1. Clint Frazier, 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, OF, Akron RubberDucks
Even though the Indians are having a lot of success and their outfield depth appears to be a lot better than it was just three months ago, it’s never to early for prospects to start moving up the ladder, because 162 games is a lot of baseball.
Clint Frazier was the first high school position player to be selected in the 2013 MLB draft and set a record before he even set foot on the field for the Indians. Frazier signed a record-breaking $3.5 million signing bonus, and so far, the Indians are getting what they paid for.
Frazier’s 2015 campaign got off to a slow start at Class A Lynchburg. He rebounded in the second half and hit .325. He ended up leading the Carolina league in hits (143), doubles (36), and total bases (233). He was second in home runs (16), and runs scored (88) and was third in RBI’s (72) and walks (68).
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With Frazier’s bat speed and natural power, it makes him one of the best in the Minor Leagues and someone who has the potential to be an All-Star caliber player.
Currently, Frazier is hitting .287 in 76 games with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs. Those numbers are especially encouraging considering how strong pitching in the Eastern League usually is.
Frazier brings versatility to the outfield, and has played all three spots this season. His power numbers suggest he’s better suited for one of the corner spots, but it’s reassuring to know that Frazier can play center as well.
He’s certainly deserving of a spot at Class AAA Columbus, considering some of the Clippers outfielders are safeguards against injuries on the big league team. Collin Cowgill, Joey Butler and Michael Choice probably won’t be in the system for the long haul, but they do provide insurance for the rest of this season.
Additionally, with the Akron RubberDucks contending in the Eastern League’s Western Division, it’s more likely Frazier gets promoted to Columbus in 2017. Sometimes–and it’s often overlooked in the minor leagues–but teams like their players to go through the grind of trying to win, especially as a season heads into the final stretch. It’s an atmosphere that can’t be coached. It can only be experienced.
Frazier should arrive in the big leagues in 2018, when Bradley Zimmer should also be ready to join the likes of Tyler Naquin and Michael Brantley in the big leagues. Crowded? No. Talk about a good problem to have.
Next: Bobby Bradley