Frazier helps out in debut for Captains

Tribe's No. 2 prospect collects RBI single, scores run in Class A debut

Clint Frazier went 1-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in his Class A debut with Lake County. (Lianna Holub/

By Danny Wild / | April 18, 2014 12:01 AM

For a 19-year-old making his full-season debut, Cleveland first-rounder Clint Frazier wasn't the least bit disappointed by his line.

"I felt great," he said. "Whether I was 1-for-5 or 5-for-5, I went out and had fun." 

Coming back from a hamstring injury, Frazier knocked home a run and scored another in his first Class A game, going 1-for-5 in Lake County's 6-3 win over Burlington. He joined the club late due to a muscle pull he sustained this spring.

"I put all the balls in play and three out of five were hit pretty good, but I couldn't find many holes tonight," he said.

The Indians' No. 2 prospect singled home Claudio Bautista in the eighth for his first hit, putting the Captains ahead, 6-2. In the first inning, he reached on a throwing error by shortstop Angel Rosa and scored the game's first run on a sacrifice fly by Nellie Rodriguez before grounding out in his next two at-bats.

A high school outfielder a year ago, Frazier said he wasn't nervous entering the game, his first in an authentic Minor League ballpark full of fans and scouts.

"I was anxious, but I wasn't nervous," he said. "I was just ready to get back on the field."

The center fielder was Cleveland's first-round pick in the 2013 Draft, going No. 5 overall out of Georgia's Loganville High School. He got his first taste of professional ball last summer when he hit .297 with five homers, 28 RBIs and 21 extra-base hits in 44 games for the Rookie-level Arizona League Indians.

The Arizona League, though, is largely played out on obscure fields at Spring Training complexes. There's few, if any, fans and it's far from the bright lights of ballparks in the Midwest League.

"Just overall competitiveness [was different tonight]. Out there, there's not a lot of fans in Arizona. It was hard to get up and want to go out and play every day," Frazier said. "Having some fans really helped me get a little more drive and a little more adrenaline. When I stepped into the box tonight, I enjoyed it a lot."

The 19-year-old lined out to left in his final at-bat in the eighth. In center field, he made only one out, grabbing Kody Eaves' fly ball to start the sixth.

"It's cool, I just wanted to do whatever I could to help them get back to a winning streak," he said.

Lake County had dropped eight straight games entering Thursday while also enduring a game postponed due to a snowstorm April 15. Adding Frazier, one of the biggest names in the Indians system, couldn't hurt.

"I don't think they looked at me any differently because of where I was drafted," he said of his new teammates. "They treated me like anyone else."

Frazier got a late start on his first full season after what he called a tweaked hamstring. The Indians were cautious with the prized outfielder and held him back.

"I couldn't break with the team just because of the injury and the weather was acting up," Frazier said. "But I feel great. It was a very mild tweak, they wanted to make sure I was healthy."

Caleb Hamrick (1-1) picked up the win in relief for Lake County after allowing two runs on four hits and two walks over four innings. Wander Beras earned his first save with a scoreless ninth after starter Adam Plutko struck out eight while holding the Bees to one hit over four innings.

Burlington starter Clint Sharp (0-1) took his first loss, allowing four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings.

For Frazier, the stats and memorable nights will come. He's on a mission to remain consistent in his first full year.

"I'm trying not to focus on stats, just to go out there and have a consistent season, give it my all and swing at better pitches," he said. "Put as many balls in play as I can."

Danny Wild is an editor for Follow his MLBlog column, Minoring in Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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