The Yankees showed off the strength of one of baseball's best farm systems by promoting three of their best prospects earlier this week: infielder Tyler Wade, third baseman Miguel Andujar and outfielder Dustin Fowler. When Fowler was lost for the season after rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee
The Yankees showed off the strength of one of baseball's best farm systems by promoting three of their best prospects earlier this week: infielder Tyler Wade, third baseman Miguel Andujar and outfielder Dustin Fowler. When Fowler was lost for the season after rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee when he ran into a wall in his big league debut, New York called up an even more famous phenom.
Outfielder Clint Frazier, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 Draft and the key piece acquired from the Indians in the Andrew Miller trade last July, will reportedly join the injury-riddled Yankees in Houston on Saturday. Ranked No. 17 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list, he's expected to play somewhat regularly while Aaron Hicks is out for roughly a month with an oblique injury.
The 22-year-old isn't fully formed as a prospect yet but he does have one of the quickest bats in the Minors -- Yankees general manager Brian Cashman described Frazier's bat speed as "legendary" after the Miller trade last summer. After struggling in Triple-A at the end of last season, he returned there in 2017 and was hitting .257/.345/.474 with 12 homers but also 68 strikeouts in 73 games.
Frazier's signature tool is his right-handed power, and he currently ranks third in the International League with 33 extra-base hits. He's still more slugger than hitter and sometimes has issues with breaking balls, but he has made strides in moderating what used to be a swing-for-the-fences approach and is doing a better job of recognizing pitches. In time, he could develop into a .270 hitter with 30 homers per season.
Frazier played mostly center field in his first three pro seasons and is capable of filling in there, though he spent the majority of 2016 and all of 2017 on the corners. His solid speed gives him good range and also makes him a factor on the bases, where he shows good instincts and occasionally will steal a base. His strong arm fits well in right field and will come in handy in Yankee Stadium's deeper-than-usual left field as well.
A career .272/.354/.452 hitter with 62 homers in 489 Minor League games -- most of which came against significantly older competition -- Frazier will mix into the Yankees' outfield along with Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and oft-injured Jacoby Ellsbury. He also could get some at-bats at DH with Matthew Holliday currently on the DL after an allergic reaction.
Much like Judge at the end of the 2016 season, Frazier probably won't hit for a high average in his first exposure to the big leagues. But he should fit in well with a Yankees lineup that's tied for second in the Majors with 123 homers, and his capacity for long-distance home runs should endear him to fans.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.