With both Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge on the shelf currently with their own ailments, the New York Yankees seemingly cannot shake the injury bug that has seemingly been following them since the beginning of last season. And with their outfield ranks a bit thin at this time, a much-maligned big prospect may finally get his chance to show the rest of the league why they should come and get him – Clint Frazier.
Besides both Stanton and Judge, the likes of starting pitchers James Paxton and Luis Severino are hurt at this time too, with Severino out for the rest of the 2020 regular season due to needing Tommy John surgery. The Yankees’ starting rotation is a much larger mess than that of what their outfield depth looks like on the depth chart, but their outfield may lead to more issues as the season progresses.
As it currently stands, the Yankees starting outfield would consist of Gardner, and some combination of Mike Tauchman, Aaron Hicks, Tyler Wade, and Frazier, which is far from a frightening lineup of outfielders. But, the team could do much worse, and Frazier would be a smart play by manager Aaron Boone in an attempt to hold on until either Stanton or Judge was able to make it back to being able to play.
His break into the MLB was slowed down, unfortunately, by not enough playing time and a costly injury. Frazier has only suited up for 123 total games at the MLB level, and while he presence has been decently important for New York in these games, he had such a bigger purpose to serve for New York, which is a shame, especially with the kind of bad luck he has had.
2019 was his best year in the majors, having hit 12 long balls and driven in 38 runs in a limited showing for the team, in what seemed like the time that he was finally hitting his break out point. But unfortunately for Frazier, a left ankle sprain sidelined him for a bit in May, and even when he came back, Frazier was up and down from the minors a bit, which made it very difficult to develop any sort of consistency at the big-league level.
In 2020, Frazier would easily become a wild card for Boone to roll out at certain times, whether it be in the starting lineup out in right field to deal with the short porch, or as a late-game substitution to add some speed and defensive abilities to the lineup for the Bronx Bombers. Frazier would most likely be contending with both Tauchman and Hicks for starting time, but a factor working in Frazier’s favor is the fact that he is the lone right-handed hitter out the three, which could help steady his spot in a lineup or in a situation that has a shutdown southpaw in the game late.
Obviously, there is no guarantee that Frazier’s role will be increased even with the injuries to both Stanton and Judge, but it is quite obvious that the Yankees would be smart to give him a shot while not needing to take any playing time away from others to do it.
If the Yankees were sold on trying to squeeze the most value out of Frazier as possible, then giving him more playing time while driving up the value of him in a trade would be a key turning point in their pennant race. To try and acquire a stout starting pitcher or outfielder that could immediately slide into the Yankees’ starting lineup, Frazier may finally become the focal piece of a deal that he has seemingly been rumored to be included in for a long time coming.