Scouting Profile: Clint Frazier
I first wrote about Clint Frazier in September 2013. In my "First Look" piece on Frazier, I mentioned the strength of his hands, forearms and wrists. If anything, he may have gotten even stronger now, two years later.
The Cleveland Indians selected Frazier as the fifth overall pick in the 2013 Draft. The former first-rounder was chosen out of Loganville (Ga.) High School. While he had a commitment to attend the University of Georgia, he instead chose to sign a professional baseball contract.
At the time he was selected, Frazier was best known for lightning quick bat speed. That has not changed. A former third baseman and pitcher, Frazier has mainly played in center field for Cleveland with some time in right field as well.
Frazier's offensive upside has him ranked No. 2 on the Indians Top 30 Prospects list.
Scouts are fairly unanimous in their assessment of Frazier's strength. Many feel he can become an annual 30 home run hitter once he establishes himself as a big league player. That would be a very welcome outcome for the Indians, a team that continues to hunt for power hitters.
To say Frazier is aggressive would be an understatement. While he still is very intense and free-swinging at the plate, he has been able to somewhat temper that aggressive approach at the plate since his rookie season in the summer of 2013.
It must be noted that Frazier reduced his strikeouts from 161 in 542 plate appearances in 2014 at Class A Lake County to 125 in 588 trips to the plate this past year at Class A Advanced Lynchburg. That's a major accomplishment for the 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-handed hitter.
Frazier uses his powerful forearms, strong upper body and thick, strong legs extremely well. His solid frame led to 16 home runs this past season, up from 13 as part of an overall improvement in his hitting statistics while at Lynchburg. Frazier finished the season hitting .285 with 72 RBIs.
While Frazier generally plays center field, he may be best suited as a corner outfielder. Like I saw when I first scouted him in his rookie season, I still see Frazier have difficulty tracking balls off the bat in the Arizona Fall League. Granted, the high bright blue sky with lots of sun in the Arizona desert makes finding balls challenging, but Frazier often must hustle and close fast on fly balls he misjudges in center.
Frazier is powerful. He is strong. His reactions at the plate, his bat speed, the loft in his swing and his ability to crush fastballs are all reasons for excitement.
In addition to offensive promise, Frazier also has the ability to run well and steal bases. If he picks his spots, he can easily steal 20 or more bases with good reads and a quick first step. His arm is strong and accurate.
As much upside as Frazier has as a hitter, his defensive issues have to be resolved. He has the arm strength to play right field and the routes to the ball there should not be as troubling. Left field may be the most comfortable place for him.
Frazier will have to continue to improve his pitch recognition and reduce his strikeouts even more. He can't widen the strike zone and allow the pitcher to control his at-bats.
I find this interesting
Since childhood, Frazier and Pirates prospect Austin Meadows have always been friendly rivals. They are often mentioned together as their careers progress.
The future for Frazier
His strength, aggressive approach and his quick hands through the ball all point to a successful big league career. He can become a major force to be reckoned with as a home run threat.
Probably a year away, Frazier will find his place on a big league roster once he repeats his more measured swing mechanics and continues to recognize pitches.
Frazier in a word