Let's Go Tribe is putting together its own ranking of the top Indians prospects. Here are the previous entries in the series:
Lindor received 87% of the votes last time, which was not a surprise. The voting should get closer and closer as the list continues though. Today we reveal the #2 prospect on the list. Here are the results:
- OF Clint Frazier (52%)
- OF Tyler Naquin (5%)
- LHP Justus Sheffield (2%)
- OF Bradley Zimmer (35%)
- C Francisco Mejia (6%)
That's a pretty comfortable margin of "victory" for Frazier, who had something of a mixed bag season in 2014.
Frazier spent the year with Single-A (sometimes considered Low-A) Lake County. Through late May Frazier was really struggling. His batting line was .230/.328/.321, and while he was drawing walks at a good clip (13% of his PA), he was striking out at more than double that rate (29%) and he'd hit only one home run in 165 at bats. In June he showed more power (hitting 4 HR), but also saw his walk rate plummet to 4%, while continuing to strike out a lot.
Somewhere in that stretch of time Frazier was asked by someone within the organization if he'd try a leg kick to try and realign his timing at the plate. He did, but it hadn't helped, so around the start of July, another adjustment was made:
"The second half, I went back to what I was doing in high school, kind of a little toe-tap, and that helped me get going and feeling normal again."
From July 1 through the end of the season, Frazier hit .294/.386/.469, with 8 home runs. It should be noted that his strikeout rate was still sky high (32%, even higher than early in the year), and his BABIP was .425, higher than he's going to be able to sustain. It's also worth noting that he was only 19 years old, young for the Midwest League. He was the only teenager to hit 10+ home runs in the league, and his home run rate for the last two month of the season ranked among the top ten in the league.
Defensively, Frazier continues to show the range needed for center field, and the arm strength needed for right. As he continues to develop, it's likely he'll add more muscle mass, which could slow him down enough to make right field his eventual destination.
He isn't a huge guy, but Frazier has tremendous bat speed, allowing him to generate plus power. In theory, that bat speed should mean he has a split second longer to recognize the pitch, and I hope to see that translate to a more reasonable strikeout rate this year, which Frazier is likely to spend with Single-A (sometimes considered High-A) Lynchburg. If he can start the season there the way he finished last year in Lake County, he could potentially find himself promoted to Double-A late in the season.
Who do you think is the #3 prospect in the Indians system? Remember to let us know in the comments which players you think should be joining the voting soon.
Other Indians Top Prospect Lists