A crowded outfield doesn’t seem to be bothering Clint Frazier.
Despite reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton joining an outfield group of Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, and Jacoby Ellsbury, the Yankees’ 23-year-old rookie told the New York Post on Tuesday that he believes there’s room for him on the big league roster.
“I think I’ll surprise some people when spring [training] starts,” Frazier told the Post. “I did a lot of work this offseason, and I’ll show I’m ready to contribute to this team if given the opportunity.
“I’m really excited. I don’t know how you couldn’t be, knowing all the success Stanton has had. I want to be a part of this with him.”
Frazier, who slashed .231/.268/.448 (142 plate appearances) with four home runs, four triples, nine doubles, and 43 strikeouts in 2017, wasn’t worried about the offseason trade rumors either. Although his name was mentioned in potential packages for Pirates’ starter Gerrit Cole, Frazier told the Post that he was confident he’d remain with the Yankees. Ultimately, New York balked on the trade idea, and the Houston Astros reached an agreement for Pittsburgh’s right-hander in January.
“As far as I knew, I wasn’t getting traded,” Frazier said.
Entering spring camp, Frazier aims to make adjustments to his plate approach, adding that he worked on his “mobility, flexibility and a little strength” during the winter.
Perhaps a sensational spring could catapult Frazier to the Bronx on Opening Day, but based on the Yankees’ bevy of outfielders, all signs point toward the former first-round draft pick beginning the year with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he played 74 games last season.
“Everyone knows what they’re capable of, and I do know what I can do,” Frazier said. “I think I’m in a good spot, regardless of who’s around me.”