McClure continues the process of molding his potential
The Cleveland Indians have placed a stronger focus in recent years to draft more athletes that can play in the middle of the diamond.
One such example of this is the selection of outfielder D’Vone McClure in the 4th round of last year’s draft. At 19-years of age and 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, he has the body, size, and athleticism that make scouts drool over his potential. Oh yeah, and he also oozes all kinds of tools as he shows an advanced feel for hitting at his age, has some developing power, runs well, and continues to improve as a defender.
While McClure and the Indians sweated out the negotiation process last summer, he eventually signed for a little over $300,000 and got right to work playing the game he loves.
“It was a hard choice [passing on a commitment to play for the University of Arkansas], but it was a blessing to get drafted as it does not happen to a lot of people,” McClure said. “I am really honored to be chosen so I am just really working hard at it. I have always wanted to play professional baseball so I decided to get my career started a little early and forego the college process. I have been given a chance so now it is up to me to do what I need to do to get to the big leagues.”
McClure was a two-sport star in high school earning high praise not just for his abilities on the baseball diamond, but on the gridiron in football as well. He was recruited heavily to play football in college, and it made the decision to forego college even tougher.
“I was actually recruited a little heavier in football,” McClure said. “I had a lot of offers from colleges for football. It really was a hard decision, and if I went to college I probably would have played both. I started playing football when I was four and baseball when I was eight, so I have always loved football.”
But for as much success as McClure had as a football player and how much he loved it, he just loves baseball a little more.
“I love the contact in football and how fast the sport is, but baseball is where my heart is,” McClure explained. “I had my mind made up a long time ago that I wanted to play baseball. When I am around a baseball environment I am very comfortable. Baseball is what I want to do and what I am working so hard at every day to get better.”
Since being drafted and signing almost a year ago, McClure has established himself as one of the Indians top prospects. Not so much by his performance on the field, but because of his raw, natural talent and the unlimited potential he has and the player he could be some day.
McClure made his pro debut last season with the rookie level Arizona Summer League Indians and hit .211 with 1 home run, 12 RBIs, 2 stolen bases and .594 OPS in 24 games. The performance was not very impressive or noteworthy, but a lot of times with young players at that level the focus is more on the process and tools than on the results.
In football the athleticism and ability often shows itself right away; however, in baseball it takes time to bring it all together because it is such a refined sport. A player can have all the physical talents in the world, but it takes time for the results to show.
McClure understands that to develop into the baseball player he wants to be that it is a process and he needs to be patient with his development.
“I feel like even from the Arizona League to Instructional League to now, a lot of stuff is coming together,” McClure said. “I feel like I am getting better quickly. The hands-on [with the coaches] down here [in Arizona] is the biggest thing as it helps me a lot. It is the simplicity to it as they don’t make it complex at all. They describe it in an easy way so you can understand it easily. I am always down for getting coaching and always looking to get better.”
McClure worked hard in the offseason to get stronger and add some more flexibility as he was a little stiff from his training for football. He is currently working on shoring up his daily routine, something he takes great pride and care in.
“I am working on putting a routine together,” McClure said. “I have always been a routine guy. I feel like routines get me ready to play the game more than anything. Some guys can just walk in and go play, but I just feel more comfortable and I am more focused and am ready to play once I have done everything in my routine.”
McClure is currently in Arizona participating in the Indians extended spring training program. He is playing in games and doing the daily workouts needed to get better and prepare for the start of short season leagues which kick up in mid-June.
It remains to be seen if McClure will stay in Arizona and play for the rookie level summer league team there or if he will venture to Ohio for the first time and play for Single-A Mahoning Valley. But, where he goes or where he plays this season is not a concern for him.
“I am just playing ball,” McClure said. “Wherever I am at I am just going to play ball. That’s all I want to do.”
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