Clint Frazier was called up to the Yankees prior to the team’s brief two-game stint in Washington that never ended up happening. It was expected to be a short-term promotion for that particular series, but many were excited for the possibility that he could receive more playing time. Instead, it seemed like he was a simple reinforcement for the bench during interleague play.
However, recent news has caused Frazier faithfuls to breathe a little easier, at least for the time being. For now, it appears Frazier’s stay with the Bombers will not just serve as an interleague Band-Aid.
Boone said Clint Frazier will travel with the Yankees to Kansas City. Could start against the lefty Danny Duffy on SAT and very well could start Sunday against another lefty, Eric Skoglund— Erik Boland (@eboland11) May 16, 2018
This feels like the right move for the Yankees right now. Frazier’s unfortunate concussion early in spring training put to rest any hope of him making the Opening Day roster, and his ensuing recovery from the injury was grueling. Once he was finally healthy again, Frazier began to mash, slugging .702 with three home runs in 12 Triple-A games prior to receiving the call to begin his second major league stint. Frazier was swinging way too hot of a bat to be kept down any longer. Frankly, there are bats at the major league level that have been way too cold to not give Frazier a long look in the outfield.
Almost any production from Frazier at this point would be better than what Aaron Hicks has provided as the everyday center fielder. Hicks is currently batting a lowly .208 on the season, and his numbers against lefties are even worse, as his average against southpaws sits at .115. The struggling Hicks is slugging just .295 in May, and can’t seem to generate any power whatsoever. His wRC+ on pulled balls is a pitiful 22, while his wRC+ with men on base is just 37, with a strikeout rate just over 23-percent. Sure, Hicks plays a solid center field and has an electric arm, but his offense has become a hole in the lineup that Frazier may be able to fill.
Brett Gardner has been swinging the bat better lately after a painfully slow start, and could remain in left field against righties while Frazier patrols center, or vice versa. In the upcoming series against Kansas City, with two lefties scheduled to throw for the Royals, Frazier and Gardner should be in the outfield with Aaron Judge. Yes, Hicks is a switch hitter, but he is lost right now, especially from the right side of the plate. The lefty Gardner and the young and eager Frazier are the better bets.
Frazier shouldn’t be expected to step in a major league batter’s box and continue the same production he was enjoying in Scranton. That’s just not realistic. But given Hicks’ current contributions, or lack thereof, it’s fair to say Frazier will be an immediate upgrade, and deserves to remain with the Yankees for the foreseeable future.