I hope Clint Frazier enjoyed his 2018 debut, because it’ll be at least a little while longer before he sees regular time in MLB. After knocking off the Royals Sunday afternoon, the Yankees optioned Frazier back to Triple-A, where he’ll rejoin the Scranton Railriders.
Frazier looks to be a victim of a numbers crunch, rather than the demotion being a reflection of his performance. Greg Bird is due to return any day now, and with his upcoming activation, someone will need to be knocked off the active roster. All the other possible options for clearing the final spot on the 25-man didn’t work out, and Clint got left out in the cold.
Tyler Austin is hitting far too well to think about sending him down. After hitting two home runs today against the Royals, he should get serious consideration in any platoon situation even when Bird rejoins the team. Ronald Torreyes’ spot with the MLB squad is set, since the team needs a backup shortstop. There’s also Neil Walker, who is obviously out of options. The old rule of thumb states that a player without options takes precedence over one with options, and that was borne out again in this case.
The overly crowded Yankee outfield also did Frazier no favors. Aaron Hicks has rebounded nicely from a slow start. Even if he hadn’t, Hicks seems to have commanded the faith of the front office. Nobody else who sees time in the outfield was going to be moved, leaving Frazier the only option — no pun intended.
Frazier returns to Triple-A, where he’s had an explosive start to 2018 since returning from a concussion. He boasts an 1.125 OPS, good for a 219 wRC+ in the International League. There are still real holes in his game, like his plate discipline, that give him things to work out in the minors before he can be considered an every day option for the Yankees. Still though, New York’s outfield is not exactly a paragon of good health historically, and if Frazier keeps hitting in Scranton, he’ll eventually find his way back into pinstripes.
The Yankees have yet to announce a corresponding move to fill the open spot on the 25-man roster. We’ll have more as it develops.