Home / Sports / Clint Frazier is about to make the Yankees even more interesting

Clint Frazier is about to make the Yankees even more interesting

HOUSTON — This is expected to be Clint Frazier’s first taste of the big leagues. He will have more eyes on him because of what New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman once described as “legendary” bat speed but also because of a personality that has drawn attention to the outfielder during his 11 months in the Yankees organization.

When Frazier steps into the Yankees clubhouse — which is expected to happen but which Yankees manager Joe Girardi wouldn’t fully confirm — it will feel different than when Tyler Wade, Miguel Andujar or Dustin Fowler arrived earlier in the week. Those guys are also 22-year-old prospects who might turn out to be very good stories.

Wade could become the next Ben Zobrist. Andujar had as many hits and RBIs in his debut as any Yankees rookie ever. Fowler’s career, with its heartbreaking start, already has the making of an amazing tale.

Frazier, however, will arrive as a big deal before he even steps into the batter’s box. He could be a star or he could be a guy who is remembered for being bigger off the field than on it. The controversies he has had are all minor league stuff — social-media naiveté, a little hair rebellion and other nonsense — but they have put his name at the front of the line.

But here is already the thing about Clint Frazier before he even slips on an MLB uniform for the first time: When he walks to the plate, you will turn to the TV and be paying full attention. Anything you have heard, anything people around baseball and within the Yankees organization think about him, won’t matter, because the beauty of sports for players: They get the last word on the field.

Frazier comes to the majors with his Yankees education not fully completed. That is why this might be just a dip in the water, no matter how much attention he receives. Frazier might not be here for long, but he will play, as long as he is here. That’s for certain.

“If you are going to bring up an everyday player and you foresee as an everyday player in the future, you are going to play him pretty often,” Girardi said.

Girardi hinted that Frazier would be arriving Saturday but would not give a full confirmation. The manager has been instrumental to Frazier, according to the outfielder. Girardi has stressed that he wants Frazier — whose long red locks made headlines in the spring because they flirted with team grooming rules — to be himself, particularly on the field.

“The young man is a talented kid,” Girardi said. “He has the ability to play offense and defense. He has power. He has made adjustments to his game. He was not overwhelmed in spring training. I think sometimes you worry about kids being overwhelmed in their first big league spring training, he was not.”

At Triple-A Scranton, Frazier was hitting .257 with 12 homers and 42 RBIs in 73 games.

What should be remembered with Frazier is to not judge too quickly. This first go-around might not be great. That is the normal progression.

It was none other than Aaron Judge who looked lost just a year ago, striking out in half of his 84 at-bats. Because of that, there were more people, many more, who thought Judge would be a bust. There was no one who thought Judge would be the best player in baseball.

Frazier is three years younger than Judge. He will make his debut at 22. Judge was already 24 and had been to college. Judge’s attitude already seemed like a major leaguer’s.

Frazier is still learning. The expectations are high, because of all the players the Yankees acquired in their unloading before last July’s trade deadline, Frazier was top of the marquee. He was the biggest piece in the trade of the Yankees’ most valuable available player, reliever Andrew Miller.

Immediately after he arrived, Frazier tried to live up to the billing and struggled. Now, on the major league level, he will have keep the game slow, not to get too anxious.

The Yankees have been one of the most interesting stories in baseball. On Saturday, they figure to become a bit more fascinating.

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