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Yankees’ Aaron Judge weighs in on Clint Frazier’s big league debut

Clint Frazier’s character and makeup are in the midst of adjusting to a major league clubhouse for the first time. But one of Frazier’s teammates believes that the 22-year-old’s past words and actions — which had generated headlines — were simply misconstrued.

“[Frazier’s] a competitor,” Yankees’ outfielder Aaron Judge told Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. “That’s what everybody talks about, his personality. He’s going to wear you down, no matter what. He’s going to battle, he’s going to claw, he’s going to scratch. He’s going to do anything he can. He wants to win. You see the fire in his eyes.”

While both right-handed outfielders are recognized as rookies across baseball, Judge — who happens to be three years older than Frazier — has already accomplished astounding feats at the highest level. On Sunday, Judge was officially announced to the American League All-Star’s starting lineup, as his .327 batting average, 27 home runs and 62 RBI ranks atop all AL hitters entering Monday. He was also awarded Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month for June, and those two awards justify his candidacy for renowned hitting accolades that will be awarded in the coming months.

Not too long ago, however, Judge was sniffing for a big league promotion down in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Before he received the Yankees’ call last August, he was introduced to a new teammate in Frazier, who was acquired by New York in a trade deadline deal with the Cleveland Indians for reliever Andrew Miller. 

The two appeared in the same lineup just 10 times last season, but during the time they’d spent together in the minors and spring training, Judge formulated an opinion on the newest Baby Bomber, who slashed .256/.344/.473 with 12 homers and 42 RBI in 74 Triple-A games this year.

“As a player, [Frazier’s] the total package,” Judge told Kuty. “He’s got everything. He’s got speed, he’s got power. He can play any outfield position. It’s fun to watch. It’s fun to watch a player like that. And now that he’s 22 in the big leagues, it’s going to be fun to watch him develop over the next couple of years.”

On Saturday at Minute Maid Park, Frazier made his major league debut against the Houston Astros, and finished the game 2-for-4 with a home run and double in the Yankees’ 7-6 loss. His first performance at the plate was actually similar to Judge’s last summer, as he also hit 2-for-4 with a home run at Yankee Stadium. If that coincidence is any indication, the Yankees may be assembling something special — perhaps a new macho slugging duo, equipped to lead and personify the franchise’s future offenses. 

But in the meantime, Frazier will continue to learn and adapt with Judge, and even though the two are somewhat different in nature, their goals are similar, which makes Judge’s advice for Frazier unsophisticated.

“Keep doing what you’re doing. That’s the biggest thing,” Judge told Kuty. “You got called up for a reason. A lot of guys come up here and think the game’s different, and they have to change things. But they got called up for doing what they were doing in the minor leagues. Keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll have success.”

If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @tomhanslin.