Yankees 6, Twins 3: The offense finally wakes up

The Yankees had themselves a productive little Tuesday, eh? They made a big seven-player trade with the White Sox and also picked up a much-needed 6-3 win over the Twins to create a little breathing room in the wildcard race. The Yankees are an even 3-3 since the All-Star break.

(Hannah Foslien/Getty)
(Hannah Foslien/Getty)

Cessa Struggles
Holy moly what a brutal start by Luis Cessa. I mean, it wasn’t a total disaster (three runs in 3.2 innings), but geez, the guy could not throw strikes. He walked three and hit a batter … in the first inning. Cessa also gave up a solo homer to Miguel Sano and, well, it happens. I’m not going to get mad about that. He then allowed a loud run-scoring triple to Brian Dozier after (yep) falling behind in the count. The final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K. Yuck.

With Michael Pineda done for the season, Tuesday’s start was a pretty good opportunity for Cessa to seize a rotation spot for the foreseeable future. Bryan Mitchell pitched well enough Monday — not great, but good enough — but the Yankees decided to option him down Tuesday. Will Cessa get another start? Eh. It wouldn’t surprise me. Then again, the wheelin’ and dealin’ Yankees could swing something before then. Just please, not another start like this.

The Offense Breaks Out
Bartolo Colon went into Tuesday’s start with an 8.14 ERA (5.07 FIP) in 63 innings, so of course he started the game with three scoreless innings. Sigh. The Yankees finally got on the board in the third inning thanks to a leadoff single by Aaron Judge, a one-out single by Didi Gregorius, and a two-out single by Chase Headley. Three singles, one run. Love that small-ish ball.

It wasn’t until the fourth inning, when the 44-year-old Colon was visibly fatigued, that the offense really broke out. The Twins were up 3-1 at the time. The first four men the Yankees sent to the plate that inning reached base. Ronald Torreyes got it started with a single. Brett Gardner then dunked a ground rule double just fair inside the line in the left field corner, and Gary Sanchez knotted the game up with a two-run double into the left field corner. Exhale.

(Hannah Foslien/Getty)
(Hannah Foslien/Getty)

The Sanchez double ended Colon’s night at 82 pitches. He looked completely out of gas. In came Ryan Pressly, who allowed the go-ahead single to Judge. Hooray for that. Judge is starting to come around a bit. His five-game slump has been annoying. Two batters later Gregorius gave the Yankees some much-appreciated breathing room with a loud two-run home run to right field. The Yankees were down 3-1 when the inning started. They were up 6-3 when it ended.

More Stellar Bullpen Work
Who is this bullpen and what have they done with the Yankees bullpen? Maybe they didn’t need to make the David Robertson/Tommy Kahnle trade after all. I kid, I kid. But seriously, how good has the bullpen been since the All-Star break? Aroldis Chapman had the ugly ninth inning Friday and Caleb Smith got hung out to dry Monday night, otherwise it’s been nothing but zeroes.

Chasen Shreve was the first man out of the bullpen and he escaped Cessa’s mess with a strikeout. Shreve then tossed a scoreless fifth inning, and Adam Warren retired all six men he faced in the sixth and seventh. Dellin Betances made things interesting in the eighth — the inning went double, strikeout, hit batsman, strikeout, walk, line out — but escaped without allowing a run, and that’s all that matters. Chapman pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth.

The final line on the bullpen: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HBP. Pretty darn good. The Yankees didn’t go out and get Robertson and Kahnle for the hell of it. They really need those guys. The bullpen has been mess for a few weeks now. They’ve been better since the All-Star break, so perhaps this means the guys who are already here are turning things around, and now the Yankees have two new high-end relievers as well. That’d be cool.

(Hannah Foslien/Getty)
(Hannah Foslien/Getty)

Leftovers
Big day for the bats. The Yankees had 13 hits, including three each by Gregorius and Torreyes. Gardner, Sanchez, and Judge had two apiece as well. Matt Holliday went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is now 3-for-27 (.111) with eleven strikeouts since coming off the disabled list. He’s been really late on fastballs too. Hopefully it’s just rust and not something more serious.

