Clint Frazier’s Going to Blow Everyone Out of the Water
Before the start of every baseball season, fans and experts alike try to highlight players who they believe will enjoy an explosion of success and production. This season, I believe New York Yankees left fielder, Clint Frazier will be one of those people. He was named the starting left fielder for the season last week. While many fans and experts understand his potential, no one’s been able to fully evaluate him over a full season, and this year will be the ideal time to do so. The best way to assess this is to look at his production in limited time over the past two seasons and predict how he’ll do in a full season.
So far in his career, Frazier has only performed with limited amounts of playing time. His most successful season came in 2019, when he played 69 games, amassing 12 HR, 38 RBI and 1 SB. He followed that up during the shortened 2020 season by recording 8 HR, 26 RBI and 3 SB through 39 games. Additionally, he recorded a .267 batting average in both seasons. Now, www.baseball-reference.com (BR) predicts that Frazier will have a stat line of 19 HR, 62 RBI and 5 SB with 61 runs scored and a .257 batting average. Allow me to tell you why their prediction is way off.
Obviously, this is terrific production in such little time, but given that he’s going to be playing a full season, how much improvement can we expect from Clint Frazier? Well, I believe that the more advanced stats will help tell the story. His OBP shot up last year from .317 to .394 despite playing in 30 fewer games. This tells me that he vastly improved his ability to get on base year-to-year, and if that trend continues, he will see a sharp uptick in RBI production, as well as runs scored. I predict that he will record at least 80 RBI this year and at least 80 runs scored, about 20 more than the BR prediction said for both categories.
As far as stolen bases go, Frazier hasn’t been a particularly big threat on the basepaths (his career high is 3 SB in a season). That said, he did accomplish that in just 39 games, so it wouldn’t be preposterous to expect him to triple or quadruple his stolen base production in a starting role. I’ll make a middle-ground prediction and say he’ll have 10 SB this year.
As far as his batting average, I think the idea that it will decline by 10 points is ridiculous. Frazier is a smart batter who doesn’t strike out an awful lot. He’s not a pure contact hitter, by definition, but he understands how to put the bat on the ball and make it count. I don’t think he’ll see a massive improvement in batting average, but I believe that with added opportunities, Frazier will probably bat in the low .270 range this season, not .257 as predicted by BR.
Finally, Frazier’s HR total will be drastically higher than the BR forecast indicates. His SLG% was over .500 last season, and I see no reason why it should drop. Additionally, he has a swing that is conducive to launching homeruns, especially in a hitter’s park like Yankee Stadium. I predict that Clint Frazier will hit at least 25 HR this season, not 19. In fact, I would not be at all surprised if he reached the 30 HR mark this season.