2013 Reds

Redleg Nation 2013 Preview – Todd Frazier

Todd Frazier
2012 Slash Line: .273/.331/.498
2013 Projection: .260/.320/.440

2012 WAR: 2.8
2013 Best Guess WAR: 3.0
Projected Difference: +0.2
2013 Floor: 1.5
2013 Ceiling: 4.0

Okay, here’s the part where I really make some people unhappy. I love Todd Frazier, I do. I’m glad the Reds have him, and I’m glad he’ll have the starting job. But I don’t think he’s the player he seemed to be last year.

Last year in, 465 plate appearances, Todd Frazier slugged .498. His minor league slugging percentage was .475. That’s strike one.

Last year, his BABIP was 22 points higher than it should have been given his batted ball profile. That’s strike two.

You can breathe easy because there isn’t a third strike. I’m not sure Todd Frazier will regress, but I think he will, as you can see from my slash line projections. You’ll note, somewhat incongruously, that I project him to do a little better in the WAR department. That’s because he didn’t get a full season of playing time last year. If you project his performance from 2012 over a full season, he actually comes in as a 4 win player. So, a projection of only 3 wins, is a pretty steep drop.

3 wins is still pretty good, though. The idea is that 2 wins above replacement is an average player, so we’re still talking about the Reds having an above average third baseman, just not a world-beater.

What the Reds have in Todd Frazier is an old sophomore, entering his prime years (he’ll be 27 this year). He’s fine on defense (but not great) and a pretty good hitter. His age is a red flag which tells us we shouldn’t expect him to be god for a long time because really excellent players rarely take this long to establish themselves in the majors. In the end, Todd Frazier is probably just Todd Frazier, solid player. He’s almost certainly good enough to be a major league starter for a few years, but we shouldn’t expect it to last and we shouldn’t expect the “super” to stick to the front of his name.

Redleg Nation Season Preview Schedule

Joey Votto – 2/27
Brandon Phillips – 3/1
Todd Frazier – 3/4
Zack Cozart – 3/6
Ryan Ludwick – 3/8
Shin-Soo Choo – 3/11
Jay Bruce – 3/13
Ryan Hanigan & Catcher #2 – 3/15
Bench – 3/18
Johnny Cueto & Mat Latos – 3/20
Aroldis Chapman & Mike Leake – 3/22
Homer Bailey & Bronson Arroyo – 3/25
Bullpen – 3/27
Updates & Preview Wrap-Up – 3/29

22 thoughts on “Redleg Nation 2013 Preview – Todd Frazier

  1. Good work Jason. I agree with everything written. I would caution that the higher than norm BABIP could be skill related. As we’ve all seen, SuperTodd has above average skills at protecting the plate with two strikes. Just the hits where he was flipping the ball over the infield could account for the difference in BABIP.

    I also think a full year at third will bring a greater understanding of his defensive skills and contribute to his value. He’s terrific on slow rollers.

  2. Will we get the June-July-August Frazier or the September Frazier?? I think this is the biggest question mark to be answered. Not Votto’s knee. I hope the “Sophmore Slump” doesn’t hit him. If Frazier struggles early, and I am farly certain Ludwick will repeat his April-May of 2012, the Reds offense could find itself in a hole early this year. Even though spring training stats and games are mostly meaningless, so far this spring there just isn’t much to be confident or excited about regarding the Reds offense. Still a huge hole in that #4 slot in the batting order.

  3. I agree with it, also. Frazier will definitely have some work to do to keep out of the sophomore jinx trap. Can he? I hope he can. No one expected him to be that good last year.

  4. Todd Frazier slugged .498. His minor league slugging percentage was .475. That’s strike one
    Yeah, but Todd didn’t play minor league ball at GABP! :)…. which oddly enough led me to look at his 2012 splits and he was actually significantly better on the road (.286/.345/.526./871) in almost dead even PA’s than at home (.258/.317/.469/.786)

    Wonder what that’s about?

  5. I agree, another excellent article Jason.

    On a related note it’ll be interesting to see what kind of role Jack Hannahan plays. Scott Rolen is gone but I’m not sure that means 3b has become all Frazier’s for 162 games.

    -will Frazier/Hannahan eventually turn into a righty/lefty platoon?
    -will Hannahan be reserved for pinch hitting duties or will he be used as a defensive replacement?
    -will Frazier occasionally play 1b/OF or will he only play 3b? Hannahan has played 1b this spring but Walt Jocketty raved about his glove at 3b.
    -how much leeway will Frazier get if he struggles, before losing time to Hannahan?

  6. Yeah. We had a lot of fun with the legend of Todd Frazier last year – c’mon, he saved a guy’s life and hit a home run without a bat in his hands – but I do expect reality to assert itself to some degree this year. Hopefully a lesser degree.

    Still, we may be very glad we have Hannahan before the season’s over. Who knows, that could wind up being the offseason’s key acquisition…

  7. Show of hands – if SuperTodd struggles badly – or God forbid, gets injured – who here thinks Baker will be pushing Jocketty to call Scott Rolen? That’s what I expect.

