Clint Frazier is finally a regular in the Yankees lineup. It’s about time the front office says – “We’re going with Clint” – a la Gary Sanchez.
Clint Frazier has been inserted in the Yankees lineup for the last thirteen games. Whether by default (injuries and the poor play of Brett Gardner and Mike Tauchman) or not, Frazier, always the odd man out, is in and producing.
Most Yankees fans are familiar with the odyssey accompanying Clint Frazier‘s journey to reach this point as one of several false starts and almost always empty hearts.
Obtained in a trade with the Cleveland Indians that also brought Justus Sheffield and Ben Heller to the Yankees for the best reliever in the game at the time (2016), Andrew Miller, Clint Frazier came to New York as a raw 22-year-old first-round Indians draft choice.
Quickly recognized as the “quickest bat I’ve ever seen” by Brian Cashman, Frazier, it was assumed only needed to ripen and fine-tune his talent in the minors before bursting on the scene in the Yankees lineup.
Clint Frazier: Fumbles And Interceptions
Anyway, that was the plan—a good one, except for two things that emerged to quell the anticipation on both sides.
First, Clint Frazier was blocked in the Yankees outfield by Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton. Remember, this was a time (2017-2019) when Gardner was not in decline, while Judge and Stanton were still projected to be injury-free “any day now.”
The second setback came with Clint Frazier’s inability to stop shooting himself in the foot.
Seen as a series of incidents, Frazier displayed arrogance (the I want Mickey’s Number 7 thing) and immaturity (the hell no, I won’t cut my hair – and the three-day trip to nowhere before finally reporting to Triple-A Scranton when was sent down last year
Combined, it gave the Yankees multiple reasons, not including Clint Frazier’s much-celebrated woes defensively, to almost always shun him whenever an opportunity for a call-up arose.
When the injury virus hit the Yankees last year, and again this year, Clint Frazier was called up only as the depth of the team dwindled.
But between the two years, Clint Frazier, in 300 at-bats (roughly half of a full regular season), has 17 home runs and 54 RBI, along with a respectable .270 batting average.
Moreover, Baseball-Reference projects that Frazier’s 162-game average would produce 23 home runs and 80 RBI a season. Given the numbers above, that seems to be a relatively sober estimate.
Ironically, Clint Frazier is also proving to be adequate in the field. He’s made only one error this year, and his higher-rel run-saving stats are now on the plus side. (video)
Clint Frazier And The Gary Sanchez Treatment
What do you imagine would happen if the Yankees gave Clint Frazier a good dose of the TLC treatment they have afforded Gary Sanchez for the past three years?
Confidence, in any professional sport, and especially in a game like baseball that is built on failure, goes a long way when it comes from the suits in the front office.
What can it hurt at this point, because it’s the truth anyway if Aaron Boone were to casually mention during one of his daily press briefings:
“Clint Frazier is doing an outstanding job for us, and it comes at a time when we need him most. And from where I sit, I consider Clint to be my regular left fielder from here on in, and next year as well.”
Yes, next year as well. Brett Gardner, sad but true, has reached the end of the line, and unless the Yankees throw him a bone next year as the team leader in the clubhouse, left field is wide open for a changing of the guard.
I’m not a psychologist, but I know what I see. I suspect that nearly all of Frazier’s immaturity in the past is due to a lack of confidence and the belief that “he didn’t belong.” Frazier admitted as much himself earlier this spring.
Clint Frazier needs a jolt from the outside that tells him he does belong on the Yankees. They’ve tried it with Sanchez to no avail.
What can it hurt if Boone and the Yankees players go to bat for Frazier in the same way they are now for Sanchez, who is amid his long-overdue benching?
Four years after Clint Frazier was heralded for quick bat, it’s still there. But to be effective, he can’t be an every other day player.
It looks like Aaron Boone is quietly introducing Frazier into the Yankees everyday lineup.
Now, how about a Gary Sanchez like push that follows to help make it permanent?