Behind Ascanio and Tabata, Clement kind of blended into the background of the game for me. He did have two hits, but they weren’t particularly memorable. Tabata’s really weren’t either, but there’s a difference between a 20-year old in his first Triple-A game and 25-year old that’s in his third season there. This isn’t meant as a knock against him; I was just there to see him do things other than hit tonight. Unlike Tabata, I know Clement can hit Triple-A pitching. Both of his hits were pretty firmly stroked singles and below you can see video of him singling in the first, striking out in the seventh, and lining out sharply to short to end the game in the ninth.
What I was interested in was watching him play first base. To me, he looked a lot like a catcher playing first base. That’s not to say he was awful there; that’s to say that he looked like he was trying very hard to not appear out of place. Maybe the reason it stood out to me was that I made the same position switch at one point in my life and I could see him doing the same things I did. When holding a runner on at first, he squatted extra-low. When taking a pick-off throw from the pitcher, his sweep tag wasn’t nearly as fluid as Adam LaRoche or Steve Pearce. He would catch the ball, almost pause to make sure the ball was in his glove, and then tag instead of doing it all in one motion. Late in the game, there was a smash hit towards him that was about two steps to his right. Like the snap tags, he could’ve made the play in an easy sweeping motion and instead, he kind of jabbed his glove at the ball and ended up missing the line drive.
All of that being said about his fielding, he took throws from the other infielders pretty smoothly and quite honestly, there was nothing that I saw him do that I don’t think would improve with more reps at the position. He’s got very little experience there and while first base isn’t a hard position to play, no position in the field is easy for a catcher to immediately adapt to. The criticism that he won’t fit anywhere in the field seems awfully harsh to me. I think the real question is whether or not his bat will be good enough to support first base.