After last night’s debacle against Boston, Aaron Boone strongly insinuated that an outfielder would be coming up to replace the newly-optioned Stephen Tarpley:
First things first: that is a brutal assignment for Tarpley. Baseball is a business, and it makes sense, but man, that’s rough. The dude was called up yesterday, traveled to Boston, didn’t make it in time for the game, entered the game moments after arriving, threw 50 pitches and gave up 4 runs, and is now back out. Brutal. Just brutal.
Second, it made sense at the time to be an outfielder. We all saw the pitfalls of the 2-man bench yesterday, with Romine (the starting catcher!) pitching and Gio Urshela manning left field. And, while the bullpen has been used a lot, it’s much more normal now. Check out James Smyth’s bullpen usage chart:
That’s not so bad, is it? Briton, Ottavino, and Green have only pitched once in the last 4 days (Britton once in the last week!), and Green only threw 4 pitches in that appearance. Chapman was off last night, as were every reliever not named Romine, Cessa or the aforementioned Tarpley. There was no need to carry 9 relievers anymore.
So, realistically, that left two potential choices: Clint Frazier or Cameron Maybin. Let’s briefly recap the two options:
- Clint Frazier: Red Thunder, a top NYY prospect, had struggled in Triple-A this season after a brief appearance in the Bronx in which he hit .283/.330/.513 (117 wRC+) with 11 homers but atrocious defense and trouble with the media. However, in his last, 21 games, Clint owns a .321/.385/.568 (139 wRC+) line in Triple-A, with only a 14% K rate against a 6% walk rate. He has 12 extra-base hits to 13 strikeouts.
- Cameron Maybin: In 42 games for New York, Maybin owns a .314/.391/.500 (139 wRC+) line with 5 home runs. He came on strong before his injury and was just completed his 2nd rehab game in Scranton. In 3981 MLB at-bats, he owns a .256/.324/.372 (93 wRC+).
It was one of those two, and the Yankees have made their choice: Cameron Maybin. Here’s the official announcement:
Context aside, I’m thrilled to see that Maybin is getting the call here. The dude is a joy to watch and seems like a genuinely good guy. I think the Yanks are more fun with him around, and he doesn’t have an option, so bear that in mind, too.
*John Sterling Voice* Howevah, this is not the first time since Clint’s original demotion that the Yankees have passed him by. They sent him down a day earlier than anticipated, they recalled Tauchman, etc. There have been numerous opportunities to get Clint, nominally a top prospect, into regular game action at the big league level. Giancarlo Stanton has played in 9 games! And yet, the Yankees haven’t done so.
This reminds me, a lot actually, of the way the Yankees have handled other big-name prospects in their system, namely Jesus Montero and Justus Sheffield. Despite years of public proclamations that they love the guy and view him as a part of the future, whenever the future seemed to arrive…those guys weren’t a part of it. There is an even longer tradition here, too. It feels similar with Clint, who even had a scheduled off-day yesterday.
With a guy like Gary Sánchez, though, the Yankees wasted no time giving him regular action when the opportunity presented itself, even sidelining Brian McCann to do so. The Yankees were a game away from the pennant in 2017 and gave ample playing time to rookies Miguel Andújar and Gleyber Torres last year. That was far from a guarantee, as well.
This leads me to believe that the Yankees, for whatever reason, don’t believe in Clint as much as they say they do (or as many fans do). Maybin is a good guy, but there are 4,000 MLB ABs suggesting he’s not an above-average hitter. Clint is 24 with his career ahead of him and the Yanks keep passing him by. That tells us something, I think.
This is all speculation, but reading the tea leaves suggests that Clint will be a goner before long. Maybe not the deadline, but this offseason if not. I could be very wrong about this, and, in fact, am often wrong about a lot of things, but that’s just how it feels. Time will tell, as they say.