It has been a rough week for the New York Yankees in terms of injuries as Starlin Castro went on the disabled list Tuesday and Dustin Fowler tore his patella tendon going for a ball on Thursday night. With Fowler out for the season, New York needed another outfielder and they are calling up arguably their best outfield prospect.
Last night, George King III of the New York Post reported and Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times tweeted that Clint Frazier will be with the Yankees tonight when they play in Minute Maid Park against the Houston Astros.
With the Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders, Frazier had a slash line of .257/.345/.474 with 12 home runs and 42 RBI’s. His 19 doubles this year are top five in the International League and he was tied with Fowler for the team lead. At the beginning of the season, John had Frazier ranked as the number two prospect in the Yankees system. Here is what he said:
“Had some contact problems at the higher level; renowned since high school for incredible bat speed and fast-twitch muscular build; a beast when his hitting mechanics are working well but batting eye is erratic and he can be streaky; runs and throws well enough to be an average center fielder but would be above-average if used at a corner; upside is .280, 20+ homer hitter but for that to happen he’ll need to make more progress against breaking stuff.”
When you break down Frazier’s swing, he is very quick to the ball and his bat speed is off the charts. Earlier this season, I was watching Scranton take on Syracuse and Frazier absolutely crushed a pitch over the wall in left field against now Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross.
According to MLB Farm, Frazier has hit 11 of his 12 home runs this year to left or left center. The power is there, but one thing Frazier needs to cut down is the strikeout rate. His 68 K’s this season are second on the Railriders team this year and is at 21.3% on his strikeout rate this year (Fangraphs).
Back in 2013, the Cleveland Indians selected Frazier with the fifth pick in the MLB Draft. He would get as far as Triple-A before Cleveland traded him to the Yankees along with three other pitching prospects for Andrew Miller, who has been excellent for the Indians.
Last year, when I was hosting the Yanks Go Yard Radio Show, I talked with Brad Bournival of the Akron-Beacon Journal, who covered Frazier when he was with the Akron Rubberducks (Double-A). Brad told me at the time that he’s “hard nosed and he wouldn’t be surprised if he had a 15-year career.”
It will be interesting to watch how the Yankees use Frazier in the outfield. With Scranton, he has played only left and right field, but he does have experience in center field. He could play center when Jacoby Ellsbury needs a day off or he could play any of the corner positions to give Brett Gardner or Aaron Judge time off or designated hitter at-bats.
Regardless of how long Frazier is with the big league club, his call up continues the youth movement for a team with one of the best farm systems in baseball. Now, it will be time to see if the hype around him as one of the best prospects in baseball translates to the big league level.