Not a whole lot to add other than that. The Yankees picked up a win, remained in postseason position, and added three new players to the roster. Fun day.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and updated standings, go to ESPN. MLB.com has the video highlights and we have a Bullpen Workload page. Here’s the ol’ win probability graph:


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Twins will wrap-up this three-game series with a Wednesday matinee. That’s a 1pm ET start. Jordan Montgomery and Jose Berrios are the scheduled starting pitchers. Then it’s off to Seattle.

DotF: Andujar has a huge day in Scranton’s doubleheader

OF Jeff Hendrix made today’s Notes from the Field at Baseball Prospectus (subs. req’d). “Average bat speed, good hands, contact-oriented but not slap-and-dash like (Gosuke) Katoh, has more strength and loft, can put a charge on balls, works all fields, but power is to pull-side … See as a strong OF defender in the upper levels,” said the write-up.

Triple-A Scranton Game One (10-2 loss to Norfolk in seven innings)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 0-3, 2 K
  • RF Rob Refsnyder & LF Billy McKinney: both 1-3
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI — eleven homers in 88 games this year after hitting 12 in 130 games last year
  • LHP Brady Lail: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP, 5/4 GB/FB — 57 of 82 pitches were strikes (70%)
  • RHP Colten Brewer: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 WP, 2/0 GB/FB — 21 of 35 pitches were strikes (60%)

[Read more…]

Yankees acquire Frazier, Robertson, Kahnle from White Sox

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Any question about whether the Yankees would be buyers or sellers has been answered. Tuesday night the Yankees swung their largest trade deadline deal in several years, finalizing a seven-player trade with the White Sox that brings Todd Frazier, Tommy Kahnle, and David Robertson to New York. Tyler Clippard, Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin, and Tito Polo are going the other way. Both teams have announced the trade. It’s a done deal. Officially official.

“Those are all guys who can help us accomplish what we’re trying to,” said Brett Gardner, who texted Robertson after the trade, to Bryan Hoch following Tuesday’s game. The Yankees are assuming the remainder of Robertson’s contract, which isn’t bad by any means. He’s owed the balance of his $12M salary this year plus $13M next year. Frazier is a rental and Kahnle will remain under team control through 2020 as an arbitration-eligible player.

Frazier, 31, is hitting .207/.328/.432 (103 wRC+) with 16 home runs in 81 games this season, and while that doesn’t sound exciting, it’s a massive upgrade over what the Yankees have been getting from first base this year. Joe Girardi confirmed Frazier will play both first and third bases, and I’m sure he’ll be in the lineup everyday. Also, Frazier is an A+ clubhouse dude. He’s great with young players and in general. The Yankees value that.

Robertson and Kahnle will help a bullpen that has been way too shaky this season. Kahnle, 27, was originally selected in the fifth round by the Yankees in the 2010 draft. They lost him to the Rockies in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft and he eventually made his way to the White Sox. Kahnle has been unreal this season. Dude has a 2.50 ERA (1.47 FIP) with 42.6% strikeouts and 5.0% walks in 36 innings. He’s been better than Robertson.

The 32-year-old Robertson has a 2.70 ERA (3.05 FIP) in 33.1 innings with 35.6% strikeouts and 8.3% walks, so typical David Robertson stuff. Welcome home, D-Rob. He and Kahnle are going to give the bullpen a huge shot in the arm. The Yankees are — and this isn’t hyperbole — replacing one of the worst relievers in baseball this season (Clippard) with one of the best (Kahnle). And then getting Robertson on top of that.

The big piece going to the White Sox in the trade is Rutherford, New York’s first round pick in last year’s draft. The 20-year-old outfielder is hitting .281/.342/.391 (112 wRC+) with two home runs in 71 Low Class-A games this season. That’s pretty good for a 20-year-old kid in full season ball, though maybe not quite what everyone hoped coming into the season. Either way, Rutherford remains an excellent prospect.

