Frazier has sights on starting job in Yanks' OF

Promising young star discusses lessons learned over rookie season

February 16th, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. -- knew that his name was mentioned frequently in trade rumors this past Hot Stove season, which is part of the reason why the outfielder remained actively involved on social media, trying to douse some of those flames before anything could become official.
"I want to be here, and I want to let it be known that I want to be here, which is why I was tweeting some of the things that I was -- trying to let people know that I want to be a part of this group," Frazier said on Friday. "I don't want to get beat by this group. I don't want to play against this team. I want to play with this team."
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The Yankees' December trade for pushed the 23-year-old Frazier down on the outfield depth chart, where Frazier will enter the spring looking up at Stanton, , , and . Even so, Frazier believes he can secure a starting job in 2018.
"My eyes are not set on Triple-A," Frazier said. "Obviously, if it happens with [beginning the year in] Triple-A, I would be disappointed, but I think that people around here are excited for everyone here. I'm just trying to keep them excited for me."
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Frazier hit .231/.268/.448 with four homers and 17 RBIs in 39 games for New York last season, playing 30 games in left and seven in right. Frazier told manager Aaron Boone that he'd enjoy a chance to return to center field if it helps his chances of breaking camp with the big league team.
"I said, 'Don't get too caught up in the advanced metrics. Just use the eye test. You've got some throwback in you, so make sure that you give me the chance,'" Frazier said. "And he said he would. At least, he shook his head. So I don't know what that meant."
One spring after the length of Frazier's hair was a frequent point of discussion, he arrived in camp sporting a close-cropped buzz, and said that he had it cut weekly throughout the offseason.

"I stepped on peoples' toes, and I'm not going to do that this year," Frazier said. "I needed to go through that. I needed to get my feet wet in a sense and see things that I do that can cause distractions not only to myself but the team and just overall grow as a person."
Lining them up
Boone is continuing to tinker with potential lineups, building off the idea that either Stanton or Judge will be his No. 2 hitter in the majority of games this season.
"I envision one of them certainly hitting in the two-hole," Boone said. "That's one thing that is a starting point for me. Whether that's Giancarlo, whether that's Aaron, that remains to be seen. Obviously similar skill sets, the ability to get on base with the high power. I definitely like one of those guys in the two-hole most or all the time."

Though he acknowledged there is appeal to the idea of having Judge and Stanton both hit in the first inning, Boone said that there is a "reasonable chance" that he would split Judge and Stanton up.
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"We think Greg Bird is going to be special and have the ability to legitimately, potentially split those guys up," Boone said. "Obviously what Didi [Gregorius] was able to do, and Aaron Hicks being a switch-hitter, these are all things that go into how we construct that. I would say it's a ways from being decided. It could be something that is fluid all season long, frankly."
He said it: "I do have some fun that comes across as immature to people, but in reality, I needed to go through some of the struggles that I did last year to be ready for this year." -- Frazier