Last July the Yankees did something they hadn't done since the mid '90s. They began a rebuild with the intention of compiling young talent that could make an impact in the majors just as the team would have enough of a budget to splurge on the insanely stacked 2018 free agent class. Incredibly, the "rebuild" lasted literally a few months. Un....believable. What's scary is that right now the major contributions have come from two prospects who were already in the system before the rebuild began: Gary Sanchez (already the second best catcher in baseball), and Aaron Judge (who could become the third player to ever win both the Rookie of the Year and the MVP in the same season). And they have more future stars on the way.
The two major trades Brian Cashman made to rebuild last summer were Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. Two months of Chapman were flipped for a top three overall prospect in all of baseball, Gleyber Torres (plus more). It was a no brainer. The big piece acquired in the return for Miller was the fifth overall pick from the 2013 draft, Clint Frazier. At the time Miller still had two and a half years left of control. I was somewhat skeptical of that one at the time, and there's an argument to be made that right now the Yankees would be better off with the dominant reliever (to once again form the three headed monster of Miller, Chapman, and Dellin Betances). But ultimately that's going to be a win-win trade for both teams. Frazier is going to be a stud.
So how good is he? Well, he's pretty fucking good it turns out. Batting ninth in his MLB debut Saturday night Frazier went 2-for-4 with a homer and a double. He's a corner outfielder who does a little bit of everything: he's a good hitter, will take his walks, play solid defense, steal a few bases. He actually wasn't tearing it up in AAA this year (.256/.344/.473) but he certainly has a track record of success. His best skill is unquestionably his bat speed, which has been referred to as legendary. Check out how quick his swing is in his homer from Saturday night:
There are two concerns with Frazier as a player. The first is mostly media driven, and it's that he immature. The first "problem" came this past spring when Frazier had to cut off his flowing red hair to adhere to Yankee policies. It shouldn't even have been a story at the time, but ultimately Frazier quieted everyone by shaving it off. Then there was a story that Frazier asked to wear Mickey Mantle's number 7 should the Yankees ever un-retire it. Again, this was an incredibly strange story and the Yankees denied it happened. The second concern is that he's too small to hit for power, but players like Mookie Betts are proving little guys can hit dingers too. It may take a couple of years for Frazier to turn into a 25-30 home run type guy, but in the meantime there'll be plenty of doubles. Neither of these "concerns" should be taken too seriously.
So anyways, if the playoffs started today the Yankees would be hosting the AL Wild Card game, which if this ends up happening the season would have to be considered a success. This was a team that wanted to contend for a playoff spot this year and let the young kids develop. As noted earlier they're already ahead of schedule. There's a lot of talk about the Yankees making a move for a starting pitcher come this year's trade deadline. Jose Quintana, Sonny Gray, Gerrit Cole and others could be available. Frazier is still someone who could be on the move for one of these guys, though it's certainly less likely now that fellow top prospects Torres and Dustin Fowler are both out for the year. Ultimately if Frazier hits right away like he's capable of he'll make it impossible for New York to move him. Personally I think they should hold onto him.