What Do Experts Say About Clint Frazier?

Last Thursday, the Indians drafted Clint Frazier with the fifth pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft.  If you’re like me, you had never heard of Frazier until Bud Selig announced his name, have never seen him play, and don’t really expect to see him in an Indians uniform until at least 2017.  But still…you wonder what kind of player the Tribe has selected.

To call the Indians recent history with first round picks a ‘mixed bag’, would probably be inaccurate, as the Indians have had quite a few awful picks over the last decade.  Since the turn of the century, only Jeremy Guthrie (2002) has become an established Major Leaguer and only Jeremy Sowers (2004), Trevor Crowe (2005), David Huff (2006) and Lonnie Chisenhall (2008) have made even a small impact with the Indians.  It’s too soon to write off Chisenhall, Alex White (2009) and Drew Pomeranz (2010), but all three have had early career struggles and both White and Pomeranz pitch for different organizations now anyways.  Early reports on Tyler Naquin (2012) and Francisco Lindor (2011) have been excellent, but they still are just early reports as both (hopefully) budding stars are still playing Advanced-A baseball with the Carolina Mudcats.

So what kind of player did the Indians get when they drafted Frazier?  Will he turn out to be an All-Star like Manny Ramirez (1991) and CC Sabathia (1998)?  Maybe a solid contributor like Paul Shuey (1992) and Jaret Wright (1994)?  Or will he turn out to be a complete bust like Corey Smith (2000), Dan Denham (2001), Michael Aubrey (2003), and Beau Mills (2007)?

It is a tough question to answer, as I—like most of you—have never seen Frazier play.  What I know of the young man from Loganville, Georgia is that he plays the outfield, he was committed to the University of Georgia and that he has some floppy, red hair.  He also must have been a monster in high school, as Frazier hit .485 with 17 homers and 45 RBIs in his senior season and hit .424 with 24 homers as a junior.  Other than that, I am banking entirely on the internet for my information.  Here is what some of the online “experts” are saying about the latest Cleveland #1 selection:

PerfectGame.org:

Perfect Game lists Frazier at 6’1” and 190 lbs.  He is a right handed batter and thrower and is a five-tool player.  He ran a 6.42 in the 60 yard dash and threw 98 MPH from the outfield—best in the nationwide showcase.  Perfect Game lists Frazier as having big power and bat speed.

Dave Perkin for SI.com:

Perkin is a former Major League scout and is considered the “Draft Expert” for Sports Illustrated.  Perkin had a glowing report for Frazier in his breakdown of the first round.

“Frazier is the most dynamic player in this year’s draft. He combines blistering speed, a lightning quick bat and a powerful arm. Frazier’s lack of size may hurt him, since smaller high school position players are usually at a disadvantage in the draft. If he 6-foot-1 or above, Frazier would be a slam dunk as the number one selection. At the plate, Frazier’s bat speed is terrific, but he needs to stop letting his front hip fly open, which often causes him to roll his hands over and hook the ball foul.”

In a mock draft, Perkin had Frazier going fourth to the Minnesota Twins and again praised the young outfielder.

“He has legitimate five-tool talent, possesses electric bat speed and is tremendously fast, which allows him to steal bases and be an outstanding defensive player. His closest major league comparison is probably Pirates star Andrew McCutchen.”

Mike Rosenbaum for BleacherReport.com:

Rosenbaum is the MLB Prospects Lead Writer for Bleacher Report and has far too much to say about Frazier to paste it into this column.  To summarize, Rosenbaum says that Frazier has the “best bat speed in the class of 2013 draft,” “plus-plus raw power potential,” and an “impressive feel for the strike zone.”  He also lists him as an “above-average runner with quick feet,” an athletic but “fringy center field profile(r),” and having a “plus arm” that has been a victim of overuse and fatigue.

Rosenbaum compares Frazier to Angels superstar outfielder Mike Trout and projects him to be an everyday outfielder who will make multiple All-Star teams and is a potential MVP candidate.

Matt Garrioch for SB Nation Minor League Ball:

“Everything you have read about gritty players can be said about Frazier. The difference is everything you’ve heard about 5 tool players can be said as well. He has a plus arm, plus-plus speed and is a lock to stay in CF as long as he doesn’t gain 25 pounds soon.

His hitting ability is very good. It isn’t a prototypical approach and he could iron out a few minor things like using his legs a little more, but his talent will let him succeed while he works on these things. He has massive forearms that create incredible bat speed that can launch balls 400′ with the flick of his wrists. His power won’t be crazy but 25 homers isn’t out of the question.”

ESPN.com:

“His swing comes from his extremely quick hands, and the swing is fundamentally sound, without the kind of backside collapse you see in some players who have bat speed but have to use maximum effort to get to it. He rotates his hips well and has loft in the swing for power, so when he squares something up, it goes a long way. His pitch recognition isn’t that advanced, as he looks fastball and can murder a hanging breaking ball but has even struggled against high-school quality off-speed stuff.

He’s an average runner who’ll end up in an outfield corner, probably in right if he regains more of the plus arm strength he showed before tendinitis reduced it to about average. Frazier already has a big leaguer’s physique, which is great but doesn’t allow scouts or teams to dream on future growth — in other words, he doesn’t project to add strength or power as he adds muscle to his frame, because he’s unlikely to get much bigger. There’s room for growth in his game, such as recognizing off-speed pitches sooner, but he won’t get it from the physical side.”

Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon SMI

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