked in 43 RBIs while also hitting .261 with an OBP of .381. He took 11 hit-by-pitches, which was up from nine the year prior.

In his 2023 minor league season, he held a wRC+ of 130, which means he is 30% better at creating runs than the average player. His ability to reach base often could lead to much success in the future, and at just age 23, he still has much more room to grow.

2023 Season ended after shoulder injury

Clarke's last game in 2023 was on July 21st before going on the 7-day Injured List with a shoulder strain before ending his season when he got transferred to the 60-day Injured List.

Denzel Clarke has the ability to play all of the outfield positions. Depending on offseason moves, Clarke could either begin the 2024 season at Triple-A or could remain at Double-A, but it seems unlikely they would be willing to start his service time at the MLB level.

Fight for MLB outfield job

The Athletics' current outfield has Seth Brown, who can play either corner of the outfield as well as first base, as well as JJ Bleday, who they acquired from the Marlins for A.J. Puk. They also have Lawrence Butler, who has been playing centerfield, as well as Esteury Ruiz. It's unlikely they are willing to re-sign Tony Kemp this offseason, and they also have the power-hitting outfielder Cody Thomas.

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