Matt Clark

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Matthew Terry Clark

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Biographical Information[edit]

The son of Terry Clark and husband of Houston Astros sideline reporter Julia Morales, Matt Clark played 16 games with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2014. Entering 2020, he had hit over 250 homers as a pro.

Matt was named the 22nd-best prospect in California by Baseball America out of high school; he hit .418 as a senior. Moving on to Riverside Community College, he hit .350 and slugged .620 with 15 homers and 70 RBI in 2007 to lead his team to a state title. He was named First-Team JUCO All-American. The Pittsburgh Pirates chose him in the 28th round of the 2007 amateur draft but he did not sign. As a junior at LSU, Clark hit .344/.447/.789 with 28 home runs and 64 RBI, tying Gordon Beckham for the most homers in NCAA Division I and finishing second in the SEC in slugging. In the 2008 College World Series, he hit two home runs in eight at bats but lost All-SEC honors at first baseman to Justin Smoak.

The San Diego Padres chose Clark in the 12th round of the 2008 amateur draft; the signing scout was David Francia. In his debut with the Eugene Emeralds, he hit .279/.384/.443 with 32 RBI in 38 games, second on the club in RBI. His 10 errors tied for the lead among Northwest League first basemen. Clark split 2009 between the Fort Wayne Wizards (.266/.352/.484, 55 RBI in 64 games) and Lake Elsinore Storm (.292/.367/.524). Overall, he hit 35 doubles and 24 home runs, scored 85 times and drove in 101 runs, leading Padres farmhands in home runs and RBI. He had a system-leading 134 strikeouts in 502 at bats but drew 61 walks. He scored 7 runs on June 28, when the Storm beat the High Desert Mavericks, 33-18, as the teams set a California League record for runs scored in a game. With the 2010 San Antonio Missions, he hit .269/.339/.485 with 28 home runs and 97 RBI, finishing second in the Texas League in dingers (one behind Clint Robinson), RBI (one behind Robinson) and total bases (242, 56 behind Robinson) and 7th in hits (134) and slugging. He led the league with 146 strikeouts, 3 ahead of Koby Clemens, finishing with the most whiffs and RBI of Padres farmhands and tying Cody Decker for the most long balls. He lost All-Star honors at first base to Johan Limonta, who slugged four points lower but had a better OBP.

With the 2011 Tucson Padres, he batted .292/.363/.498 with 23 home runs and 83 RBI. He then joined Team USA for the 2011 Baseball World Cup and 2011 Pan American Games. He hit .342/.457/.632 in the World Cup with 9 runs scored and 9 RBI in 11 games while playing error-free defense. He was 3-for-3 with a walk, double, homer, 3 runs scored and 3 RBI against Taiwan and 2-for-2 with two walks, two runs scored and two RBI versus Venezuela as the US won Bronze. He was among the tourney leaders in total bases (24, tied Joe Thurston for 9th), walks (8, tied for 4th) and homers (3, tied for 2nd with Fernando Seguignol, Jose Abreu, Donald Lutz, Curt Smith and Tommy Mendonca, two behind Willie Vasquez). For the Pan American Games, he moved to DH as Chad Tracy handled first. He hit .154/.500/.154 with 9 walks and 5 runs in 5 games, including a Team USA Pan American Games-record four walks in a 20-run onslaught against the Dominican national team. He also scored 3 times in a win over traditional power Cuba as the US took home the Silver, losing out to Canada. He tied for 5th in the Games in runs scored and led in walks (3 ahead of Hiram Bocachica and César Crespo.

That winter, he hit .203/.357/.481 with 6 homers and 19 walks in 23 games for the Águilas de Mexicali. He spent another season in the Pads system, producing at a .290/.367/.506 clip with 26 doubles, 22 homers, 75 runs and 77 RBI. He was 9th in the PCL in homers, between Anthony Rizzo and Carlos Peguero. Among Padres farmhands, he tied Dean Anna for 7th in runs scored, tied for 10th in doubles, was 4th in homers (between Nate Freiman and Tommy Medica), ranked 6th in RBI and was 6th with 57 walks. He split the winter between the Bravos de Margarita (.323/.392/.646, 5 home runs, 15 RBI in 19 games) and Gigantes del Cibao (.333/.429/.667 in 3 games). He spent 2013 with the Chunichi Dragons of NPB, belting 25 home runs while hitting .238/.328/.457. He had a hit off Shugo Fujii in his first NPB at-bat and took Tomoyuki Sugano deep for his first dinger. He tied Shuichi Murata for 4th in the Central League in homers, trailing Wladimir Balentien, Tony Blanco and Shinnosuke Abe.

