Brewers' top pick applies old-school approach

Clark's knowledge, hustle and passion for game sets him apart on the field

Brewers' top pick applies old-school approach

PHOENIX -- Trent Clark, the Brewers' first-round pick in the 2015 Draft, is just 18 years young, but ask him about the way he plays the game of baseball and he considers himself more of an old-school guy.

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Clark's high school coach used to watch the Ken Burns documentary "Baseball", prior to every season, and Clark has taken part since his sophomore year.

"It's exciting," Clark said. "I like that aspect of the game, learning about the players who played before. There was nothing pretty about it at all. It was all really personable. It was all about the players, not about what the fans thought, not about what the front office thought.

"Whatever you wanted to do, you did it. It was entertaining."

Clark's knowledge and desire to learn the history of the game may be rare, but it's far from the only thing that sets him apart.

"I struck out [Saturday] and jogged off the field," Clark said. "People said to stop doing that because you don't see anybody in the Big Leagues do it, but I always hustle. Even if I strike out, I'm not going to walk back to the dugout. Anytime I'm on the field, I'm hustling off or hustling on. That part of the game, I'm always going to keep doing."

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While Clark's hustle is generally a good thing, it got him into a bit of trouble Sunday night.

As the center fielder was chasing down a ball in the Arizona Rookie League, he stumbled into the wall, hitting his head.

After lying on the ground for approximately 15 minutes, Clark left Maryvale Baseball Park in a fire truck. The team later learned he had suffered a concussion and is likely to miss a week or two.

Just as the teenager is easily discerned via his hustle, his grip on the bat is also unique.

Clark -- who, in yet another testament to his old school ways bats without batting gloves -- grips the bat with both thumbs up, a style he adopted when he was 14.

Rather than wrapping his thumbs around the bat like most players, Clark points his thumbs toward the barrel and uses them to help guide the bat through the zone.

"I was a weak kid and I held the bat in the back of my hands and it wiggled around a lot," the 6-foot, 205-pound Clark said. "Coach told me one day to put it in the front of my hands and to put my thumbs on the bat for support. I did it a couple times in the game, it felt good. I felt like I had way more control so I stuck with it. Done it ever since."

And so far it seems to be working.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.