Posted on July 1, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
The injuries won’t stop piling up for the New York Yankees. In the last week alone, the Yankees have sent Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, Matt Holliday, Tyler Austin, and Dustin Fowler to the DL. The silver lining is that the Bronx Bombers have a deep farm system to go for reinforcements. That’s exactly what the Yankees will do Saturday when they promote outfield prospect Clint Frazier, according to multiple reports.
According to MLB.com, Frazier is New York’s second best prospect, behind only shortstop sensation Gleyber Torres. He’s also ranked as the 17th best prospect in all of baseball. The Yankees acquired Frazier last summer when they traded Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians.
When the Yankees needed outfield help earlier this week, they chose to promote Fowler, another well-regarded prospect, over Frazier. However, Fowler suffered a devastating knee injury during his first inning as a big leaguer. That injury has forced the Yankees to once again dip into their farm system for an outfielder. This time they selected Frazier, who will make his big league debut Saturday against the Houston Astros.
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In 73 games at triple-A this year, Frazier is hitting .257 with an OPS of .819. The 22-year old has contributed 12 home runs and 19 doubles. He has played both left and right field this year, mostly to accommodate Fowler in center field. However, Frazier spent much of his minor league career before this season in center field.
“The young man is a talented kid,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Frazier on Friday. “He has the ability to play offense and defense. He has power. He’s made adjustments to his game. He was not overwhelmed in Spring Training. Sometimes you worry about kids being overwhelmed in their first big league Spring Training, but he was not.”
Girardi adds that upon coming to the big leagues, Frazier is likely to receive regular playing time, much like Fowler would have had he not been injured.
“If you’re going to bring up a player that is really an everyday player and you foresee as an everyday player in the future, you’re going to play him pretty often,” Girardi said.
The question now becomes where Frazier will play. Despite the injury to Hicks, the Yankees still have three everyday outfielders in Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Aaron Judge. All three will be difficult to sit in favor of a rookie, even one as talented as Frazier.
However, with Holliday, Austin, and Greg Bird all on the DL, the Yankees are having trouble finding players at first base the DH spot. The Yankees may start to rotate one of their outfielders into the DH spot on a regular basis, opening up a spot for Frazier. Judge, in particular, has began to spend more time at DH over the past week, indicating that Frazier may be New York’s right fielder most days.
Not surprisingly, the Yankees struggled for most of June amidst a rash of injuries. The Bronx Bombers have been usurped atop the AL East standings by the Red Sox. However, the Yankees still hold the top wild-card spot in the American League.
The club desperately needs to stabilize itself while waiting for some of its injured players to return. They’re currently relying on a slew of young players to help them through this difficult stretch. The hope is that a top prospect like Frazier can step right in and contribute, as the Yankees look to weather their injury-riddled storm and get back on track.