Clark was signed by the New York Mets for 2014 and was sent to AA, where he hit .297/.380/.498 in 67 games for the Binghamton Mets. Let go, he was picked up by the Milwaukee Brewers. He produced at a .313/.371/.605 clip with 16 long balls in 53 games for the Nashville Sounds and finally got a look at the majors as a September call-up. In his debut, he was a late substitute in a 7-1 loss to the Cubs, flying out against Kyuji Fujikawa. On September 4, he batted for Jeremy Jeffress and singled off Seth Maness; Carlos Gómez then pinch-ran. His first homer in the majors came off Sam Dyson six days later. At the major league level, Clark had five hits for the Brewers, three of which were home runs. Only three players in big league history had five or less career hits with three or more dingers: Clark, Keith McDonald (3 hits, 3 home runs) and Ed Sanicki (5 hits, 3 home runs). He hit .185/.226/.519 in his brief look for a 99 OPS+.

With the 2015 Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Mat batted .291/.367/.492 with 34 doubles, 20 home runs, 70 runs scored and 77 RBI. He was 8th in the PCL in two-baggers (between Peter O'Brien and Ryan Roberts) and tied Roger Bernadina and Tim Wheeler for 10th with 58 walks. Among Brewers minor leaguers, he was second in runs scored (four behind Orlando Arcia), tied Garrett Cooper for 2nd in doubles (behind Arcia), led in home runs (two more than Victor Roache) and led in RBI (six more than Roache). Despite that, he did not get another call up to the bigs. He struggled that winter for the Toros del Este (.200/.302/.218). In 2016, he played four games for the Mexican League's Vaqueros Laguna then returned to Japan, only hitting .172/.294/.414 in 11 games for the Orix Buffaloes while spending most of the year in the Japanese minors, batting .208/.313/.366 in 36 contests, a far cry from his 2013 performance. The next year, he was back in Mexico, batting .277/.355/.495 with 21 home runs and 75 RBI for the Acereros de Monclova. He was 4th in the league in home runs (between Jose Vargas and Jesse Castillo) and 9th in RBI (between Ramon Urias and Dustin Martin. The winter was again a rough one as he hit only .207/.338/.345 for the Charros de Jalisco.

The Mexican League went to a split-season format in 2018 and he split each half further, between two teams. In the spring season, he was with Monclova (.255/.368/.447 in 13 games) and the Pericos de Puebla (.339/.438/.661, 10 home runs in 34 games), tying for 5th in the LMB in homers. In the fall campaign, he was with the Leones de Yucatán (.180/.296/.180 in 17 games) and Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos (.270/.357/.378 in 11 games). In 2019, Matt was with yet another Mexican League squad, the Bravos de León. He had a strong year for them at .316/.404/.681 with 27 homers and 87 RBI in 76 games. It was a big year for offense in Mexico so he missed out on most leaderboards. He was 3rd in slugging, after Chris Carter and Alonzo Harris. He played only 7 games in the winter league as he spent time with the Mexican national team at the 2019 Premier 12, 8 years after his Team USA appearance. He got to play for them as his mother is Mexican.

At the Premier 12, he went deep off the Dominicans' Luis Pérez and Steven Kent. Then, in the Bronze Medal Game, with a spot in the 2020 Olympics at stake, he came up against his old Team USA in the bottom of the 9th. Down 2-1, he faced the event's All-Star reliever, Brandon Dickson; Clark took him deep to tie it then Mexico won it in the 10th for a spot in the Olympics (which were later delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The DH hit .300/.400/.800 for the event but did not make the All-Star team as Brent Rooker was chosen at DH. Clark had tied Jon Jones, Jo Adell, Rooker and Seiya Suzuki for the event lead in home runs was among the slugging leaders as well.

He was only 5 for 25 for the 2019-2020 Venados de Mazatlán and the 2020 Mexican League season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. He started 2021 well in the LMB, but was left off Mexico's team for the Olympics despite his key role in their qualifying; the team went with former MLB star Adrián González and Efren Navarro at 1B; González was also playing well in the '21 LMB but Navarro's numbers were lower than Clark's. Clark was vocal about being left off the squad.


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