This article is part of our Minor League Barometer series.
Injuries can provide unexpected opportunities, even for high-profile prospects. Through the first two months of the season, it looked as though the Yankees had a surplus of outfielders. After all, Aaron Judge has been playing like an MVP, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury have made All-Star teams in the past, and Aaron Hicks was having by far the best season of his career. Then Ellsbury went on the DL with a concussion, Hicks hurt his Achilles and subsequently his oblique, and the unfortunate incident with Dustin Fowler occurred. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Fowler, making his MLB debut, crashed into a wall in the first inning of his first game, suffering an open rupture of his right patella tendon. Fowler is predictably out for the season. And this doesn't even include the season-ending injury to top prospect Gleyber Torres, a shortstop/third baseman.
So while it looked as though the Yankees outfield, mashing for the first two months of the season, would need no help whatsoever, the narrative has quickly changed. Instead, now the Bronx Bombers have called up yet another elite prospect, Clint Frazier, even though it didn't look like Frazier would see the bigs until much later this season, if at all. Frazier smacked a home run in his first game, provided a captivating walk-off dinger this past weekend, and now should be in line for extended playing time. In sum, injuries can move up the timeline for phenoms and neophytes alike.