The Yankees have quite the jam in the outfield, but with top prospect Clint Frazier waiting in the wings, what should they do with him?
A nasty concussion during the second game of spring training has kept 23-year-old Clint Frazier (nicknamed Red Thunder) off the diamond to start the 2018 season. The injury, which was at first considered a mild concussion, has sidelined the outfielder for the better part of a month and a half.
The good news is that Frazier has returned to baseball activities and will hopefully join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre soon.
While it wasn’t looking as if Frazier was set to make the Opening Day roster, there’s little doubt that at some point in the 2018 season he’ll get his chance to rejoin the Yankees in the Bronx.
Last season, in his first call up to the big leagues, Frazier struggled at the plate hitting .231 with 43 strike outs in 134 at bats. Regardless, there were many instances in which Frazier gave glimpses of brilliance, which is all you can really expect from a player who wasn’t even 23 yet.
Brian Cashman has always claimed that Frazier has “legendary bat speed” and there were certainly instances in which that proved to be true. There was also a clear issue with his swing, his back foot often would lift mid swing which caused him to be helpless when he was sitting dead red and instead saw an offspeed pitch.
No one is arguing that the former fifth overall pick by the Cleveland Indians has the potential to be a 5-tool outfielder in the big leagues. What is uncertain is where that is going to happen.
Unfortunately for Frazier, this season there is a clear log jam in the outfield for the Yankees, after acquiring Giancarlo Stanton to join Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner, which leads many to believe there is a chance that he could be packaged in a trade around the deadline.
It’s unfortunate that Frazier couldn’t have recovered like first expected from the concussion because with all the early injuries he could have had another opportunity to show off that he can be a cornerstone of the team going forward.
With that being taken into consideration Stanton has shown throughout his career that he has often struggled staying healthy, so one has to believe that Cashman and Boone would prefer to see him DH as often as possible. Combine that with the fact that 34-year-old Brett Gardner is on the last year of his contract and you can begin to see why the Yankees would be wise to hold onto Frazier at least until after the incredibly talented 2018 free agent class makes their decision.
If the Yankees decide its time to let Gardner (who’s the longest tenured Yankee) walk away after the season, then Frazier could very well play left field for the next 10-15 years.