Tuesday Triple Play – Andujar, Frazier, and Tanaka
By Patrick Gunn July 14, 2020
Baseball is returning this summer after all. COVID-19 cases across the country are going to make this return a challenge, but, hopefully, one MLB is ready to take on head first.
Here are a few of my brief thoughts on where the Yankees are standing just over a week until the 2020 MLB season starts.
ANDUJAR: BOUNCEBACK YEAR?
Miguel Andujar had a lost season last year, only playing in 12 games because of a shoulder injury. In Spring Training, Andujar not only showed flashes of his 2018 offensive talent, but also his ability to play right field.
Flash forward to summer camp, and Andujar whacked his way back on Yankees’ fans radars with an opposite-field home run off of Gerrit Cole.
Andujar still has to prove his worth in the regular season, both in the field and at the plate. He is a unique bat as a player who makes contact and hits the ball hard (20.2% of his batted balls in 2018 were line drives, per FanGraphs).
Whether or not he can retain that offensive form – especially with such a low walk rate (4.1% in 2018) – is another story. So far, however, Andujar is making positive strides.
IS THIS FRAZIER’S YEAR?
First off, good on Clint Frazier for promoting the usage of masks on the field.
As for his playing abilities, the pandemic delay may have hurt Frazier’s starting chances. Had the season started in April, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Aaron Hicks would have all started the season on the injured list. Now, two of those three players (Stanton and Hicks) are ready to go for opening day (although Judge could join them if his neck issue subsides). That alone will hurt Frazier’s potential playing time this season.
With that said, Frazier is still here and he’s still talented. Last year, Frazier posted a .489 slugging percentage and a 21.5% line drive rate. Keep in mind, he fought through a concussion in 2018 that hindered his development. Also, in a season that may feature a lot of moving parts, Frazier serves as an important depth piece for the Bombers. He can give Stanton and Judge a day off, take the designated hitter spot in the lineup, and even surprise some people with strong play.
He’s still the talented outfielder with “legendary bat speed,” athleticism, and energy to power the entirety of New York State. Yes, his defense is sloppy at times, but Frazier has the ability to turn that around. This could be a turning point in Clint Frazier’s career.
TANAKA TAKES A VICTORY LAP
Masahiro Tanaka provided smiles when he walked around Yankees Stadium yesterday. The right-hander has always been a fighter ever since he joined the Yankees back in 2014 (side note, that feels like an eternity ago).
With that said, the Yankees should not rush back Tanaka. Tanaka is an important cog in the Yankees’ run towards a World Series Victory and they cannot risk losing him for a long period of time. As mentioned earlier, concussions can have long ramifications. Tanaka seems healthy and fine, but the Yankees should ease with caution in his recovery.