New York Yankees: Clint Frazier wants to be an “impact player”

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Clint Frazier
Jun 23, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier (77) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankee’s Clint Frazier is about to realize a dream eight years in the making. Next Thursday, April 1, Frazier will suit up to be the starting left-fielder for the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, and that’s no April fools joke. Clint Frazier has battled poor defense, poor attitude, and the Yankee shuttle, but now with his determination and a little mentoring from Brett Gardner, he’s a new man, a major leaguer.

In the short 60 game season last year, a new, more mature Frazier showed up. He also had amazingly become a Gold Glove Award nominee. He was so good that manager Aaron Boone made him a daily part of the lineup in the second half. Now with all that behind him and an Opening Day job, Frazier has set his sights on new goals, to become an impact player and an All-Star. There is no question that he has the talent, and possibly playing every day, he could become a superstar.

“The goal is to be an impact player, one that shows what I can finally do over the course of 162 games,” Frazier said in a Zoom call with reporters. “I have goals in my head of what I want to accomplish and I do think that they’re pretty fair goals. If I accomplish those, I do think that there’s a good chance that I could find myself on the All-Star ballot if I produce the way that I hope that I can.”

The New York Yankees always knew that his quick swing and ability to hit both for contact and power highlighted his talent. But, for Frazier, his poor play in the field has dogged him throughout his career. His maturity was also a factor. Last season a new 26-year-old, more mature Frazier, showed up at summer camp. But even that didn’t help as he was to start the season at the alternate site. Due to need, the Yankees called him up on August 12th. In his first game, he went 3 for 4 with a monster home run. Frazier continued to play like a star with much-improved field play, making diving catch after diving catch. Late in the month, manager Aaron Boone rewarded him a permanent place in the lineup.

Frazier continued his excellent play into the postseason, going 2 for 7 with a 286 batting average and a 1.000 OPS and a homer to his name. Those two months of play have cemented him as a part of future Yankee teams and a player too talented to use in the trade market. To discover how Clint reached this plateau, let’s start from the beginning.

Clint Frazier was born on September 6, 1994, in Loganville, Georgia. He is of Scot descent and played baseball in the Loganville high school’s baseball team’s outfield. He played well, and in his senior year, he batted .485 with 17 home runs and 45 RBI’s. He was even named the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year.

Clint doesn’t have to borrow a dollar for a coke; he was given a 3.5 million signing bonus with the Cleveland Indians, being selected fifth in the 2013 draft. He decided to sign with the Indians instead of attending college at the University of Georgia. After the signing, he was sent to Arizona to play with the minor league team there. In his first game, he hit a triple and a home run. In 2014 he played for their Class A team, the Captains of the mid-west league. He batted .266 with 13 home runs in 120 games.

Frazier’s big break came in July of 2016 when the Indians traded Clint to the Yankees in a multi-trade that got the Indians, Andrew Miller. Clint was assigned the triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders. In 2017 Clint played in 73 games for the Rail Riders amassed 42 RBI’s, a batting average of .257 with 12 home runs. He played only 73 games because he was called up to the stadium on July 1st of 2017. As he is called, Big Red or Red Thunder enamored himself to Yankee fans on July 8th, when he hit his first career walk-off home run, giving the Yankees a win over the Brewers.

During June of 2019, all Clint Frazier did was hit. In fact, he hit .320 with four multi-hit games. Despite his hot hotting, Frazier was controversial as he failed at times in the field, and then there was the episode when he failed to answer questions about his poor fielding. When Edwin Encarnacion was traded to the Yankees from Seattle, the Yankees decided that rankled many but sent Frazier down to Scranton. Frazier then further damaged his reputation by tweeting snarky comments about the Yankees and removing everything Yankee from social media. Many consider those actions quite immature and be a real Yankee; he needed to grow up.

Last year in spring training and the delayed summer camp, a new, more mature Clint Frazier had appeared.  He played well behind the plate and in the field during the training camps.  After baseball restarted after the coronavirus shutdown, Frazier was the only player elected to play in the field and at-bat with a face mask.  When interviewed, he stated that it wasn’t a problem; he was wearing the mask to protect his fellow players.

But even that new maturity didn’t help Frazier.  When the New York Yankees announced their 40 man roster at the beginning of the season, Frazier found himself back at Scranton. When Giancarlo Stanton injured a hamstring running the bases at Tampa.  In a somewhat puzzling move, the New York Yankees called up Thairo Estrada instead of the obvious left field replacement, Clint Frazier.  Yankee and Clint Frazier fans were wondering if he will see major league action that shortened season.  He would be hitting third or fourth in their lineup with almost any other team, but with the Yankees, he continued to sit and wait for another chance at Yankee stardom.

That chance came on August 12 as part of a two-game series with the Atlanta Braves. All Frazier did from that game on and into the postseason was to show the New York Yankees and its fans a new Clint Frazier and what he could do for the team. It now appears he is a permanent part of the team with a career of stardom to fill.

Although he hasn’t been burning the barn down this spring, he has two home runs in 14 games. He is batting .243 with a .750 OPS. The now 26-year-old Frazier already knows how hard it was to get to this point. Now he is going to find out that staying on the team will take all of his determination. If he achieves his goals, the Yankees might have the next big Yankee star in the making.