Polo and Clarkin, both 22, are decent prospects and nothing more at this point. Clarkin was one of the Yankees’ three first round picks in 2013, so once upon a time he was a pretty big deal, but he hasn’t really been the same since missing the entire 2015 season with an elbow issue. Polo came over from the Pirates in last year’s Ivan Nova trade and projects as a fourth outfielder. He’s very likely to play in MLB at some point.

Clippard was thrown into the trade as a way to offset some salary, and also clear a 40-man roster spot. (The Yankees still have to clear two more 40-man spots.) Clippard started the season in the Circle of Trustâ„¢, but he’s been getting bombed the last few weeks, forcing the Yankees to use him in lower leverage spots whenever possible. He has a 4.95 ERA (4.98 FIP) in 36.1 innings this year. Yuck. Addition by subtraction.

Now that it’s crystal clear the Yankees are going to add pieces at the trade deadline, they figure to buckle down and look for a starting pitcher. Michael Pineda is done for the season and running guys like Bryan Mitchell and Luis Cessa out there every fifth day isn’t a good idea. I don’t think the Yankees will trade top prospects for a someone like Sonny Gray, necessarily, but I do expect them to search around for a veteran innings guy.

Game 92: Stay in Postseason Position

The last 30 games in picture form. (Hannah Foslien/Getty)
The last 30 games in picture form. (Hannah Foslien/Getty)

Here is the very simple math: with a loss tonight, the Yankees will fall out of postseason position for the first time since April 13th, the day of the ninth game of the season. The Yankees are 9-21 in their last 30 games — that’s their worst 30-game stretch since going 8-22 in late-May/early-June of 1995 — and the Twins are a half-game back of the second wildcard spot. A loss tonight means the Twins will be a half-game up.

The Yankees are in the middle of a collapse. It would feel a heck of a lot worse if it were happening in September, but it’s a collapse. Over the last 30 games they’ve gone from four games up in the division to barely hanging on to the second wild card spot. Every day it seems something new goes wrong. One day it’s the offense. The next day the bullpen melts down. The day after that the starter gets rocked. This is as ugly a stretch of baseball as I can remember. Find a way to squeeze out a win tonight and go from there. Here is the Twins’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Brett Gardner
  2. C Gary Sanchez
  3. RF Aaron Judge
  4. DH Matt Holliday
  5. SS Didi Gregorius
  6. LF Clint Frazier
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 1B Garrett Cooper
  9. 2B Ronald Torreyes
    RHP Luis Cessa

It rained in Minneapolis for much of the afternoon, though it’s supposed to stop in time for the game. There is no more wet stuff coming tonight either, so once they get this one started, they should have no trouble finishing it. Tonight’s game will begin at 8:10pm ET and you can watch on WPIX locally and ESPN nationally. Try to enjoy the game.

Roster Move: Bryan Mitchell was sent down to get Cessa on the roster, the Yankees announced. I thought maybe they’d send down Caleb Smith instead, but nope. Smith remains. The middle innings lefty role is a land of opportunity right now.

Injury Updates: As expected, Michael Pineda (Tommy John surgery) and Greg Bird (ankle) had their surgeries today. Everything went fine. Bird released a statement saying he intends to play again this year. You can read it here.

Checking on Aroldis Chapman’s fastball spin rate

(Rich Gagnon/Getty)
(Rich Gagnon/Getty)

Friday night the Yankees had a win ripped away when Aroldis Chapman failed to retire even one of the five batters he faced, and blew his third save in 12 opportunities. A few of the nine saves he did nail down were a bit dicey as well. Chapman rebounded with scoreless innings Saturday and Sunday, though so far this season, he has not been the overwhelming force the Yankees thought they signed.

