1. Taylor Clarke
Taylor Clarke has, uh, been worse than the first two options mentioned on this list thus far in 2022.
For a centerpiece, no thank you. For a tack-on … eh? You could certainly talk us into there being more here than meets the eye.
Clarke, a free agent after 2025, has posted garish numbers thus far, holding a 6.61 ERA and 1.59 WHIP through play on May 30. When you look under the hood, it’s plainly clear why the results have been disappointing; he’s getting hit often, and hard, and isn’t getting swings-and-misses or strikeouts.
However … Clarke never walks anybody (100th percentile), throws hard (78th percentile in fastball velocity), and induces chases (79th percentile). If only somebody could rework Clarke’s approach to help his command and stop hard contact from occurring so often (and, for what it’s worth, he’s in the 68th percentile on hard-hit percentage, though when they hit ’em, they barrel ’em).
Perhaps most importantly for this experiment, Clarke has a three-pitch arsenal: fastball, slider … and CHANGE, which he throws 20.4% of the time. Maybe a heavier emphasis on that third pitch could lead to softer contact and a more effective upper-echelon fastball. Maybe he can sacrifice some of that elite control for some better usage patterns. Maybe Clarke can be the flyer of all flyers.