The New York Yankees had their fair share of struggles in 2020 regarding injuries and supplementing with depth pieces. This is the second consecutive season the Yankees have had to find ways to compensate for influential players missing time.
Of course, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge both missed chunks of the season, and given the year was only 60 games, to begin with, it was quite disappointing how little they played.
One player who was thrust into a starting role was Clint Frazier, who had been looking for more starting reps but was logjammed behind a bevy of players. Fortunately, injuries allowed him to play in 39 games, experiencing 160 plate appearances. He finished the year with a .267 average, eight homers, and 26 RBIs. He played so well, and saw his defensive efficiency elevate so much, general manager Brian Cashman is expecting him to be an everyday starter in 2021.
Considering Stanton can’t even play defense anymore, we should expect to see Frazier in the outfield regularly. Surprisingly, he was a Gold Glove finalist in the outfield this past season after disappointing in 2019 as a defender.
“I’m not making any changes this offseason,” Frazier said on the MLB Network on Monday. “I’m just trying to familiarize myself with that movement more going forward and mash.”
Frazier detailed his struggles last year with the Yankees and why his bat went quiet toward the end of the year:
“At times I always felt like I was trying to swing but my swing was on safety, and there were things that were preventing me from moving forward the way that I wanted to,” he said.
Since his defense took such major strides, I feel comfortable with him in the outfield. There’s also the potential that Cashman could bring back Brett Gardner on a one-year contract, given his statement during the season that he didn’t want 2020 to be his final playing year. I don’t think this is a situation where they want to spur a competition battle, as Frazier deserves the first crack at a starting gig.