The single biggest difference between Chapman this year and the Chapman of the past has been a decline in swings and misses. Chapman threw 56 total pitches in his three appearances in Boston and generated one (1) swing and miss. He’s gotten eleven swings and misses in his last eight appearances and 148 pitches, or 7.4%. His career swing and miss rate is 17.3%. This year it’s 12.5%. The MLB average is 10.4%. Something has gone awry here.

The first thing we all thing about with Chapman is fastball velocity, and so far this year his velocity has been fine. His fastball is averaging 100.0 mph on the nose and he’s topped out at 103.3 mph. Last year he averaged 101.1 mph and the year before it was 100.4 mph. And yet, look at the rate of misses he’s generating per swing with his fastball. This is whiffs-per-swing, not whiffs-per-total pitches:

  • 2015: 41.0% (18.5% league average)
  • 2016: 32.8% (18.8% league average)
  • 2017: 25.1% (19.7% league average)

That’s not great. The league average keeps creeping up each year while Chapman’s whiffs-per-swing rate with his fastball is dropping noticeably. He’s down nearly 40% from 2015. Chapman isn’t missing bats like he once did and he knows it. He doesn’t know why though. “Actually, that’s a good question. I’m going to go back and try to see footage and why because I honestly don’t know why,” he said to Brendan Kuty over the weekend when asked about the lack of whiffs.

Since Chapman’s swing and misses are down significantly, I figured it would be worthwhile to check out his fastball spin rate. For fastballs, a high spin rate correlates well to swing and misses and a low spin rate correlates well to ground balls. You don’t really want to be average. You want to be high or low. Here, with an assist from Baseball Savant, is Chapman’s fastball spin rate by month since Statcast became a thing back in 2015:

aroldis-chapman-fastball-spin-rate-2015-17

Let’s start with the obvious: Chapman’s spin far has been well-above-average since Opening Day 2015. His worst spin rate month, June 2015, was still nearly 10% better than the league average. Chapman has a very high fastball spin rate and he usually generates a ton of swings and misses. That’s not a coincidence.

Now, compared to last year, Chapman’s fastball spin rate is definitely down. It declined every month from September 2016 through June 2017 before ticking back up this month. A spin rate decline is bad! At the same time, his fastball spin rate has declined back to where it was for much of 2015, when hitters missed with more than 40% of the swings they took against Chapman’s fastball. Hmmm.

Even with the gradual decline this year, I don’t see a big red flag with Chapman’s fastball spin rate. I’d be really worried if it dropped lower than it had been at any point the last two seasons and change. His fastball spin rate is down from last year and right in line with 2015, and Chapman was great in 2015. He’s within range here. That’s a good thing. You want Chapman to be Chapman, right? Right.

So, with his spin rate looking okay, we’re still left wondering why Chapman’s swing and misses are down this year. Joe Girardi chalked it up to everyone throwing hard now and hitters being more comfortable against big velocity, which I suppose could be true, but Luis Severino hasn’t had any trouble getting hitters to swing through his upper-90s heat. Dellin Betances is still getting a ton of whiffs with his fastball. That doesn’t really pass the sniff test.

The way I see it, there are four possible explanations for Chapman’s relative lack of swings and misses this year. One, he’s in permanent decline. That’s always possible. Humans aren’t meant to throw this hard for this long. Two, it’s just a slump. Sometimes ground ball pitchers can’t get ground balls and sometimes strikeout pitchers can’t get strikeouts. It happens. Three, Chapman is still not all the way back from his shoulder injury. It took Andrew Miller about a month to get back to normal following his forearm issue in 2015, remember.

And four, Chapman is dealing with a World Series hangover. He threw a lot of intense innings last postseason — 15.2 innings across 13 appearances, to be exact — and because the Cubs went to Game Seven of the World Series, Chapman had a shorter offseason recover. Game Seven was November 2nd and pitchers and catchers reported on February 14th. That’s not much of a break at all.

