Is It Time To Acknowledge Clint Frazier Just Sucks?
For what seemed like forever, Yankees fans clamored for Clint Frazier to get playing time. After Frazier started getting consistent playing time, those same fans couldn’t wait to get Frazier out of the lineup. We’ve now reached a crossing point where it’s hard to ignore his egregious numbers.
Frazier, 26, early on looked like a semi-dangerous bat but a nightmare in the outfield defensively. He’s somehow turned into the complete opposite in 2021. Still a bad but semi passable defender but god awful swinging in the bat. Frazier has always had a weird herky-jerky swing, but the results have tanked this year. The former Indians’ first round pick is slashing .186/.317/.317. When your slugging and on-base are the same number, it’s a problem.
Frazier’s batting average of balls in play is a career worst .257. Maybe he’s been “unlucky,” but that actually makes you go back and watch all his at-bats to see the type of contact he’s producing. Ain’t nobody got time for that unless you work in a front office (still waiting for them to call me).
The advanced metrics are all horrific. The average exit velocity is in the 13th percentile, which means he’s probably not unlucky with his batting average. He’s quite literally the worst player in baseball when it comes to outfield jump and outs above average. Frazier is putting up metrics that a Single A ballplayer might if he were rushed to the majors for no reason.
So something behind the scenes here has to be going on, right? Frazier was actually sent home because the Yankees believed he had vertigo. That turned out not to be the case. The Yankees outfielder is at home undergoing tests, but nobody knows what’s going on.
“The vertigo has now been ruled out,” Boone said. “Most of the tests that we’ve received have been good news. I know they’re working through some vision things. A neuro ophthalmologist is checking his contacts. He’s being fit for glasses and things like that. I know they’re going through a lot of vision things now.”
Obviously, vision is a big part of the game. It’s hard enough hitting these 98 MPH heaters. It’s impossible to do so when you quite literally can’t see. However, the weird part about it is the metrics actually show the one thing Frazier is doing well seeing the baseball. Frazier ranks in the 98th percentile in chase rate on balls outside the zone. He’s seeing the ball just fine, and it’s about the only thing he’s doing well.
So what can we chalk the struggles up to? For starters, his swing path stinks. The lead leg is way back there, includes a giant leg kick, and his swing plane is all over the place. It’s an uglier half swing version of what Chase Utley had.
Is it too soon to say that Clint Frazier just flat-out sucks? Everybody can have a bad year, but this is more than a bad year. Frazier is unplayable on both ends of the diamond. The Andrew Miller trade that brought Frazier to town can probably be chalked up as a bust. Even if things turn around, it’s hard to ever consider Frazier a long-term outfield cornerstone.