Feeling a Draft: Indians banking on Frazierâ€™s power potential
A look into Indians 2013 top draft pick Clint Frazier, and what his future means for the Tribe.
By TONY LASTORIAFS Ohio
Another Cleveland Indians draft has come and gone.
With that it means over the course of the next month the Indians will sign and bring in about two dozen of the 39 players they selected in the draft. With so much new talent in the system it brings new hope that the Indians’ past draft misfortunes are finally over and that this is the year they got it right, and they get a few impact players out of this draft.
Time will tell on how much of an impact or how much of a disappointment the 2013 draft ends up being for the organization, but one thing is for certain, they sought out and drafted the biggest upside bat in the draft.
With the fifth overall pick in the first round, the Indians went the high school route and selected Georgia high school outfielder Clint Frazier. Even though he is just 18 years of age, he has the work ethic, makeup, and extraordinary bat speed that has a lot of people believing he can be a star. There is a long road for him to reach the stars in the big leagues, but he has all the tools both physically and mentally to get there.
“We are really excited about the opportunity to draft Clint,” Indians Director of Amateur Scouting Brad Grant said. “He is an impact bat with impact bat speed. It is a really loose, whippy, fast bat, and not only can he hit he generates unbelievable raw power. It is easy raw power and power that translates into the game.”
Frazier is a hardnosed player that gives maximum effort every game and is a big time competitor. Even though he dropped football after his freshman year of high school so he could concentrate on baseball, you can see a lot of those football characteristics carry over into the way he plays the game.
Major league comps can be unfair for a freshly drafted 18-year old kid, but his tools and the way he plays is very reminiscent of Grady Sizemore when he was in his prime. No one is saying he is the next Sizemore, but there are definitely similarities with the tool package, makeup, and playing style. The difference is, Frazier is right-handed and probably has the potential for more power, whereas Sizemore was left-handed and probably was a little faster.
While Frazier brings a nice skill set with his wide range of tools with his bat-to-ball ability, athleticism, defense, and arm, it is the power in his bat and the rarely seen impressive bat speed he produces which makes people salivate at his potential when they see him.
“It was exciting,” Grant said about Frazier’s bat speed. “Right from the start as soon as you walk in [the stadium] to see Clint that is the first thing you notice right away is the bat speed. It is almost like a coiled snake it is so fast and so quick and generates so much power. It is a special swing.”
Frazier is expected to sign sometime over the coming weekend and should go right out to Arizona where he will begin his pro career in rookie ball.
For as talented as Frazier is, it is the makeup that will help him through the tough times that await him in the minors. It doesn't matter how good of a player you are, there will be times when your commitment and toughness will be tested because of injuries, poor performance, or other factors. That is where makeup comes into play and can help keep a player from falling apart when things go bad.
“The first thing you notice with Clint is that he has a confidence to him that is special,” Grant said. “He has the ability to slow the game down mentally, but at the same time has these fast twitch actions. For a high school kid he is definitely a baseball rat and understands the game of baseball extremely well and it is what he lives for. This is what he wants to do is play baseball.”
At the moment, Frazier is the talk of the town, but he will soon quickly fade away into obscurity as he falls out of sight and out of mind with fans that don’t see him in box scores or on TV in Cleveland every day. His assignment to Arizona will make for a good transition to the pro ranks as it is there that the Indians can observe him and let him settle into things in a low pressure environment and work on getting him used to the everyday routine of a professional ball player.
Anything can happen from this point forward with Frazier as there is always risk with a high school selection, but the risk is worth it considering the upside he has as a potential franchise type player in a few years. The Indians could certainly use a right-handed power bat as a cornerstone to the lineup in the next few years, and they are banking on him becoming that guy.