In it’s final list of positional rankings for prospects heading into 2017, MLB named Clint Frazier the ninth best outfield prospect in baseball. Bear in mind, this is the ranking for ALL outfielders (LF, CF, and RF), so a ninth spot ranking on this list holds more weight than it would for other positions. You could almost look at it as being in the top 3 at a given outfield position (Frazier used to play primarily in center bus has since switched to the corner outfield spots). Anyway, that’s all just semantics. The point is Frazier is good, and on top of that he’s really close to seeing some MLB playing time. Here’s how he graded out:
Hit: 50 | Power: 60 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55
Frazier is highly touted as a 5 tool player, and these numbers back that up. He’s considered average to above average in every single part of his game. At first glance these grades might not jump out as much as someone like Jorge Mateo with his 80 run grade, but players like this are rare. Frazier can do it all.
Frazier was drafted 5th overall in the 2013 draft by the Indians and then subsequently traded this past July to the Yankees in the package of prospects they received for Andrew Miller (which also included LHP Justus Sheffield). He spent the majority of last season in AA ball, where he slashed .276/.356/.469 with a wOBA of .371 (very good), and then finished the season with a short stint in AAA for both the Indians and the Yankees.
Throughout his minor league career, Frazier has been known to generate high strikeout rates and low walk rates, but his raw power and lightning bat speed are what make him an exceptional hitter. You can teach plate discipline, but you can’t teach those things. As the MLB scouting report notes, “He’s still just 22 and has time to make further adjustments that could help him hit for a solid average with 30 homers per season.”
We will undoubtedly get a closer look at Frazier in pinstripes this spring as a spring training invitee, so that’s something to watch for in March. The Yankees are fairly deep at OF as of right now, but Frazier is the type of player you move guys around for, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a late season call up this year for him to get some big league at bats.
Now with all of the rankings revealed, the Yankees finished with five players total in all of the positional top ten charts. To recap, these players were: LHP Justus Sheffield (#8), 3B Miguel Andujar (#7), SS Gleyber Torres (#1) and SS Jorge Mateo (#8), and now OF Clint Frazier (#9).
At the end of the day they’re just prospects, but this is really great for the Yankees. The only team to have more top 10 prospects than the Yankees was the Braves (7), with the White Sox and the Phillies both also rounding out with five players a piece. These are all top farm systems, and it’s (unusually) great for the Bombers to be ranked among them for once. They’ve got the star power and they’ve got the depth. Let’s see how it all plays out.