Rising prospect is the Brewers perfect insurance policy to Gary Sanchez and Jake Bauers

Wes Clarke is putting himself on the Brewers radar

Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day
Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

There was a bit of a delay between the announcement that the Milwaukee Brewers were signing Gary Sanchez in free agency and the official announcement by the team. The delay was caused by a wrist injury discovered during Sanchez's physical and triggered a renegotiation between the two parties.

However, the Brewers and Sanchez did still strike a deal, albeit for a lower guaranteed amount of $3 million but incentivized to still allow Sanchez to earn as much as the original $7 million Sanchez was reportedly signed for.

Gary Sanchez does have a pretty long career injury history, causing concern for many Milwaukee Brewers fans when the signing was announced, which the Brewers have a couple ways of addressing. Firstly, it looks like Eric Haase, after the injury to Garrett Mitchell, is trending towards making the roster as the backup catcher, meaning Sanchez would be marked for primarily a designated hitter role.

Secondly, the Brewers could look to make a move similarly to bringing up Andruw Monasterio in 2023, by calling up a prospect that isn't at the forefront of fans' minds because he isn't as highly regarded as some of the other players coming up in the minor leagues. That player is Wes Clarke.

Wes Clarke is a 24 year old who can play catcher and first base and could also serve as a backup to Rhys Hoskins if he needs a day off. What makes Clarke the perfect insurance policy to Sanchez is the fact that the man can rake.

In Double-A Biloxi last season, playing for the Shuckers, Clarke socked 26 home runs in 118 games, on a 162 game pace that would translate to almost 36 home runs. Last season, Clarke had an efficient .392 on base percentage and .498 slugging percentage for an .890 OPS.

Gary Sanchez carries a career .799 OPS so when factoring in that Clarke hasn't played above the AA level yet, there is an expectation that his numbers would go down, at least at first. That said, if another injury were to happen to Gary Sanchez, the Milwaukee Brewers have a power hitting specialist in the minor leagues that could make a jump to the major league roster and perform in that DH role while backing up at catcher.

Wes Clarke flashed his power in spring training in 2024, with a 1.027 OPS and hitting four home runs in just 26 at bats. Where he begins 2024 is currently unknown, it could be at Double-A Biloxi or at Triple-A Nashville but no matter what, don't be surprised if you see him in a Milwaukee Brewers uniform in 2024.

The Milwaukee Brewers had 58 players suit up for the major league club in 2023, if the Brewers end up being anywhere close to that number in 2024 it isn't unreasonable to think that Wes Clarke could be one of them.

The biggest hold up currently for Wes Clarke is that he is not on the Milwaukee Brewers 40 man roster. However, should a player like Jake Bauers get off to a slow start to the regular season after having a decent spring in which he a .268 batting average and .375 on base percentage, he could be designated for assignment and Wes Clarke could take his spot as the backup first baseman to Rhys Hoskins and give Pat Murphy another power bat to use off the bench.

Regardless, if the Brewers have some injuries or if there are players who get off to a slow start, Wes Clarke could be a strong insurance option for the Brewers at catcher, first base and designated hitter.