MILWAUKEE (AP) Brewers first-round draft pick Trent Clark has quite the grip on hitting.
The 18-year-old high school senior from Richland, Texas, uses a golf-style grip at the plate, with thumbs positioned up along the bat. The outfielder said the unusual technique helps him with balance and bat control. A team scout said it's a bit unique.
Whatever Clark is doing is working - the left-hander hit .552 with three homers and 24 RBIs this season. He stole 11 bases.
With the big league team struggling, there was some thought Milwaukee might look to draft a college player to get more immediate help.
Clark's swing and potential at the plate ended up being too much to pass up. The Brewers took him with the 15th overall pick Monday night.
''We're pretty excited about getting a real professional hitter. That's something we felt we've lacked in our system recently,'' general manager Doug Melvin said.
Clark's hands helped him stand out.
Brewers scout Steve Riha said Clark's grip reminds him of the one used by former major league slugger Moises Alou.
Clark called it a ''golf grip without fingers crossing the bat.'' He has used it since he was 13, when he said he was weaker. The adjustment helped Clark develop more bat control.
''And ever since then I've used it,'' he said.
Even though Clark is stronger now at 6-foot and 200 pounds.
''It's kind of an old-school kind of thing,'' Riha said. ''It's unique, but maybe that's what everybody else should be trying. The way this kid hits, he's a natural hitter.''
The Brewers took Virginia left-hander Nate Kirby with the 40th overall pick. The junior is 5-2 with a 2.28 ERA in 10 starts.
Milwaukee had one more pick in the second round to complete its first day of the draft.