    • @RC: I’m optimistic about Hannahan but I definitely don’t think he’s the key offseason acquisition. Not even the key former Indians player acquired – Choo is. Miguel Cairo had some good years (including 2010) and he never got any recognition for it, and I doubt Hannahan would either.

      Show of hands – if SuperTodd struggles badly – or God forbid, gets injured –who here thinks Baker will be pushing Jocketty to call Scott Rolen? That’s what I expect.

      If Todd Frazier, Jack Hannahan, or Joey Votto sustain season ending injuries I think they’ll give Scott Rolen a call, but I doubt they would due to ineffectiveness. If Frazier or Votto gets hurt a Rolen/Hannahan platoon at 3b seems – to me – to be possible. It depends on what kind of faith they have in Jason Donald, Henry Rodriguez, and Neftali Soto as hitters.

  8. I quote: “His age is a red flag which tells us we shouldn’t expect him to be god for a long time”…..Super Todd not god (even with a small g)?

    Sacrilege…sacrilege, I tell you!!!!

  9. I’m surprised at how much agreement there is among you all. I expected my prediction of fairly serious regression to raise some hackles. I forget how reasonable you guys can be sometimes.

  10. I think your floor is too high, but that your overall projection is likely fine.

    I won’t be shocked if we end up pining for Rolen’s defense, however.

  11. @Jason Linden: That’s the punishment you get for making good predictions – little to no fighting.

    I believe that part of the reason why Todd Frazier is so popular is that he entered last season with low expectations placed upon him and he was able to drastically exceed all of them (while Mesoraco was at the opposite end of the spectrum, failing to meet extremely high expectations, so people turned against him)… and I hope to approach 2013 the same way, with low expectations for Frazier. Hopefully he’ll exceed them again.

  12. Jason, I think you are spot on regarding Frazier’s offensive production, but I think his defense is going to be a pleasant surprise for many people. He won’t compare defensively to Scott Rolen or Brooks Robinson in their prime, but he will play better defense than we saw from Rolen last season.

    • Jason, I think you are spot on regarding Frazier’s offensive production, but I think his defense is going to be a pleasant surprise for many people. He won’t compare defensively to Scott Rolen or Brooks Robinson in their prime, but he will play better defense than we saw from Rolen last season.

      Co-sign. Maybe I’m wrong, because I know there were early in the season where I was blown away by what Rolen could still do at 3B, but I also started to feel like there were more and more times where he just didn’t get after a ball…. and not to say Rolen at 80% of what he was still isn’t better than most, but we may remember him in his prime defense better than what he might have provided long term. Man, I feel wrong saying that.

      • Co-sign. Maybe I’m wrong, because I know there were early in the season where I was blown away by what Rolen could still do at 3B, but I also started to feel like there were more and more times where he just didn’t get after a ball…. and not to say Rolen at 80% of what he was still isn’t better than most, but we may remember him in his prime defense better than what he might have provided long term. Man, I feel wrong saying that.

        I think Rolen was still great on 99% of the balls he got to….and I’ve never seen anyone more consistent on throws to first. But there were a lot of balls to his left and right that he simply couldn’t get to any longer. And I think Frazier’s floor (offensively) is above Rolen’s ceiling at this point in their careers.

  13. Just to keep things interesting, I see the following for Super Todd in 2013:
    .285 /.350 / .530
    Throw out the 13 abs in April, every month Todd got better and better until..September. This is not surprising given that he was a rookie. I don’t know but I think the guy has that certain something. Bottom line: I don’t think he will make us miss Rolen in any aspect of the game.

    I can see Jason’s logic but it will be settled out on the field. Heard it hear first.

  14. @CharlotteNCRedsFan: He’s not a rookie anymore, they’ve got detailed scouting reports on him. We’ll have to wait and see how he adapts to playing more frequently. I think Frazier will make us miss Rolen defensively (which is an important aspect of the game), but that’s part of why they added the slick fielding Jack Hannahan.

    I think Jason’s predictions are reasonable and realistic, but I think yours are overly optimistic. Oh well. Hopefully you’re right and Jason is wrong.

  15. @Bill Lack: I think that’s a great way to say it… you’ll never replace the cannon and accuracy, but his lateral movement was starting to slip.

  16. I loved Rolen, but last year it was clear to me that if you did not have Joey at bat in an RBI situation that you wanted Todd at bat

    I don’t really care what the slugging or average is,Todd just seems to get the runner in, just like Perez used to

    Hannigans stats are pretty, but Todd gets rbis and that is the biggest thing this team needs is that consistent RBI guy

    That said, I think Bruce made a huge step in his last ab last season. You just knew he was going to come up with that hit. The fact that he didn’t doesn’t bother me as he is so close we can all taste it.

    This team started 3 rookies last year and I am excited to watch them progress this season. That to me is the biggest story of 2013, how those 3 do this year

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