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Is Clint Frazier a safer bet than Yasiel Puig?

One of my favorite non-playing things Clint Frazier has ever done was this tweet. It was after last year’s trade deadline.

It was one of the ultimate troll jobs and all he had to do was use a Woody GIF.  It got a ton of love, as much as a young player with that much potential should have gotten, but as you get lower on the thread – and by low I mean the sewers where the Twitter dregs lay their eggs and hatch more twitter dregs – the responses get nasty. Somehow a Toy Story GIF was worthy enough to garner such mean spirited tweets as:

“This is why I don’t like you , these is probably why the Yankees organization doesn’t like you”

“Seem awful proud to not be considered a good return from other teams while your own team doesn’t see you as good enough for the majors.”

“You’re not big enough yet to be tweeting this gif. You’re still the prospect that gets traded for a bigger name.”


“It’s disgusting that he’s still a Yankee.”

Then there was that one Phillies fan. Nobody appreciates another team’s young players like another fanbase:

“I want him on the Phillies so bad take back Robertson he can’t stay healthy anyways”

Well wouldn’t David Robertson be a perfect fit for the Yankees seeing as he’s out for the year now. That’s definitely a trade the Yankees won’t be making – especially for Clint Frazier – but MLB the Show does come out soon for that guy.

This D-Rob tangent aside, people either really love Clint Frazer or like to say he’s a distraction because they don’t like him on a personal level. (Hot Take: If you ignore the Clown Prince of Red Heads and Bat Speeds then you won’t be angry at him. Advice like this is free somehow.)

I personally don’t really understand the Clint hate. Alright he misplayed a ball(s) against Boston. So what? He’s a young player who, while he isn’t patrolling the outfield like Mookie Betts, has a long time to improve. It was one bad game that should not have overshadowed what he gave the Yankees that season. The hate toward him after that was really just a mass lack of appreciation of what he had done to start 2019.

When it felt like everyone on the team was on the IL, Clint’s surge was a breathe of fresh air. Up until that point on June 2nd when those balls dropped, he was hitting:

10 HR
28 RBI
.272 AVG
.319 OBP
.517 SLG
114 wRC+

All of that was somehow nullified though when a combination of a bad night in the outfield and ignoring reporters came to a head. Not fielding questions was a bad look, but with Judge out, Stanton essentially holding residency on IL Island, and Gary in and out of groin injuries, nights such as that one needed to slide.

They’re not as important in the grand scheme of things, because after living through the Shane Robinson era, nobody should have reacted to Clint Frazier the way they did. Of course, seeing as the blogs, the tweeters, and the WFANs of the world would rather choose to talk about gossip instead of researching the data on what he brought, a good young player was annihilated in the public.

The Yankees don’t normally react to these things, but in this moment, it felt like they did. Clint was banished to AAA soon after. Rare L for the greatest organization in the universe.

Even if ignoring reporters did say something about Clint Frazier’s personality, it’s not like any of us have to hang out with him. The only time we’ll see him is on the field.

Look, Ronald Torreyes is a great person. There’s a chance he’d be a better friend to you than Frazier. You could go to TGI Friday’s with Torreyes and weep on each other’s shoulders when Lebron wins a title for Kobe. Torreyes’ potential as a friend doesn’t do anything in a Chris Sale at-bat though. That matters the most to me.

You know who does do things during Sale at-bats? Clint Frazier, because Frazier took him deep in that first series against Boston in 2019.

Clint Frazier’s Future

If Aaron Judge is out and we get Clint Frazier hitting above an .800 OPS and having around a 114 wRC+, as we saw him do at the beginning of last year, that’s pretty tremendous. While it isn’t Aaron Judge – because nobody is Aaron Judge – those are still pretty solid replacement numbers. He’ll probably have some defensive gaffes, but it isn’t worth dumping on him for?

Am I asking people to be nice to Clint Frazier? Well no. That is impossible. What I’m asking is for people is to do two things. Essentially more free advice:

1.) Realize that athletes are not going to hang out with you. If you don’t like them it means absolutely nothing.
2.) Clint Frazier is probably here to stay, so deal with it.

“To Puig or not to Puig” – Shakespeare playing Fantasy Baseball probably

Now if you’re not entirely sold on Clint Frazier, or believe that Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier can’t repeat their 2019, there is always Yasiel Puig. (Granted if you don’t like Clint Frazier and think that Puig would be the answer that is funny considering Puig is potentially Clint Frazier from the future if Clint was born in Cuba.) Puig is far removed from having a 160 and 148 wRC+ his first two seasons but he’s always been serviceable.

Throughout his career he has consistently above a 100 wRC+. Lifetime he also has a .277 AVG and .823 OPS. Another positive of having Puig is his defense. He has a career 28 defensive runs saved — with most of that coming from the right field position.

I’m here for it if the Yankees get Puig. The old adage is everyone becomes a Yankee eventually and maybe it’s his time. It’s just, if I had to choose between Frazier and Puig, I think I’m sticking with Frazier. Lately I’ve been diving into the ZiPS projections and even though Puig (107 wRC+, 1.8 fWAR) is projected to have a better season than Clint Frazier (93 wRC+, .4 fWAR) it just seems too late logistically. Case in point with Neil Walker.

Neil Walker was never a superstar, but during his two previous seasons before joining the Yankees late in Spring Training, he was a pretty solid player. In 2016 he had a 124 wRC+ and 3.6 fWAR, and in 2017 he had a 115 wRC+ with a 2.2 fWAR. Then Walker came to the Yankees real late on March 12 – almost two years to the day of this being published – and had a terrible first half.

From the start of the season to June 27th, before the All-Star break, Walker had 2 HR, 14 RBI, a .185 AVG and .520 OPS. After the break, with some time under his belt, Walker really got cooking. It wasn’t 2016 cooking, but it was still pretty good for a replacement player. He had 9 HR, 32 RBI, a .249 AVG and .786 OPS.

It took months for Neil Walker to find a groove. Unfortunately the 2018 Yankees had time because, well, Shane Robinson. With expectations at an all-time high in 2020 and with injuries mounting, the Yankees don’t have the same amount of time they did two years ago. The reason the Yankees sign Puig is for a quick pick-me-up, but what’s to say he struggles the way Walker did? As of this writing, it is March 9th. Puig would have missed as much Spring Training as Neil Walker did.

The safe bet – whether you like it or not – is Clint Frazier. Yankees should ride their young talent as that has been the mantra since 2016. Puig is the sexy name – okay, somewhat sexy name, as he’s the baseball equivalent of hooking up with whomever is left at a bar after 2:30 A.M. – but Clint might just be the sure thing.