Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Here's how Clint Frazier can make a difference during this absurd spate of Yankee injuries, a bleak streak that claimed both Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar on Monday:
Show off that "legendary bat speed" and smack a few big hits. Realize that big potential, which would at least change the conversation around the team, however briefly.
We're certainly going to find out a thing or two about "Red Thunder," since Aaron Boone says Frazier is "going to get some good opportunities" with Stanton out. Perhaps he can provide a much-needed distraction with so much of the thunder in the lineup hurting.
Frazier was not in the starting lineup Monday evening when the Yankees began a three-game series with the Tigers. But he figures to get regular at-bats for awhile with Stanton being shut down for at least the next 10 days and then starting a rehab progression to come back from a left biceps strain.
"Hopefully, we get him back at some point this month," Boone said of Stanton. Andujar was put on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain, replaced on the roster by Tyler Wade.
Frazier and that phrase -- "legendary bat speed" -- has trailed Frazier since a giddy Brian Cashman tagged him with it in the afterglow of the prospect-rich 2016 deal when the Yankees sent Andrew Miller to Cleveland. But that bat speed has not meant an instant ascension to the majors for Frazier.
Injuries and a lack of performance or opportunity have kept Frazier from a permanent big-league gig, though he has 54 games of MLB experience over the past two seasons.
He may have had a shot to make the Yankees this spring, but he batted only .143 in 18 games with a .473 OPS, and was sent down during camp. Boone wondered if Frazier was trying to do too much coming off a concussion last year that wrecked his 2018 season.
In a small 2018 sample size because of the concussion, Frazier at least delivered some results. He had a .963 OPS and a .311 average in 48 games at Triple-A. In 15 games in the majors last year, the 24-year-old Frazier had a slash line of .265/.390/.353.
"It's the opportunity I wanted last year," Frazier said of his chance now. "Unfortunately, I was going through my own injuries, so I didn't get the opportunity. I'm feeling the best I have at the plate in a long time. Those last couple of days in Tampa will be very beneficial for me to come up here and make the most of it."
The Yankees have been socked with injuries so far, with vital cogs such as Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius, Andujar and Stanton on the 10-day injured list. For all the times Jacoby Ellsbury has been a pinstriped punchline because of injuries, he'd actually be a helpful roster addition right now. But he's hurt, too.
Those who wanted the Yankees to sign Bryce Harper over the winter are probably readying their "I told you so" speeches with Stanton shelved. Frazier making a quick big-league impact might help quiet that buzz, as well as some of the worry about the injuries.
From the way Boone spoke, the Yankees believe. The manager said he had several lengthy conversations with Frazier this spring, telling the outfielder, "You're going to play a part with us this year. You have a chance to be a really good player in this league for a long time and nothing's changed there. Don't hurry and go, 'I gotta get off to this amazing start.' Go play and get better at your craft.
"I feel like he's in a really good place coming up here right now."
It's up to Frazier to take advantage of this chance. The Yankees could sure use something other than injuries to talk about.