Yankees OF Clint Frazier revealed that he was still experience concussion-like symptoms during the 2019 season.
To say that Clint Frazier has made massive strides with his glove in 2020 compared to last season would be an understatement.
The Yankees outfielder just seems more sure of himself when it comes to his decision-making, especially coming in on balls, and this has rightfully resulted in manager Aaron Boone being fully confident in deploying him in left field once Aaron Judge (calf) and Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) return from injury.
For as much as Frazier struggled in this facet last year, he never made excuses. As it turns out, however, he had one that was massively impacting his effectiveness in the field. After the Yankees’ win over Baltimore on Sunday, the 26-year-old stud revealed that he was still experiencing symptoms from the concussion he suffered during spring training back in 2018.
“Last year was tough,” Frazier told reporters. “I didn’t speak as much on how much the concussion stuff was bothering me out there. I was having issues with my depth perception. I was having issues with not wanting to run into the wall and have it happen again. I felt symptoms at times last year still, but wanted to play and struggled with it.
“Being over a year out of that or however many years it is now, I feel like I’m kind of back to what I was or a little bit better now. I’m getting really good jumps on the ball. Whether I have to dive for the ball or not, I feel confident out there doing that now, as opposed to in the past when I was a little more gun-shy to dive because of the lingering effects that I had.”
Well, that certainly explains A LOT. It’s understandable why the Yankees kept this a secret for so long, but had it become public information last season, Frazier would have been saved from an avalanche of media scrutiny. Despite all that, the former first-round pick has battled through countless wrongful demotions and came out the other side a more polished and motivated player.
However, you have to think the constant criticism he received for his lack of competence in the outfield was contributing to his struggles. As fearless as Frazier is, nobody likes getting eviscerated by the media, and New York is the poster child for being harsh on athletes.
All told, we are relieved that Frazier is (presumably) no longer experiencing the lingering effects of his concussion. It’s also nice to know that his struggles with the glove had nothing to do with his ability as a player.
With an improved depth perception, Frazier is getting strong reads off the bat and taking excellent routes on hits in the gap, often keeping should-be doubles to singles. Because of that — coupled with his imposing presence in the middle of the lineup, of course — he appears to have locked down an everyday starter’s role.
It really is crazy how much can change in a year.