Tag Archives: clint frazier

Well that was a pretty wild 24 hours for the Tribe

I sat at the bar before the Indians game on Saturday with my phone out, refreshing Twitter nonstop because we were rumored to be close to trading for one of the best catchers in baseball.

I celebrated after the game on the Thirsty Parrot deck, rapping every word to Will Smith’s “Getting Jiggy With It” because we had reportedly reached an agreement to trade for one of the best catchers in baseball.

I woke up Sunday morning to 12 text messages telling me we’d just traded for one of the best relief pitchers in baseball.

Two hours later, a no-trade clause was invoked and a deal that would send him to Cleveland was vetoed by one of the best catchers in baseball.


Now that all the dust has settled, here’s a summary of the roller coaster ride that was July 31st:


LHP Andrew Miller

  • 1.39 ERA, 1.28 xFIP, 77 K’s in 45.1 IP (15.29 K/9) and a 96.7 LOB% so far in 2016
  • Hasn’t had a K/9 less than 14, WHIP lower than 0.86 or an FIP higher than 2.16 since 2013
  • Under contract until 2019


OF Clint Frazier 

  • Fifth overall pick by the Indians in the 2013 MLB Draft
  • #1/2 prospect in the Indians minor league system, 21st in MLB on Baseball America’s 2016 Midseason Update. Now #1 in NYY system
  • .273/.350/.461, 13 HR, 48 RBI, 13 SB, 92 K’s in 362 ABs so far in 2016 (AA/AAA)

LHP Justus Sheffield

  • First round pick by the Indians in 2014
  • Top 5 prospect in the Indians minor league system, 69th in MLB on Baseball America’s 2016 Midseason Update. Now #7 in NYY system
  • 7-5, 3.59 ERA, 93/40 K/BB, 1.37 WHIP in 95.1 IP so far in 2016 (A+)

RHP Ben Heller

  • 22nd round pick by the Indians in 2013
  • Fastball sits upper 90’s, touches 100
  • 3-2, 1.73 ERA, 48/12 K/BB, 12-13 SV in 41.2 IP so far in 2016 (AA/AAA)

RHP J.P. Feyereisen

  • 16th round pick by the Indians in 2014
  • 1.80 ERA, 136/37 K/BB, 1.01 WHIP, .184 AVG, 21-23 SV in 105 professional innings (up to AA)


C Jonathan Lucroy


C Francisco Mejia

SS Yu-Cheng Chang

OF Greg Allen

RHP Shawn Armstrong

First, the good news.

We desperately needed a relief pitcher, preferably the kind that throws with their left arm. We acquired one of the most dominant one of those in all of baseball.

I think it’s pretty clear Bryan Shaw will get bumped to the 7th, which will be good for him and my general health. And regardless of what Tito decides to do in terms of the 8th and 9th, it’s a good problem to have. You’ve all seen the eye-popping bottom line Miller stats,  but take a gander at these from Fangraphs:


So not only is Miller an absolute stud, he’s an absolute stud that gets better in big moments.

Those are all on-field benefits from the deal. And they’re great benefits to be sure. But the message this move sends to not only a locker room full of guys that are hungry to win a World Series,  but a fan base that has been foaming at the mouth for a move like this since Y2K, is something I would argue to be almost as significant.

The clubhouse was noticeably waiting. God knows the fans were doing the same. For the front office to be able to deliver, right now, at this juncture, with the club in the best position they’ve been in at this point in any season in recent memory, that is enormous. You can’t measure it in counting stats or ratios but bringing in a guy like Andrew Miller lights a fire underneath anyone who works for or supports the Cleveland Indians, and it does so at a perfect time.

Missing out on Lucroy sucks.

Hanging on to Mejia, Chang, Allen and Armstrong doesn’t.

We sent a huge haul to New York to get Miller, so retaining some organizational depth lessens the sting of the veto a small bit. Mejia, the centerpiece of that package, is a 20-year-old switch-hitting catcher who’s currently riding a 42 game hit streak and was ranked as the 5th best catching prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com. He’s now the 4th best prospect in the Indians system. Yeah he’s young and seems to be a ways away from the big show, but you know who else was a highly-touted 20-year-old tearing it up in High A that seemed to be nowhere near ready for the majors one year ago? He’s got red hair, and he now wears pinstripes.

A few specific players that may have woken up today feeling a little bit better about themselves are Yan Gomes and Tyler Naquin.

Now I’m not at all convinced that the gripes about guaranteed playing time in 2017 weren’t floated by the Lucroy camp as an attempt at damage control. Common sense seems to say that if you acquire a top 3-4 guy at one position, and you don’t currently employ one of the other 2-3 members of that group, he’s going to play every day. But if there’s any truth to the rumors that the Indians wouldn’t guarantee Lucroy the starting job next year, it just goes to show how much confidence Tito and co. have in Gomes, even after his struggles over the past two seasons. Seems like an eternity ago, but at the beginning of last season he was coming off 3.3 and 4.5 WAR seasons. That was good for the 5th highest total number of wins above replacement at catcher for 2013 and 2014.

And I would have to imagine the way Naquin has played this year at least had a part in the front office feeling comfortable enough to move one and almost two upper-level outfielders without bringing one back. Be interesting to see how his ABs (or lack thereof) against lefties play out the rest of the season.

I’ll keep the bad news short and sweet.

