The 26-year-old Clarke, a third-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2015, got an extended look in the club’s staff last year. The D-backs battled injuries to Luke Weaver and Taijuan Walker, and they subtracted Zack Greinke via trade, which helped lead to 23 appearances and 15 starts for Clarke. But Clarke didn’t show especially well in that 84 2/3-inning span, pitching to a 5.31 ERA/6.41 FIP with 7.23 K/9 and 3.19 BB/9. Clarke was worse with Reno, though, as he put up a 6.63 ERA/5.87 FIP and 6.87 K/9 against 4.17 BB/9 over 36 2/3 innings in the offensively charged Pacific Coast League.
Cron, on the other hand, was among the players who thrived the most in the PCL last year. He slashed an otherworldly .331/.449/.777 (good for a 182 wRC+) with 38 home runs 377 plate appearances. The 27-year-old walked nearly as much he struck out in Reno (61 free passes, 77 Ks), but wasn’t able to carry that success to the game’s highest level. While Cron did put his his prodigious power on display as a Diamondback (six home runs, .310 ISO in 78 trips to the plate), a 35.9 percent strikeout rate against a 5.1 percent walk mark had a hand in holding him to an unspectacular .211/.269/.521 line.