I think (hope) Chapman is going through a World Series hangover this year. He’s wouldn’t be the only one. Basically the entire Cubs rotation is dealing with it. If it is a World Series hangover, hopefully Chapman gets a second wind soon, or is 100% good to go next year at the latest. This is year one of a five-year contract, after all. Getting this version of Chapman in year one is kinda scary.

Chapman’s swings and misses are undeniably down this year, though his fastball spin rate is within its usual range, so that’s not a huge issue. Something is off though. I don’t know what. Maybe it’s a slump, maybe it’s a World Series hangover, or maybe he really is in permanent decline. Considering Chapman is only 29 and is super athletic and well built, as long as he’s healthy, I think he’ll be fine. Eventually. I don’t know when, exactly.

Scouting the Trade Market: Jaime Garcia

(Denis Poroy/Getty)
(Denis Poroy/Getty)

The trade deadline is roughly a week and a half away now, and already the big pitching trade candidate has been moved. Jose Quintana is a Chicago Cub and the focus has now turned to Sonny Gray. There are plenty of other pitchers on the market too. None have the track record of Quintana or the upside of Gray, but there are pitchers out there ready to be dealt.

Among them is Braves southpaw Jaime Garcia, an impending free agent having an okay season (4.33 ERA and 4.25 FIP in 106 innings). The Braves are not absolutely miserable this season — they came into today 45-46 with a -35 run differential — though they are still rebuilding, and a free agent-to-be like Garcia is a prime piece of trade bait. Does he make any sense for the Yankees? Let’s break it down.

Current Stuff

The just turned 31-year-old Garcia is pitching like his usual self this season in that he’s getting a ton of ground balls (54.7%) and an average-ish number of strikeouts (18.2%). His walk rate (9.0%) is a tad high, though remove the intentional walks and it’s a more manageable 8.1%. That’s right in line with last season (7.7%). Garcia wasn’t very good last year (4.67 ERA and 4.49 FIP) but he was great the year before (2.43 ERA and 3.00 FIP).

Generally speaking, Garcia is a true five-pitch pitcher with two low-90s fastballs (four-seamer and sinker). His go-to secondary pitch is a fading low-to-mid-80s changeup. He also throws a low-80s slider and a loopy mid-70s curveball. The curveball is his least used pitch at 6.4% this year. Garcia throws everything else at least 11% of the time. Here’s some video:

There really has been very little change in Garcia’s stuff since Opening Day 2015. He’s averaging 91.5 mph and topping out at 94.3 mph with his fastballs, he’s throwing the same number of breaking balls and changeups, and his grounder and swing and miss rates are all holding steady. That’s good. Garcia has been same guy for three years now. His performance has fluctuated wildly, though that’s more location relation than stuff related.

Injury History

Garcia’s injury history is very ugly. He’s had Tommy John surgery (September 2008), rotator cuff surgery (May 2013), and surgery to treat Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (July 2014) among all sorts of other nagging issues. Garcia threw only 220.2 innings total from 2012-14 while with the Cardinals. (Weirdly, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak ripped Garcia in 2014 for having his Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery.)

The injury history is very scary but, to Garcia’s credit, he has been completely healthy since returning from the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery in May 2015. He hasn’t missed a start since. That said, the best predictor of future injury is past injury, and Garcia has had several major arm problems and major arm surgeries in his career. Every pitcher is an injury risk. Garcia is much riskier than most given his injury history.

What Would It Take?

Garcia is a rental and I suppose the Braves could argue he’s a qualifying offer candidate likely to sign a free agent contract in excess of $50M, meaning they want something back equal or greater to the supplemental first round pick they would receive in the offseason. That seems like a real stretch though given his performance and injury history.