Losing a player with as much potential as Frazier has is never an easy pill to swallow, no matter who you get in return. He’s got an explosive tool set and had become part of Indians folklore with his flowing red hair and, well, interesting personality. People probably knew a little less about Sheffield, but the bottom line is you sent two guys to New York and they immediately became the Yankees #1 and #7 prospects. That’s what it’s gonna cost to get a guy who’s one of the best at his positions, and it happened to be a position we need. Everyone has been calling for us to pay it for years. We finally did.

Also, it kinda sucks that the specifics of the Lucroy deal were released and these four kids know they were theoretically dealt by the Indians. Hopefully they realize this was about winning now, and that’s not to say the club doesn’t think they can help us win in the future.


The future of the Indians outfield played together last night

(Bradley Zimmer actually DHed. Semantics.)


The numbers on the back of their jerseys may have added up to 249, but those weren’t just any minor leaguers running around with Chief Wahoo on their sleeve last night. An outfield of Clint Frazier, Tyler Naquin and Bradley Zimmer (first-round picks in 2012/13/14) is something we’re very likely to see over the next year or two, and will certainly be met with a spike in the number tents erected inside and in surrounding areas of Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland. Naquin has obviously already made the big league club this season, Zimmer seems to be a lock for Opening Day 2017 before even playing in a single game this year, and Frazier isn’t all that far behind him. The “Indians can’t draft” crowd (first cousins to the Dolans R Cheap clan) may not like to admit it, but when your outfield of the future includes three consecutive first round picks (and the two top prospects in your entire system) with that much upside, you’re doing something right.

That being said, last night wasn’t a particularly explosive showing. Against Mariners fourth starter Taijuan Walker, Frazier singled in the first and Zimmer doubled in the third. For the spring, they’ve both had 8 at-bats at the big league level. Frazier (21 years old) has 1 hit and a 5/1 K/BB, while two of Zimmer’s (23 years old) three hits have been doubles and he’s also driven in a run. Naquin (24 years old) really isn’t doing much of anything other than leading the regulars in hitting (.415 in 53 ABs) and triples (3), second in bombs (4), driving in 7, doubling three times and posting an OBP of .456 in his first extended action against big league pitching.

But what about Michael Brantley? Who? Who’s on first. Who, meet Michael Brantley. He’ll be taking your job in the near future. While he’s never played first base in a big league game, he did dabble in the minors and the idea was tossed around in the spring of 2011. Defensive metrics have never loved him as a left fielder, and a move to the infield would certainly help to keep him healthy and his legs fresh as he enters his 30’s. He would also provide a well above average bridge until Bobby Bradley (who DHed in the first game yesterday) is ready for the big show. Bradley hits baseballs hard and he hits baseballs far, but he also fails to connect on quite a few attemps at hitting baseballs and is only 19 years old. He’s a ways away from The Corner.

Yu-Cheng Chang is a guy the Tribe signed from Taiwan a few years back for $500,000. He’s risen to #13 on MLB.com’s list of our top 30 prospects despite being only 19 and having played just over 100 games at Lake County. He’s 1-3 with a triple this spring.


Indians now have 2 of the top 10 OF prospects in baseball according to MLB.com

I like to poke around these prospect lists every once in a while but apparently I missed this little development (h/t to Reddit user chuckyjc05). With Mets outfielder Michael Conforto graduating from rookie status (more than 130 ABs / exceed 45 days on the active 25-man roster), your Cleveland Indians now have two of the top 10 outfield prospects in all of baseball according to MLB.com.



You’ve definitely heard of these two kids before if you’re anything more than a casual Tribe fan. Zimmer got up to AA Akron towards the end of this year, amassing just over 200 plate appearances for the RubberDucks. While his triple slash left a lot to be desired (.219/.313/.374), he’s still just 22 years old and his BABIP of .273 was way below where it’s been at other levels where he’s gotten significant ABs, so that should stabilize in 2016. Before the call-up, he was raking in High-A Lynchburg alongside Frazier. In 78 games he hit .308 with 10 bombs, 39 RBI and 32 swipes. He also scored a whopping 60 runs. He was third in the Carolina League in stolen bases and eighth in both runs and home runs despite not playing the entire year there.

Even though he was drafted a year earlier, it was out of high school so Frazier is still a little behind Zimmer developmentally, hence his lack of a call up to Akron. It certainly wasn’t due to a lack of production. Here are his totals and ranks in the Carolina League this year:

  • Runs – 88 (2nd)
  • Hits – 143 (1st)
  • Doubles – 36 (1st)
  • Home Runs – 16 (2nd)
  • RBI – 72 (3rd)
  • Walks – 68 (3rd)
  • OBP – .377 (4th)
  • SLG – .465 (4th)
  • AVG – .285 (4th)
  • OPS – .842 (3rd)

Oh he just turned 21 like two weeks ago.

Here’s a good story on him from earlier this year courtesy of Justin Lada (@JL_Baseball). He’s still learning how to adjust both mentally and mechanically, things he never had to worry about in high school, but my goodness that swing is something pretty.

The Tribe also had two other guys show up on MLB.com’s top 10 prospect list at their respective positions. First baseman Bobby Bradley, who led the Midwest League with 27 bombs (11 more than the #2 guy) and 92 RBI.


And LHP Rob Kaminsky, who we got in what was widely recognized as one of the best trade deadline deals this season when we sent Brandon Moss to St. Louis.


Notice how that snippet says Kaminsky has better pure stuff and a higher ceiling than Cardinals starter Marco Gonzales, who won two NLDS games as a rookie last season. So that’s pretty cool I guess.

It might not seem like it right now after the boys droped the first two games in Minnesota with the season on the line, but there’s a lot to be excited about down on the farm.