I really can’t say for sure whether I am a fan of Clint Frazier.
The entire Wahoo’s on First staff has been sounding off with their opinions of the newest Indian on both Twitter and the infamous staff email chain, but I’m still trying to formulate my true opinion of the Georgia prep star.
Will he make use out of his elite bat speed (arguably the best from a high school prospect, ever) and reach his All Star potential? Or will his height limit his power down the road and make him a fairly unspectacular left fielder? Or could he not make the Majors at all?
I was totally up in the air as to who I wanted the Indians to take with the 5th overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft. Colin Moran seemed the most likely, and rumors were swirling with scenarios that could drop either Jonathan Gray or Kris Bryant to the Indians. Clint Frazier was considered a “backup scenario” and I couldn’t find myself to commit to one guy that I wanted. If one of Gray or Bryant was there, they were the obvious choice. But choosing between Moran or Frazier was tough.
Moran represented the safe pick. He has solid upside as a 3B with great plate discipline and enough hitting tools to matter, though not enough to excite.
Frazier on the other hand, represented the upside selection. The bat speed proved too much to ignore for scouting director Brad Grant. But with upside comes immense downside, and questions still loom for Frazier. While listed at 6’1″, Frazier is reported to be only 5’11″ and at 190 lbs, doesn’t have room for added muscle. That leads many to wonder how much potential for growth Frazier has.
Rarely do teams take a future corner outfielder 5th overall, especially if they have questions about their size. The Indians believe that Frazier can stick in center field, but they may be the only people who think that way. I have asked both Keith Law and Chris Crawford in chats about Frazier’s chances of being a Major League center fielder. Crawford said it was “very, very unlikely,” while Law straight up said “no.”
If Frazier can somehow manage to play center (he’s only an average runner, limiting his range) than he could be one helluva impact bat there. He’ll need to reach his ceiling (30+ HRs) in order to be an impact bat in a corner.
What Frazier represented though was the upside pick, and that’s what the Indians needed with the 5th overall selection. The most recent offseason meant the Indians will be a team hellbent on contention for the next three years at least, and a pick this high is unlikely to come through Cleveland again. Unfortunately, it came in one of the weakest draft classes in decades. Frazier represented the best chance for a true top talent to join Cleveland via the draft for a while.
But whether Frazier is the Indians’s outfielder of the future or just the Akron Aeros’s outfielder of the future remains to be seen. The downside is very low for Frazier, while the upside is All Star worthy. It may not have been the most popular pick, but its the one that had to be made.
It’s a bold move Cotton, let’s see how it plays.