Scouting Yankees Prospect #47: Caleb Frare

Frare is going to miss the 2013 season

The New York Yankees selected left-handed pitcher Caleb Frare in the 11th round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of Custer Count High School in Montana. The 19-year old had a solid professional debut season with the Gulf Coast League Yankees and proved to have a powerful arm, but his inaugural season was dampened after succumbing to Tommy John surgery this offseason.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Caleb Frare
Position: Pitcher
DOB: July 8, 1993
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 195
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

He finished his debut season going 2-1 with a 2.74 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Yankees and struck out a batter per innings pitched, but more importantly he showed an ability to make quick adjustments.

"I thought it went really well," Frare said. "I made a couple of adjustments after my first start. I kept the ball down, hit my spots pretty good, mixing up pitches -- it was nice to see my progress throughout the year.

"I pitched great after my first start. I feel like I really improved my game throughout the first year and I just look forward to getting better."

Pleased with his changing mindset on the mound, one that went away from trying to blow his low-90s fastball by guys to more of an approach that relied on hitting spots, Frare continued to mow down batters during Instructs this offseason until an injury at Dominican Instructs derailed his quick progress indefinitely.

"It was my third outing and it happened in the second inning," Frare recounted. "To be honest my third outing was awful. I had given up two runs in the first inning and then I walked the first guy to lead off the second inning, and then I got a pop-up.

"A righty then comes up and he goes 'oppo-taco' with me [opposite field home run]. It was the first professional home run that I had given up. It's no big deal but the guy pimps it.

"It barely went out too so I hit the next kid because the kid [who hit the home run] was skipping into home and this was the second inning of the game in a Dominican Instructional League game.

"I just hit the next kid in the back just to send a message that you just don't do that in Dominican Instructs. I threw a curveball to the next batter and my elbow popped."

The injury happened during a game against the A's on a Tuesday. Not wanting to push it under the circumstances, Frare flew home on Wednesday, had an MRI on Thursday, and then had Tommy John surgery exactly two weeks after injury his elbow.

"It was Dominican Instructs and I felt it pop, and my fingers were tingling," he added. "I told my pitching coach and trainer that it's Dominican Instructs and that we need to get this checked out. I didn't throw another pitch after that.

"I was hoping it wasn't [serious] but I was ready for it. It's happened though and now you just have to move on. It hasn't hit me yet that I'm not going to pitch next year but I'm just focusing on the 2014 season."

He won't see any live game action next season because of the normal 12-14 month recuperation time associated with the surgery, but he will be able to begin some light tossing right around the four month mark.

While no pitcher wants to endure an injury like this, Frare is thankful that it didn't happen until after he got his feet wet at the professional level, experienced some success, and got to learn how to make some adjustments at the professional level first.

"It's better now when I'm young because my body heals faster and it's still growing. It's better now that I'm young. We thought it was completely torn and when we went into surgery Dr. Andrews did a great job.

"He came out to the waiting room and tells my mom it wasn't completely torn, it was just shredded. He got three wraps with my tendon so my elbow is going to be really strong after coming back from my rehab good," he concluded.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2012

GCL Yankees

2-1

0

23.0

17

7

23

2.74



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Frare didn't exactly show it consistently on the radar gun in his first year but he has a very powerful arm. He sat mostly 89-91 mph throughout the season but there were also stretches where he'd sit 91-93 mph, and the difference in velocities were more due to his desire to command his fastball better. A long-toss disciple prior to his injury, considering his strong frame too, he's a prime candidate to throw even harder as he matures, gets stronger, and strike-throwing becomes more second nature.

Other Pitches. Primarily a fastball pitcher in high school, where Frare made the most progress before the injury was with his secondary pitches. His changeup in particular, a pitch he would throw maybe once a game in high school when he was using it a lot, quickly became a solid average big league pitch in short order. Towards the end of the GCL season he was able to keep it low in the zone with some decent fade. His curveball also made steady progress. It's a below average pitch right now, a bit too loopy and not having that late-breaking action that is needed, but considering it already sits 78-79 mph there's some serious long-term potential with it.

Pitching. Frare completely changed as a pitcher in one short season. He went from primarily a fastball pitcher who reared back and tried to overpower batters with mostly one pitch to one who mixed in all three pitches, worked more on hitting his spots, and keeping the ball down. He has an advanced feel for pitching already and now knows how to set up batters. He is also a very confident young man who doesn't back down from any batter and that serves him well.

Projection. Obviously how he responds from his Tommy John surgery will go a long way towards ultimately deciding his long-term fate, but the success rate with this procedure is very high. Should he come back and regain the velocity he had in 2012, and continue to make the dramatic improvements he had seen with both his changeup and curveball, his ceiling is that of a potential big league middle of the rotation starter. There's also the 'X factor' though -- some Tommy John recipients come back throwing harder and Frare was already a strong candidate for a velocity bump even before the injury. Should more power materialize upon his return, his ceiling could even be a tick higher given his feel for pitching and bulldog approach. Despite the notable difference in height, he resembles a young Nik Turley type stuff-wise and command-wise.

ETA. N/A. Frare was most likely destined for Staten Island next season prior to his offseason surgery and now it appears he will have to wait until 2014 to make that jump.

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