There were some question marks about Max Clark when the Detroit Tigers took him third overall in the 2023 MLB Draft. Why him over Wyatt Langford? Will he ever develop more power? How will he handle professional pitching after facing random high schoolers in Indiana for the past four years? Most of those questions will be answered with time.
One thing that was never a question was his work ethic, and that has been on full display this offseason. Clark has been grinding since the minor league season ended, and could be in for a breakout season in 2024.
Throughout the past week or so, videos have surfaced of Clark spending some time in the batting cage, working on his swing. It also would appear that the Tigers have invited Clark to spring training this year.
Clark really struggled after he was promoted to Low-A Lakeland last season, and that has to be something that's motivating him. He hit just .154 with a 73 wRC+ in 51 plate appearances. It's hard to take any stock into 51 PA in A-ball, but you have to remember that this is likely the first time he's ever struggled at any level of baseball. He was just annihilating the competition down in Frankin, Indiana. Now he's facing professionals. It's going to take some time for a 19-year-old to adjust.
Thankfully, he did perform very well in rookie ball, though again, it was just 56 PAs. He slashed .283/.411/.543 with two homers, a .261 ISO and a 146 wRC+. Again, it's just rookie ball, but that'll play just about anywhere.
There's no question Clark's work ethic it part of what attracted the Tigers to him. He just has that mentality of a grinder. The way he plays is just really fun to watch.
The Tigers really haven't had anyone with the swagger that Clark has in a long time, save for maybe Akil Baddoo. If he develops into what the Tigers think he can be, he could quickly become a fan favorite in Detroit.
Tigers fan may have wanted Wyatt Langford instead, but Max Clark is still going to be very, very good, especially with his work ethic. Fans should give this kid a chance.