Not a year into his tenure with the New York Yankees, Clint Frazier, one of the game’s top prospects, has brought plenty of attention to himself, generating a mini furor with his infamous red mane (that eventually prompted a haircut) before allegedly asking if his storied franchise would “un-retire” Mickey Mantle’s No. 7 for him.
It’s his bat, however, that has really enthralled Joe Girardi of late.
According to the Yankees manager, who watches most of Frazier’s at-bats with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the brazen 22-year-old – boasting an .813 OPS in the International League while playing against guys nearly five years older than him, on average – could be in the Bronx sooner than later.
“I think he is getting pretty close,” Girardi recently told ESPN’s Andrew Marchand.
The prized acquisition in last July’s blockbuster deal that sent Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians, Frazier, the fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft, admitted he wasn’t “prepared for the attention” that came with being traded, but the toolsy outfielder continues to prove he was ready for Triple-A after scuffling through his first 30 games in the International League last year.
Frazier, who possesses “legendary” bat speed, according to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, owns a 120 wRC+ through 70 games with the RailRiders, and is one of just five players age 22 or younger to rank among the league’s top-20 in that category.
“I’ve heard nothing but positives,” Cashman said.
At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be a spot for Frazier in New York, where Girardi would already be dealing with an outfielder surplus if not for a recent injury to Aaron Hicks. The Yankees don’t have a vacant spot on their 40-man roster right now, either, meaning someone has to be designated for assignment (or transferred to the 60-day disabled list) in order to call Frazier up.
Things change quickly, though. After all, before the season started, Frazier was a higher-ranked prospect than Aaron Judge.
“I thought I was well-rounded before, but I learned,” Frazier said. “I’m trying to become more than just a baseball player. In a lot of ways, I’ve learned a lot of lessons.”