New York Yankees News: Clint Frazier is rated as a top 10 outfielder

New York Yankees, Clint Frazier
Sep 1, 2020; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Clint Frazier (77) catches the ball during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have a history of having great outfielders, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Reggie Jackson, Bernie Williams, and Paul O’Neill, to name a few. Now MLB Network has named Clint Frazier one of the top 10 outfielders in baseball. He came in at number 9 in The Shredder report.

The Shredder rating uses Statcast metrics and other statistics such as WAR and WRC+. Because last season was shortened, the report dug back three seasons, making Frazier’s placement on the list even more surprising. Last year he was the most improved Yankee player and one of the most improved players in all of baseball. He was so improved that the mostly minor league player got his permanent spot in the Yankee lineup, where he will be for the 2021 season as well.

The New York Yankees may still have a decision or two to decide the Yankees won’t have to make is whether to put Clint Frazier on the trading block. He has lost that status and now appears to be a huge part of the Yankees from now on for years to come. Twenty-one games into the shorted season, Frazier was called up from Scranton, and to put it plainly, he paved his path to Yankees Stardom. He hit .267 with eight home runs and turned into a Gold Glove-like defenseman. He went from a -6 in defensive runs saved in 2019 to a +4 DRS in 2020.

A player’s Revised Zone Rating (RZR) is one way to measure how they do with easy plays as well as difficult ones. In 2019, Frazier had 45 balls hit into his “zone,” and he only made plays on 35 of them. That manifested in an RZR of .778, which scores between “below-average” and “poor.” This year, Frazier saw 29 batted balls in his “zone” and he made plays on all of them. While it would be silly to expect him to maintain this 1.000 RZR for an entire year (remember, this was only a 28-game sample size), there are indicators that this performance is here to stay.

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. This 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 has cemented him as a part of future Yankee teams and a player too talented to use in the trade market. With last season’s nomination for a Gold Glove and now listed as a top 10 outfield, it appears that his future with the Yankees is cemented. With well over 100 outfielders in MLB, today to be named in the top 10 is quite an honor.