2013 Player-Age: 18
Height: 6'1" Weight: 190
Acquired: 1st round pick in 2013 (5th overall)
Clint Frazier was still playing high school ball in Georgia when the Indians kicked off their 2013 season. His career there was littered with honors, including the Jackie Robinson Award, given annually to the nation's best prep player. He'd committed to play collegiate ball for the University of Georgia, but when the Indians made him the #5 pick in this summer's draft and offered him a $3.5 million signing bonus, Frazier changed his mind.
There are a number of factors in play any time a team is deciding whom to draft, especially with such a high pick. Many of them are difficult for someone outside the organization to understand, given that we don't have access to the same information as those making the decisions, but a concept even the average fan can grasp is choosing between a 'safe' player and one with greater risk attached to them, but also a higher ceiling, meaning a great potential reward. The Indians were said to have played it safe in 2012 when they selected Tyler Naquin with their first pick. He may develop into a nice player, but no one sees Naquin as a future star. I'm happy the Indians went the other direction this time around, drafting someone who could absolutely be an All-Star someday.
Frazier was sent to the Arizona Summer League after he signed. He played in 44 games there, and put up a batting line of .297/.362/.506. His 21 extra-base hits were 5th in the league, and while he also struck out 61 times, scouts were not concerned; Baseball America named him the league's top prospect, an honor previously bestowed on Mike Trout, among others.
Frazier's defense has been described as a work in progress. He is sure-handed and has solid speed and a strong arm, but he doesn't get great reads on balls off the bat at this stage in his development, something he'll need to work on as he makes his way up the organizational ladder. His batting approach gets rave reviews though. He has a short, compact swing, with no wasted movement. That's apparent even to the untrained eye (such as mine!).
Take a look:
Trained eyes are high on Frazier too. You could hardly find a more glowing report than this one from professional Bernie Pleskoff, who now writes for MLB.com:
Frazier brings strength, speed and power, plus an overt love of baseball to his game. He's the guy you want next to you in a foxhole, or on your team. He's that competitive and impressive. But he'll get even better.
Frazier is likely to be named the Indians #2 or #3 prospect on just about every serious list released this offseason. He'll land on many Top 100 lists as well. I expect Frazier to be sent to Single-A Lake County to begin 2014. Players are often sent to short-season A-Ball in their first year out of high school (that would be Mahoning Valley for the Indians), but I don't see why a player with Frazier's ability shouldn't go straight to full season ball. There are adjustments to make at every level, but I expect Frazier will be successful at Lake County, so don't wait 'til after the All-Star break to see him there, or he might already be gone.