Frazier cracked a three-run homer with one out in the ninth inning to give the Yankees a much-needed 5-3 win over the Brewers on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. He finished the day 3-for-4 with an RBI triple in the seventh and a single in the fifth -- which, at the time, broke up Brent Suter's no-hitter -- to go along with his game-winning long ball.
"I feel really comfortable right now," said Frazier, the Yanks' No. 2 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com. "Over the last couple days, coaches have been working with me really hard to get me to be more consistent with my lower half and catch balls out front more consistently. It paid off."
Frazier said hitting coaches Alan Cockrell and Marcus Thames brought to his attention Friday that he had a hitch in his swing that was hurting his timing at the plate, causing him to lunge toward pitches instead of keeping his weight back.
Most of the force behind a hitter's swing comes from his core and the lower half of his body as he transfers his weight through the ball at the point of contact. Lunging leads to the player transferring his weight before contact, causing players to hit the ball more weakly, foul it off or, sometimes, miss it completely.
Frazier said he took at least 300 swings -- a rough estimate -- between pregame Friday and his walk-off homer Saturday to try and fix his mechanics. In that time, he went through two pairs of batting gloves because they became too sweaty.
In Friday's 9-4 loss, Frazier struck out in his second and third plate appearances before roping a triple into the left-center-field gap, a similar cut to his triple Saturday. Frazier looked lost as he swung and missed with his weight on his front foot during the strikeout at-bats. The pregame work paid dividends when he successfully made the adjustment and cracked his first career triple.
After repeating his refined swing before Saturday's game, Frazier was on his game from the get-go. Through the first six innings, he recorded the Yankees' only two balls hit with an exit velocity of at least 95 mph, according to Statcast™. That was before his triple in the seventh, which plated Jacoby Ellsbury, and his three-run jack in the ninth.
"That's not easy to do," said third baseman Chase Headley of Frazier. "It's impressive to make an adjustment and get results that quickly."
When it was time to hit in the ninth, the biggest thing for Frazier was to not let the heat of the moment revert him back to hitching at the plate. Facing All-Star Corey Knebel with the Yanks trailing by one, it would've been easy for the rookie to let his emotions get the best of him.
But he stayed cool and let his talent take over.
"I was really amped up," Frazier said. "I was trying to make sure I didn't go up and take a big swing. The way I swung the bat the previous two at-bats helped me keep my poise. I was sizing up for one pitch, and he threw it. I'm glad I reacted the way that I did."
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.