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Could the Yankees’ Clint Frazier be the next Mitch Haniger?

With all the Yankee injuries piling up, a few players have the chance to impress. Clint Frazier is one of them.

MLB: New York Yankees at Houston Astros Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees’ injured list keeps growing by the day. The latest victim is Gary Sanchez, just another one of the power hitters to go down to the current wave of inescapable injuries. The Bombers’ depth is being tested more than ever. Giovanny Urshela might see the most plate appearances in his career since having 288 in 2015 with Cleveland, Clint Frazier is getting the opportunity he missed last season while he was down with concussion symptoms, and the first base competition ended with Luke Voit or Greg Bird batting right in the middle of the lineup.

While so many Yankees are currently injured, it’s a good chance to find out who might stick in the majors. Players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, and Gleyber Torres have all proven what they can do and now some of the others get a chance to prove themselves. At first base we will learn if Luke Voit can repeat his production or if Greg Bird can finally recapture his 2015 magic. Urshela is getting time that we might have thought would go to Tyler Wade after all these injuries, but he could eventually take a role similar to what Ronald Torreyes had. Then there’s Frazier in the outfield. Now is the time for him to make it clear to the Yankees that he should be there after Brett Gardner’s departure.

The Yankees have a depleted offense, and someone needs to step up and showcase their skills. So far, Frazier has shown at least a glimmer of hope, but what might he be able to contribute? In order to find some MLB comps, I looked at the average launch angle and exit velocity of every player since the 2017 season when Frazier first came into the league. After making the initial list of players who compare to Frazier once the ball is put into play, I narrowed the search by looking at players who have similar plate discipline to him as well. These were the two players I found to be the most similar to Frazier:

Clint Frazier Comps

Player Avg Launch Angle Avg Exit Velo BB% K% BABIP ISO O-Swing% Z-Swing%
Player Avg Launch Angle Avg Exit Velo BB% K% BABIP ISO O-Swing% Z-Swing%
Chris Taylor 13.9 ° 87.5 MPH 9.20% 27.30% 0.346 0.197 24.30% 69.50%
Clint Frazier 12.9 ° 88.5 MPH 6.10% 29.40% 0.326 0.209 24.20% 70.70%
Mitch Haniger 12.2 ° 89.1 MPH 8.90% 22.30% 0.336 0.212 25.00% 60.50%
Statcast and Fangraphs

Both Mitch Haniger and Chris Taylor are important members of their teams, and if Frazier could give the Yankees a season even close to either one of them it would be a success. Haniger finished last season with 4.6 WAR and is now one of the few players to survive Jerry Dipoto’s offseason that saw plenty of core Mariners traded to New York. Chris Taylor finished 2018 with 3.1 WAR. To put those numbers into perspective, if Frazier were to produce 3.0 WAR this season, that would put him just over Miguel Andujar’s 2.7 WAR rookie season.

There are no promises that Frazier can live up to these numbers, but the lineup sure could use the boost. Every season there is new player with a breakout performance (e.g. Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, Luke Voit) and this just might be Frazier’s year.