What Kind of Impact Will Yankees Top Prospect Clint Frazier Have Next Season?

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Jul 10, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; USA outfielder Clint Frazier hits a RBI double in the third inning during the All Star Game futures baseball game at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; USA outfielder Clint Frazier hits a RBI double in the third inning during the All Star Game futures baseball game at PetCo Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /
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Outfielder Clint Frazier is the New York Yankees #1 prospect. A legitimate five-tool talent, he has all the ingredients to become a superstar. Could he be the starting left fielder for the Yankees as soon as 2017?

When the New York Yankees dangled closer Andrew Miller at this year’s trade deadline, they made it known that they wanted a legitimate number one prospect back. So, when they dealt him to the Cleveland Indians, they got just what they wanted, acquiring outfielder Clint Frazier.

He truly lives up to the billing of “hyped up” prospect with scouts saying, “he definitely has power, a middle-of-the-order threat who is going to play well in that park for sure,” and “this is one of the quickest bat speeds I have ever seen.” When he was with in the Indians organization, he was their #2 prospect, behind Bradley Zimmer, another popular name.

He’s obviously been hit hard by the transition from Double-A to Triple-A, as he was a .276 hitter with Double-A Akron. But in 101 at-bat’s with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes/Barre this season, he’s hit a measly .228, with just three home runs and seven RBI’s.

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Certainly these aren’t the most encouraging statistics, but the Yankees knew he wouldn’t produce immediately upon his promotion to Triple-A. Before the trade with Triple-A Columbus, he saw just 21 at-bat’s, reaching base just six times in that span.

While GM Brian Cashman has called his bat speed “legendary”, it’s quite clear that Frazier still needs more seasoning in the minor leagues. It’s obvious that Cashman would like to have him up in the Bronx at some point next season, but it seems a bit of a stretch to say he could be in the Opening Day lineup.

Another obstacle in Frazier’s way is current incumbent, Brett Gardner. The 33-year-old’s name has been floated in trade rumors for almost three years now, but there have been no takers. Unless Gardner is traded or injured, he will remain the starter. 

If Gardy somehow went down with an injury, Frazier wouldn’t even be first in line to replace him. It would most likely be Aaron Hicks or Rob Refsnyder, as they already have valuable MLB experience. 

Considering the time he needs to mature, I’m a bit surprised that the Yankees opted not to send him to the Arizona Fall League to get some extra reps. The organization obviously has high hopes for him, but his most logical call-up date lays somewhere in the middle of the 2017 season.

Next: Yankees Should Look to Add Starter for September

Rest easy though, Yankees fans, Frazier is indeed the future in left field. It won’t be too long until he is a mainstay.

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