Our topic du jour has reached the front page at FanGraphs. Read Dave Cameron’s hot-off-the-press analysis on the idea of the Reds batting Todd Frazier second instead of Zack Cozart. Frazier would represent a substantial upgrade over Cozart in terms of OBP and presents a RH hitter to bat between Choo and Votto.
Relative to the rest of his teammates, Frazier kind of is a high OBP guy. He’s also right-handed, and has enough power to make lefty specialists pay if they come in to face Choo and try to stick around long enough to face Votto.
Cameron pretty thoroughly discusses all the arguments for and against Cozart batting second, with plenty of numbers to back up his claims. I was surprised to learn that Cozart actually has one more extra-base hit than Frazier this year, so the rationale that Frazier’s power dictates batting lower in the order is faulty.
Cozart actually has 27 extra base hits to Frazier’s 26, so you can’t really argue that Frazier’s power would be wasted in the #2 spot while hitting Cozart there. In actuality, Frazier’s power might be getting wasted in the #6 spot, where he’s most often hit this year.
Even though line-up construction doesn’t have a huge impact on runs scored, it can matter at the margin. Do the Reds really have runs to spare at this point?
In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t the end of the world. Batting order doesn’t make that big of a difference. The Reds can make the playoffs with Zack Cozart hitting second. But, really, for a team in the playoff race, they should be taking advantage of every opportunity they can find to improve their chances of winning, however small those improvements might be.
I’d also like to see what Frazier could do with more fastballs. Presumably batting in the #2 spot would help him see more strikes and more straight pitches.
Head over to FanGraphs and read Cameron’s entire post (then come back here and discuss it in the comments section).