New York Yankees: What a Shortened Season Means for Bench Players
Where oh where do we start with the Red Storm? Clint Frazier has quickly gone from being a top prospect to a guy that seems to be a bust if not playing the designated hitter position.
Ever since coming into the league, Frazier’s been known for his bat, not his fielding ability.
And his fielding ability took an even bigger toll after he crashed headfirst into the wall back in February of 2017, which left him battling concussion-like symptoms for quite some time.
So I get the hesitation in the field, as it must be in the back of his mind all the time.
Last season, his fielding woes were magnified to the extreme, posting a fielding percentage of .963 in the outfield, recording a .937 fielding percentage in right field.
While that looks really bad, because it is, he was perfect in left field, but only played half his games there with Gardner and Tauchman playing well.
When it came time to head to England for a series showdown with the Boston Red Sox, Frazier was left off the roster for that experience, illustrating where he stood in the organization.
There were rumors he may be dealt at last year’s Trade Deadline, but he survived the day and remained with the Yankees.
Playing a career-high 69 games last season, Frazier was able to improve his batting average only by .02, going from .265 in 2018 to .267 in 2019. What this shows is that he was consistent at the plate, even when adding 54 more games to his playing schedule.
The problem that Frazier will have in a shortened season is getting at-bats given his lackluster fielding. While the American League provides more of an opportunity with the DH position, the Yankees already have a guy, if healthy, named Giancarlo Stanton who will man that position throughout the season. And if he needs a break, the team would rather elect to give someone in the field a break — for example, Gary Sanchez or Aaron Judge, again if healthy — before a guy like Frazier.
Baseball Reference’s simulation has him only appearing in five games so far this season, which backs up the claim I made a line above. He’s possibly the player hurt the most by all these changes.
With no true need for him, it may make sense to move him this season. He has the batting ability, we have seen that. But for a Yankee team where the offense is not the issue, Frazier does not really provide any relief.