Major-league baseball scouts flock to see Marietta outfielder Chevez Clarke

Marietta’s Chevez Clarke, one of Georgia’s top baseball prospects for the June amateur draft, has rich family history in the sport.

His father played college baseball for Southern University. His great uncle, Sam Hairston, was the first African-American for the Chicago White Sox in 1951. Two distant cousins, Scott and Jerry Hairston, both play in the major leagues.

Will 'Chevy' ever wear a Georgia Tech uniform? Doubtful (AJC photo)

Will 'Chevy' ever wear a Georgia Tech uniform? Doubtful (AJC photo)

Ironically, Clarke was named after a legend in another sport.

“My auntie’s favorite boxer was (Julio Cesar Chavez),” Clarke said, referring to the Mexican fighter who won six world titles in three weight divisions.

The 5-foot-11, 186-pound outfielder is considered a baseball heavyweight when it comes to the upcoming draft. Clarke, who has signed with Georgia Tech, attracts a steady flow of pro scouts at Marietta’s games.

In the team’s first scrimmage of the season, more than 40 scouts showed up to observe the switch-hitter take batting practice. Then everybody got in their cars and followed the team bus to South Forsyth, which has another elite prospect — shortstop Zach Alvord.

“In baseball, you always hear about the player with five tools, and ‘Chevy’ is one of those guys who is strong in all five of those areas,” Marietta coach Chris Stafford said.

Here’s the breakdown on Clarke by his coach:

  • Arm strength: “He is capable of being 90 mph of better off the mound.”
  • Running speed: Clarke has been clocked in the 60-yard dash at 6.41 seconds.
  • Fielding ability: He covers a wide range in center, robbing a Walker player of at least a double with leaping catch while running toward the wall.
  • Hitting for average: Batting .412 for the season, including 11 walks in a three-game span last week. “If we have a guy on second base and Clarke is batting, it is almost automatic that he will be walked.”
  • Hitting for power: Leads the team with four homers. Last year, Clarke had his signature moment against Woodstock. Trailing 7-2 in the sixth inning, he led off with a homer. The team batted around in the inning, and Clarke launched the game-winning homer a few minutes later.

“I’ve never had a kid on high school team or summer team that has attracted anywhere near the attention that he has,” Stafford said. “There are some organizations that they can see him being their first or second pick. A lot of them are telling me that there are not five (high school) kids in the country with better tools than he has.”

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Clarke said baseball has always been his first love. He fondly remembers his mother’s gift of a dinosaur baseball bat and glove when he was two years old. He messed around with football, but gave it up when he was 10.

“I could either spend the fall learning how to be switch-hitter or playing football, and I went with baseball,” Clarke said.

What will take for the prized prospect to forgo his college scholarship? Will he need to be drafted in the top five rounds? Is he leaning toward college or pro baseball?

Clarke just says it won’t be about the money but the opportunity. His coach has recommended an open mind.

“All he can do is go out and play as hard as he can,” Stafford said. “The chips will fall as they may. If all the circumstances are right and he feels God is leading him to (the major leagues), then he will walk through that door. If not, then Georgia Tech is a fantastic option.”

Who is YOUR pick for Georgia’s top high school player for the MLB June draft?

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10 comments Add your comment

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April 3rd, 2010
5:30 pm

A professional baseball contract or Georgia Tech……..the kid can’t lose!

[...] Major-league baseball scouts flock to see Marietta outfielder Chevez Clarke Marietta’s Chevez Clarke , one of Georgia’s top baseball prospects for the June amateur draft, has rich family history in the sport. [...]

J-Hey Kid

April 4th, 2010
8:58 am

I wonder if the Braves are interested in the local product? He would look great in center next to Jason Heyward!


April 4th, 2010
3:07 pm

J-Hey: um, no offense but if this kid is supposed to be a top five pick, the braves would need an awful season to get him. really really awful season. sure he could ‘fall’ to the braves but highly unlikely.

i’d rather the braves finish with winning the world series every year than get a good prospect but that’s just me.

It is great to see our great state producing top quality baseball players and not just football players.

best of luck to this young man


April 4th, 2010
4:40 pm

Kaleb Cowart of Cook High (AA) will be a first rounder. He’s committed to Florida State already. He’s a switch hitter with power, batting over .500 last year with 16 homeruns. The Braves like him as the next “chipper jones.” He also throws 95 mph from the mound. Cook has another stud named DJ Johnson who led the state in wins and strikeouts last year (and didn’t give up his first run until Friday in five starts). Johnson has also tossed a no-hitter this year. He could be another draft choice. Cook has about 20-30 scouts follow them to every game, it’s crazy!!!


April 14th, 2010
1:28 pm

Fool SouthernPride we are not talking about Kaleb Cowart people like you mess up everything.


April 15th, 2010
2:01 pm

There is a kid at Redan named patrick Smith who has all the skills that scouts are looking for. patrick draws scouts to evey game. The only difference between Chevez and Patrick is that Chevez is a switch hitter. Patrick bats and throws let handed. Excellent five-tool player.

david alridge

April 16th, 2010
7:43 am

Enter your comments here

david alridge

April 16th, 2010
7:44 am

Enter your comments here

The kid from Redan is the real deal. He is hitting .500 with 20 + rbs and 5 hrs. This kid has all the tools. Got a cahnce to see if play and he is the real deal.