Mark Feinsand says a dozen teams have expressed interest in Garcia and that doesn’t surprise me. Pitching is always in demand and Garcia is solid enough despite the injury risk. Ground ball lefties are always a hot commodity. Here are some rental veteran starters who have been traded in recent years:

  • Ivan Nova: Traded for two top 20-30 organizational prospects (Tito Polo and Stephen Tarpley).
  • J.A. Happ: Traded for a top 15 organizational prospect (Adrian Sampson).
  • Dan Haren: Traded for two non-top 30 organizational prospects (Elliot Soto and Ivan Pineyro).
  • Mike Leake: Traded for an organizational top ten prospect (Keury Mella) and a young big leaguer (Adam Duvall).
  • Scott Kazmir: Traded for an organizational top ten prospect (Jacob Nottingham) and an organizational top 20-30 prospect (Daniel Mengden).

The Braves will presumably push for a Leake/Kazmir package while interested teams counter with a Haren package. Leake had a much longer track record of being a league average innings eater. Kazmir had an ugly injury history like Garcia, but also a much better recent performance. Nova and Happ were having terrible seasons at the time of their trades, and Haren was a veteran guy at the end of the line.

The Kazmir trade feels like the best benchmark to me even though he was lights out with the Athletics (2.38 ERA and 3.16 FIP in 109.2 innings) before being traded to the Astros. Kazmir was an injury risk then like Garcia is now, and both offered the potential for above-average performance. And maybe the Kazmir trade is a reason to stay away from Garcia. Kazmir had a 2.38 ERA (3.16 FIP) before the trade and a 4.17 ERA (5.19 FIP) after the trade.

Anyway, using the Kazmir trade as a benchmark, we’re talking about a top 10 and a top 30 prospect for Garcia. Not all farm systems are created equal, however. A top ten prospect in the Yankees system is at worst a borderline top 100 guy. The Astros had a very strong farm system at the time of the Kazmir trade, though it wasn’t as good as New York’s is now. A Yankees equivalent to Nottingham and Mengden is something like Billy McKinney and Ian Clarkin.

As unexciting as Garcia may be, I think there will be enough competition for him that the price gets driven up and the Braves wind up acquiring two pretty nice prospects for him. The Yankees have a lot of nice prospects. So many that they’re probably going to end up losing some for nothing in the Rule 5 Draft and on waivers through various other 40-man roster moves in the offseason. Turning some of those guys into a rental starter like Garcia seems worthwhile.

Does He Make Sense For The Yankees?

(Daniel Shirey/Getty)
(Daniel Shirey/Getty)

The Yankees have needed another starter pretty much all season even though there was really no way to squeeze another starter into the rotation. Michael Pineda‘s injury takes care of that. There’s an opening in the rotation and Garcia would a fine — albeit unexciting — stopgap. Ground ball heavy lefties will always have a place on the Yankees pitching staff thanks to the Yankee Stadium short porch.

The question is are the Yankees open to trading prospects for a rental when they’re slipping out of the race, or would they rather stick in-house with the kids? Bryan Mitchell started last night and Luis Cessa starts tonight. Brian Cashman said Chance Adams could get a shot at some point too. The thing is, those kids have workload limits, and pitching is one of those things you’d rather have too much of than not enough.

There’s also this: Garcia would be auditioning for a rotation spot next year. Aside from Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees have no idea what next season’s starting rotation will look like, and Garcia is one of those lower cost free agents they could target to fill out the rotation and stay under the luxury tax threshold. The trade would give the Yankees and their staff a chance to evaluate him up close. That’s not nothing.

For me, Garcia makes perfect sense for the Yankees. He shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to acquire, he wouldn’t tie up long-term roster or payroll space, and there’s at least a chance at excellence. You probably won’t get it, but Garcia has had some very good seasons in his career. In a 12-start sample, who knows what’ll happen? If the Yankees are going to go after a rental starter rather than a long-term piece like Sonny Gray, Garcia may be the best option.

The Yankees didn’t want to call Clint Frazier up, but now they have no choice but to keep him around

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Three weeks ago the Yankees were hit with a rash of injuries that saw Aaron Hicks (oblique), Starlin Castro (hamstring), Matt Holliday (illness), and Tyler Austin (hamstring) all placed on the 10-day DL within a four-day span. Four days! As a result, the Yankees had to dip deep into their farm system for help, and at one point they had three position player prospects make their MLB debuts on three consecutive days.

