Clark, who is a feel good story in his own right, was signed as an non-drafted free agent in 2006 out of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and has been in the Orioles organization his entire career. Zach has a nice frame (6'0'' 195lbs) with sound mechanics and all the stuff to be a big league, back end of the rotation starter. If you have a question about any of the Orioles minor league affiliates, just ask Clark as he has played at just about every single one of them, so needless to say he has paid his dues and this offseason, the Orioles finally gave him his due as they selected his contract and placed him on the 40-man roster.
2012 was his best overall season as a professional as he pitched for both the AA Bowie Baysox and the AAA Norfolk Tides. During his time in Bowie, he went 10-5 with a 3.19 ERA in 19 starts and even threw in a nice complete game as well. In 121 1/3 innings pitched in Bow he only allowed eight homers, struck out 66 and was named an All-Star. He also made seven starts with Norfolk and compiled a 5-2 record with a 1.75 ERA, including a complete game three hit shutout on August 31st. Clark accrued 46 1/3 innings pitched with the Tides while striking out 32 and allowing just one home run.
Zack was also kind enough to sit down with Orioles101 for an interview and respond to a few questions for our readers:
Orioles101: First let me just thank you for taking the time to do this for us and I know our readers are going to enjoy this. Congratulations on being placed on the 40-man roster, how big of a deal was that for you when it was announced?
Thank you. Being added to the roster was the best feeling I've had in pro ball. It's the next step in accomplishing my dream.
Orioles101: You had quite a 2012, what sort of adjustments did you make that helped produce your best season as a pro?
I think it was a combination of things. First, I stopped trying to do more…throw harder, nastier pitches. With that, I went back to what got me into pro ball. Command, movement, changing speeds and doing dry work. Then I get to Spring Training and Rick Peterson put his program in place. I really took to his throwing and dry work program. I felt really comfortable. As the season went on, everything got better and I was able to add a slider which helped me in AAA. No major adjustments though. It was more focusing on my strengths and making them better rather than worrying about my short comings.
Orioles101: Very nice, and you really had a good year! What are you working on this offseason?
I'm working on preparing to be strong and healthy for this season. Same things as last year, but a little more consistent.
Orioles101: What are some of your goals heading into Spring Training for 2013?
1) Start healthy and end healthy. 2) Be ready physically and mentally for any opportunity. 3) Executing every pitch I throw the best I can.
Orioles101: Just a couple more for you, did you idolize a certain pitcher when you were growing up?
My favorite player growing up was Delino DeShields. He was from the same town as both my parents. I liked Derek Lowe and Greg Maddux.
Orioles101: There's a name I haven't heard in a while! Last one for you, who wins this year's Super Bowl?
I'd like to see the Ravens win.
Orioles101: Good man! I just want to thank you again for taking the time to do this for us, best of luck in 2013, and hope to see you at the Yard soon!
No problem. Thank you for the opportunity.
Orioles101 would like to thank Zach Clark for taking the time to interview with us and responding to a few questions for our readers. I believe that Clark was placed on the 40-man roster because Baltimore believes that he can fill in nicely as a starter if injuries or struggling pitchers occur. I would be shocked if you do not see Clark make his Major League debut in 2013, and it will be well deserved.
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