Postseason 2020: The Clint Frazier Question
|Photo credit: Newsday|
As of Monday evening, September 28th, the Yankees postseason roster has yet to be announced.
In spite of that fact, there are a number of “shoe-ins” among the squad. Gerrit Cole, of course, is slated to pitch Game 1 of the Wild Card series. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are off the injured list and ready to play. Kyle Higashioka, Cole’s assumed personal catcher, will be behind the plate -- at least when Cole is pitching. Of course, Luke Voit, who wasn’t even on the 2019 postseason roster, is hoping to continue his streak of dingers.
Aaron Boone said that the Yankees had a “long and spirited” meeting to hammer out the postseason roster. They’re close.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) September 28, 2020
Frazier was not chosen for the postseason roster in 2019, as the Yankees went with Brett Gardner instead of Frazier in left field. When Gardner had the biggest offensive year of his career (.251, 123-for-491, 28 HR, 74 RBI), that move made sense. Gardy’s postseason experience should also not go discounted. But in 2020, shortened season aside, Gardner’s line looks a bit different (.223, 29-for-130, 5 HR, 15 RBI). By comparison, Frazier (.267, 35-for-131, 8 HR, 26 RBI) was named the “Biggest surprise” of 2020 by NJ.com beat writer Brendan Kuty.
Will the Yankees start Brett Gardner over Clint Frazier in the playoffs? pic.twitter.com/DQ750d5abZ— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) September 28, 2020
— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) September 28, 2020Stats aside, Frazier carries the rare distinction in 2020 as a Yankee who didn’t end up on the Injured List. Beat writers, YES Network commentators, Yankees Twitter and even Aaron Boone can’t stop talking about his “maturity.” Boone had a lot of other good things to say about Red Thunder that he mentioned to the New York Post. It’s worth including the entirety of the quote here:
“First of all, I think [Frazier is] just a more polished defensive player. A lot’s always been made of Clint going back to last year a couple of mistakes he made in the outfield, but what we were seeing behind the scenes was a guy that was really working hard at it, has all the athleticism and the tools to be a very good outfielder, and now we’re starting to see it translate in results defensively. The confidence he had in his reads and his routes have been really good. And then, at the plate, he’s really talented. He controls the zone just about as good as anyone. He’s obviously got good power and bat-to-ball skills. After dealing with another round of adversity at the start of the season when we had to send him to the alternate site, he didn’t pout, he just went and worked. And when he got an opportunity, the door was open for him, he kicked it in and had taken absolute advantage of it, and excited for him in just all he’s been through here, really starting to be a polished all-around player.”