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Yankees Mailbag: Clint Frazier’s trade value, Gio Urshela, Gary Sanchez

The answers to your mailbag have arrived!

Ask Pinstripe Alley

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Friday mailbag. We have four questions today. If I didn’t answer yours, don’t feel bad. I can always get around to it next week. Or, better yet, keep the questions coming!

Brooklyn Pete asks: How much have Clint Frazier’s defensive shenanigans hurt his value as a possible trade piece?

Between the defensive miscues, clubhouse drama, and Dallas Keuchel signing with Atlanta, Frazier has found himself in a number of trade hypotheticals this week. SNY suggested that the Yankees could move him as a centerpiece for a starter, but I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate, at least for a frontline arm. What exactly is Frazier’s value right now?

Think about his profile for a minute. He’s a former top prospect with big tools but hasn’t been able to put them together. He has flashed signs of his skills at the major league level, but appears to have fallen out of favor with his club. Does that sound familiar? It should, because I’m basically describing Aaron Hicks in 2015.

If anything, teams will look at Frazier as a buy-low candidate. I’m not sure if any one factor—defense, makeup, weak on-base skill—diminished his value, but the combination has cost the Yankees leverage. I’m curious to see what he gets moved for, assuming he does get traded. I suspect it won’t be for as much as Yankees fans hoped.

thedozen asks: Any idea why Gio Urshela is suddenly hitting so well in 2019?

Following last night’s win, Urshela is hitting .323/.368./468 with four home runs. That’s a 122 wRC+, or 49 points higher than his career average. With 170 plate appearances to his name, the small sample size caveat has started to wear off. Urshela might not be this good, but he’s not the lineup blackhole he was in Cleveland.

Mike Petriello wrote about how a mechanical change—one suggested by the Yankees—has allowed Urshela to hit the ball with more authority. When one hits the ball as hard as Urshela does, good things happen. Just ask Luke Voit how that worked out for him.

Patrice asks: If Manager of the Year were awarded today, would Aaron Boone run away with the title based on what he’s had to work with and where the Yankees are today?

If the season ended today, Rocco Baldelli would probably win Manager of the Year. The Twins have a commanding 10.5 game lead on the AL Central. Few expected them to contend for a Wild Card spot, let alone look like division runaways. Factor in their impressive run differential and the fact Baldelli is a first-year manager, and there you have it. That’s a Manager of the Year narrative.

Boone, however, would definitely place as a finalist. His work with the B-Bombers has been incredible. I maintain that he doesn’t get enough credit for his leadership during the injury outbreak. He still leaves a lot to be desired with bullpen management, but that will come with experience. Boone would probably finish second, and that’s worthy of appreciation in itself.

Colleen asks: How many homers has Gary Sanchez hit from the catcher position vs. as the DH? Do you think that ratio will be enough to break the single-season record for a catcher?

So far Sanchez has hit 13 of his 19 home runs as a catcher. Javy Lopez owns the single-season record for home runs as catcher with 42 (he hit 43 on the season, but one came in a pinch-hitting appearance.) Right now ZiPS has Sanchez projected for 40 homers on the year, so a little short. One of his patented tears, however, could get him on record pace. It’s probably a bit too early to start a chase, but this is now something worth keeping an eye on.