First up with Miguel Andujar, who went 3-for-4 with a double in his debut and was sent down the next day to continue working on his defense. Then came Tyler Wade, who drew a walk in his first plate appearance to spark a go-ahead rally (before a bullpen meltdown). Up next was Dustin Fowler, who blew out his knee in the first inning of his first game crashing into a wall in foul territory. It was awful. I feel terrible for the kid.

It wasn’t until a few days later that the Yankees called up Clint Frazier, their top outfield prospect, and they did that only because they were essentially out of options. They’d already called up everyone who could have been called up. So it was Frazier’s turn, and in his first game he had a double and a home run. He’s since added two more home runs, including a walk-off blast against All-Star closer Corey Knebel the weekend before last.

When the Yankees first acquired Frazier last year Brian Cashman said he has “legendary” bat speed and holy smokes have we seen it these last few weeks. Watch the video above. Look at that swing. Sunday night he turned around a 98.5 mph fastball from Craig Kimbrel and ripped it 380 feet like it was nothing. It was a fly out because he hit it to the wrong part of the ballpark, but still. We’ve yet to see Frazier be overmatched by velocity. He’s been on everything.

So far the 22-year-old Frazier is hitting .308/.317/.718 (162 wRC+) in 41 plate appearances with the Yankees, and while he’s not getting on base a ton, his track record suggests the walks will come. Frazier has shown a lightening quick bat, fine range in the outfield, and sneaky good speed. Last night he turned two hard-hit singles into hustle doubles. It was awesome. The kid’s done a little of everything.

Before his call-up we heard a lot about Fowler being more big league ready than Frazier, and that very well may have been true. Frazier clearly was not the team’s first call-up choice following all those injuries. He wasn’t their first, second, or third choice. They went with Andujar, Wade, and Fowler before turning to Frazier, and even then it was only because there was no one else to call up. It sure seems like the Yankees would have preferred to keep him down a little longer.

Since coming up Frazier has made some slight adjustments at the plate and calmed down his lower half. He has funky hitting mechanics in which he thrusts forward and lifts his back leg off the ground. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Frank Thomas hit like that and he was a deserving first ballot Hall of Famer. Frazier was getting a little out of control though, and already he’s made an adjustment to tighten things up early in his MLB career.

“I wasn’t gathering my weight on my backside well,” said Frazier to Brendan Kuty recently. “I was coming off of it really quick and kind of lunging at the pitcher rather than sitting on the backside and swinging from my backside. A great guy to watch is Judge. He does a really good job of keeping his weight on his backside. That’s why he hits the ball the way he does. So I’ll take a note out of his book and apply it to mine.”

So far Frazier has given the Yankees a nice lift with timely home runs and extra-base hits — he has four singles and eight extra-base hits so far (three doubles, two triples, three homers) — plus he definitely brings a fun youthful energy to the team. The Yankees have struggled overall the last month or so, but they’re still fun. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez at-bats are must-see television, as are Luis Severino starts and Didi Gregorius defensive plays.

Frazier adds to that. He’s fun, he’s showing a ton of promise at the plate, and he’s helping in the field too. He’s also already made a key adjustment with his lower half. Frazier’s not a nobody. This isn’t some random minor leaguer coming up and having two good weeks. He’s a former fifth overall pick and highly ranked prospect. Over the last few weeks we’ve seen the tools that give him a chance to be an impact player down the line. Heck, he’s playing like one right now.

The Yankees didn’t want to call Frazier up when they did. I know this because they called up three other prospects before him. The opportunity came though and Frazier has impressed. The Yankees have a clogged up outfield as it is and I have no idea how they’ll squeeze Frazier in with Judge, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and a healthy Hicks when the time comes. All I know is Frazier is a big part of the future, and when a player with his talent has some success at the MLB level, the Yankees owe it to themselves to give him a longer look.