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.
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:
“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.”
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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