For the past couple of seasons, New York Yankees prospect Clint Frazier has emerged as a top-tier trade chip. This year, that might not be the case for Red Thunder.
Well, that dream quickly dissipated when Giancarlo Stanton was acquired during the 2017 offseason. Frazier barely got time to show his battery of skills before the outfield became more crowded than Monument Park prior to game time at the Stadium.
Knowing the plethora of outfielders the Yankees have, they brought him up last season to fill in some holes but also showcase his potential to the rest of the league. Frazier showed some spark, blasting four home runs in 134 at-bats at the major league level in 2017. So far, his time in 2018 has been short, due to his early concussion and his return during the Yankees’ red-hot span of games.
Now, Frazier is back in Triple-A and absolutely tearing the cover off the ball since coming back from his concussion. Frazier has played in 20 games with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and has posted a .350 batting average with four home runs and seven RBI. Oh, and he has four stolen bases.
Frazier is lighting up Scranton and with this kind of dominance, how can the Yankees even consider using him as a trade chip when the outfield is likely to have some openings in it next season?
Brett Gardner is on the wrong side of 30 and has shown signs of slowing down with his .240 batting average and 39 strikeouts thus far. Aaron Hicks isn’t exactly having a brilliant year. The Yankees took on that mega contract of Stanton and Aaron Judge is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Jacoby Ellsbury…well, chances are he’ll be hurt until he retires.
I could definitely see the Yankees refusing to pick up Gardner’s option come season’s end, mostly due to his age and declining performance. Hicks is signed until 2018 and will become arbitration-eligible in 2019. That leaves a slot wide open for Frazier to sneak in.
While his talent could certainly attract some big names on the starting pitching market, he could also serve as an outfielder for years to come in the Bronx. He’s already shown that he can handle the spotlight that’s been on him, overcoming media reports with grace.
So the choice comes should he stay or should he be shuffled off in favor of a big-name free agent? While it could go either way, Frazier has already started to prove that he deserves at least a fair shot at winning the open spot.
The potential for Frazier is incredibly high and if the Yankees decide to ship him off, they are missing out on something great. Clearly he’s got the swing and the clutch gene to make it big in the Bronx.
Frazier has worked hard and that insane training he did during the offseason paid off. It seemed like he could potentially get a starting spot right out of spring training but the veterans won that battle. Frazier was sent to get more playing time in the minors.
Well, it’s safe to say that he’s ready to graduate. Triple-A pitching is no longer a challenge for him, as he continues to destroy the baseball every chance he gets. While it is tempting to trade him, patience is the key.
Once the season is over, there will be availability for the kid with the quick hands and it will be worth it to keep him.
In a just a few weeks, Frazier went from being a top-tier trade chip to an outfielder the Yankees could mold for a future dynasty. I’ll keep it simple: there is only one option. Clint Frazier is the future of the Yankees outfield alongside Aaron Judge.