Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Photo: MLB.com
The old adage "prospects are suspects" almost took on a whole new meaning this past Sunday when the Yankees #2 prospect committed a brain fart against the Pirates that nearly took himself and the team's #9 prospect out of the conversation for a place in the Yankees next dynasty. And in the process, he provided  a scary reminder how, in a thinking man's game, one thoughtless moment can easily wreck a team -- or two careers.

Photo: MiLB.com
On a can of corn to the gap in right-center, centerfielder Dustin Fowler was moving toward the ball, calling for it all the way and taking a good line to it in a tricky breeze. At the moment the ball was about to settle into Fowler's glove, almost out of nowhere, right fielder Clint Frazier came flying into the picture in mid-air, laying out below Fowler with glove hopelessly extended, and took him out of the play like a down field blocker on a punt return. The ball glanced off Fowler's mitt as he went down, caromed off Frazier's skull and rolled away from the tangled pair for a three-base error charged, ironically,  to Fowler. 

Fortunately, no harm was apparent to either player. But looking at the video, even on multiple viewings knowing what's coming, can still make one flinch each time at how narrowly tragedy was avoided. From the Daily News:

“I have to get out of the way,’’ said Frazier “He is the center fielder, and I can’t knock the ball out of his glove. I’m not the center fielder. When the guy calls it, I can’t act like I’m a center fielder when I’m on the corners.’’

Photo: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Like Fowler,  Frazier has  come up through the minors playing centerfield, so he understands the centerfielder's job is to catch anything and everything he can possibly get to, and the corner fielders' job is to let him.  So perhaps it was just his muscle memory kicked in. 

Unlike Fowler, however, Frazier is projected as a corner outfielder if and when he can master Triple A pitching -- something he has yet to do either with the Indians or the Yankees -- and, of course, that corner-outfielding thing. So it was good to see  Frazier  quickly  own up to his role in  the near disaster. 

But in what he probably thought was an amusing addendum to his mea culpa, he said: “I have shown them the ability to hit breaking balls, fastballs, be aggressive on the base paths, make errors in the outfield,’’ he said. “I am not done messing up and showing what I can do.’’

To which the New York Post's George A. King III rightly responded on behalf of Yankee fans everywhere: "What he should be done with is hurling himself toward defenseless teammates in games that don’t count. For his sake and others."

Think about it, Clint.

 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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