Clint Frazier has struggled defensively for the New York Yankees, and those struggles are only part of the young player’s early issues.
It’s one of the most important aspects of a player’s game. It doesn’t find the box score, but it goes a long way in winning a fan base over. A player who stands in front of their locker after a game, whether it resulted in a win or a loss, is something everyone looks towards.
From that, we can get inside the head of a player. We can understand what and how they were thinking during tough plays.
There is no denying the potential the young Frazier has with his quick hands and power bat. All of that was on notice for most of April when he practically carried the Yankees. During this time frame, most of their Opening Day outfield was on the Injured List.
It was nothing but good for the 24-year-old who could do no wrong on the field. But now with the bat not there all the time and the defensive struggles more apparent than ever, Frazier seems to be in his head.
We all know baseball is more of a mental game if anything. However, that shouldn’t stop any player from addressing his defensive miscues following a game.
Every team, especially the Yankees, put their players through extensive media training prior to the start of the regular season. They prepare them for every situation by scripting answers to any questions that may get thrown their way. It’s crucial especially in a market like New York where both fans and media members have the means to press a player on their miscues.
Frazier not addressing the media following his tough night on Sunday makes the errors that much more problematic. It gives the fan base a reason to get on him for focusing on which different cleat he’s wearing on a given night. They won’t have to hear how the player should stay off social media and focus on their game. But what this also allows for is it gives a “what have you done for me yesterday” fan base another reason to ridicule a younger player no matter how much they make up for it with their bat.
What teams and fans are seeking is the type of player who goes out there and holds themselves accountable in the media. They don’t want to hear Luke Voit or Aaron Hicks talk about another player’s mishaps, they want (and deserve) it directly from the person making the error themselves.
Remember, Yankee fans are used to having their beloved heroes show accountability. Think about all the times you’ve seen Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, now Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton standing in front of their lockers following the good or the bad. These are some of the most beloved Yankees of the last two decades. Part of the reason they were so loved is due to them showing the accountability fans and media members are looking for.
We all know Clint Frazier is still a work in progress. The player you see three or five years from now will not be the same player you see today. You know he’s working hard on both sides of the ball. And if you don’t believe it, just look at the videos of him and Judge shagging fly balls in right. Over time he might become an average outfielder with a power bat, we just have to wait and see.
There is no rewind button in life, and if there was, maybe Frazier would hit it to fix a tough night on the field and in the locker room. He’ll get a bit of a pass today, but it cannot become a habit. Because if it does, this city will eat him up.