Thinking Inside the Box

Todd Frazier in Depth

Todd Frazier has had a lot in common with the Reds this year. When he was good, they were in the hunt. When he cooled off, the season came crashing down.

As he stands right now, Frazier’s 2014 numbers are not so different from his 2012 breakout numbers. A 123 wRC+ is pretty great at third. But it’s not what we were hoping for after his fantastic first half. He went cold as ice in July, and though August has been better, he’s still suffering from a relative power outage.

The difference between the first and second halves is very clear. Here, let me show you:

1st Half GB/FB: 1.00

2nd Half GB/FB: 2.22

There’s your power outage. Frazier, all of a sudden, is hitting balls on the ground a lot more. I can’t find pitch-type splits for hitters anywhere, and while I’m wary of making judgments without having the data on hand, my guess is that Frazier is seeing a lot more breaking pitches. That is, the league has adjusted.

Of course, it isn’t that simple. There’s some BABIP magic going on, too. It was really low in July. It’s rebounded in August. But even with the rebound, his power levels have still dropped.

So what’s the deal longterm?

Frazier’s BABIP of .320 is probably a little high. His BABIP of .269 last year was probably too low. He has shown a consistent LD%, which is good. That’s where average and a lot of power comes from.

If we take a wide view, which is probably best, BABIP is really the only thing that separates this season from last season. His BB%, K%, and ISO are all eerily similar to last year’s numbers.

Going forward, I see no reason Frazier can’t post numbers in the neighborhood of what he’s done this season as a whole. It looks like the first half might not have been sustainable, but a wRC+ of 110-120 seems reasonable for at least another year or two as he finishes his peak years. Do keep an eye on that GB rate, though. If it doesn’t tick back the other way soon, it might be time to revise our expectations downward a little.

6 thoughts on “Todd Frazier in Depth

  1. Great analysis. . . Frazier’s defense, versatility, and attitude are also very valuable. One thing that I have been curious about when it comes to Frazier (and may explain his BABIP) is whether or not he benefits more than most players from the occasional bloop hit. In my admittedly unscientific view, it seems that he has a bloop or two fall in for a hit every week when he simply throws his hands (and the bat) at a pitch low and away.

    • Was thinking the same thing. it’s ugly to watch, but it does seem he gets them almost once per week or even per series. Remember that we’ve even watched some of those ugly one-handed swings clear the fences.

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised as well that it was BP and Votto going on the DL relatively close together, thus haven’t Frazier and others taking on a bigger role offensively and defensively. Sure, the team did great 2 years ago when Frazier had to cover a lot of first base for Votto then. But, that was a freak year, anyhow, nowhere near the norm.

  3. The whole team is pressing offensively, Frazier included. Nobody really looks relaxed up there. Everyone is trying to do too much. That’s just what my eyes are telling me. I don’t have any insight into the clubhouse or anything.

    I wasn’t too thrilled about the Don Long hiring, mostly because his body of work with the Pirates didn’t seem too good. That said, he seems to have helped a few players get better and I’ve heard guys praise the work he’s done with them. I think a big part of the issue is the team’s plate approach in general but that’s more of an organizational failure in my opinion. A plate approach can’t really be taught at this level, although it can be improved upon marginally.

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