Though he only has about two full seasons worth of playing time, Todd Frazier has already had an interesting career. He started as a super-utility player, filled in heavily for Rolen and Votto when they were injured, and now he finally has his own starting job out at the hot corner. Let’s look at what I think Hot Toddy will do this year…

Todd Frazier
2013 Slash Line: .234/.314/.407
2014 Projection: .245/.330/.430

2013 WAR: 3.0 (BBRef & FanGraphs average)
2014 Best Guess WAR: 3.5
Projected Difference: +0.5 WAR
2014 Floor: 1.5 WAR
2014 Ceiling: 4.5 WAR

I feel like I often end up in arguments with people who don’t think I’m liberal enough in my Todd Frazier praise. I find myself painted as overly-pessimistic, and I don’t know why. What I see is a late-blooming player currently in his prime who seems to be a bit above average and has decline coming soon. He’s a lot like Chris Sabo, actually. Though Todd has been healthier and not quite as good as Sabo was in his first few years.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Frazier is a very solid major league player who absolutely deserves a starting job. But he’s not a world beater and he’s not an offensive juggernaut.

Todd has had come bad luck, though. His average on balls in play last year was low enough that we should expect some bounce back this year, and that’s where the improved offensive numbers come from above. Add it to his already very good fielding, and you have a solid player. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Todd had the third best OBP on the team, and he may also rank third or fourth in slugging.

What the Reds have in Frazier is a good player who should still be good this year (and another year or two into the future), but who has issues with his swing/control of the strike zone that will prevent him from ever being great. It is possible that things could fall right and he could end up with an all-star caliber season, but the best bet is for a modest improvement over his 2013 numbers due to a little better luck rather than to any improvements in his actual performance.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at

Join the conversation! 21 Comments

  1. I think the reason you probably always feel like the pessimistic guy is because Todd is easily the single most likable guy on the team. He makes you want to be optimistic about him and that’s a quality that makes the entire team more fun to watch.

  2. I entirely agree, Jason. How much he improves offensively will probably be a product of how the new coaching goes as well as how much he wants to improve himself.

  3. according to this weeks episode of Reds Live – Spring Training 2014 Todd Frazier left spring training to fly home for the birth of his baby boy.
    Congrats to the Frazier family on their new addition and maybe future Reds player!

  4. At least for me part of the angst about Todd Frazier is that Reds fans have been waiting for the next all star third basemen for so long, through a series of “next great, can’t miss” guys who did miss – you all know the names – that we’re dying for someone to finally fill that bill. And because Super Todd is so easy to like and root for we really want him to be that guy. If all we get is a sturdy major leaguer with a good glove and a likable guy then that’s not bad, but oh wouldn’t it be fantastic if he somehow busted out as an MVP candidate type of player? No pressure Todd…

  5. The only thing that I might add is that sometimes he has stretches where does hit pretty well. Sort of like Bruce that way. He is a good interview and he has a positive effect in the clubhouse. I will take him as he is, hoping that a change in batting coach will make him better.

  6. I was looking at the intra-web this morning just to kind of national perspective on the outlook of Reds upcoming season. It is amazing how negative the overall view is. That got me thinking I originally was pretty upset of the lack of player movements this offseason, but I am officially buying in. I believe our starting rotation is second to none I would not trade it for any rotation in MLB baseball. Therefore if we get slight upgrades from player’s like Frazier, Cozart, and Mesoracco this will offset the loss off Choo. I’m hoping for Bham for .230 average .320 obs. Ludwig in the .250-.260 range with 15-20 homers. I think Votto, Bruce, Phillips play to last year’s stats were right there. For some reason I think Votto plays at the MVP level he can were watching baseball in late October. I’m ready let’s get the season started!

  7. Johnny Cueto has looked pretty sharp through three innings today. His twist is a little less pronounced this year, but he’s still doing it enough to help him not fall off the left side. Hopefully he’s found a nice middle ground where he minimizes the risk of injury but still keeps the benefits (deception, etc.)

  8. Votto walked for the second time. But it appeared he lost track of the number of outs and was doubled off first to end the inning. He did just make a nice defensive play.

  9. What’s the use of having replay if the people in the booth are blind? He was clearly out and they still called him safe after reviewing it.

  10. Just saw MLBN’s version of Tech Talk with Nick Franklin. Man, the Reds really need to save this kid from the Mariners. He’s buried behind two 2B and he’s not even the starting SS, he’s *competing* for the starting SS job.

    Unload BP for quite literally anything you can get for him, and pick up Franklin. He’ll lock down 2B for 6 years of team control. He’ll be on the upswing while BP is on the downswing, and the savings in money will allow the Reds to potentially keep their starting pitchers. Upgrade a position in the long run, if not short run, AND keep your starting pitchers. That’s a win-win. All hinges on Walt being able to swallow his pride and not get what he thinks is “value” for BP, but just whatever someone will give.

    • @ToddAlmighty: or at least get him to be bench super sub, come in for 3B, SS, 2B. Push Cozart for playing time, assuming Franklin is around average D wise. Seems like Seattle though is asking a lot pitching wise for him.

  11. I think Frazier will get close to repeat slash line of his rookie season, except maybe slug% lower to around .450 range. He basically has 2 full seasons of experience under him, and should be able to adjust better during course of the season. He seems like he could be one of those baseball guys who just get it, like a David Eckstein.

    Sure seems like key to reds offense lies with Frazier and Mesoraco providing that RH power in lineup, and adding depth to lineup offensively. Looking forward to how season unfolds for these 2 along with Billy-H.

  12. I am the number 1 Super Toddfather fan. But I don’t see him ever being an All-star or having an All-star season. No, we love him because of his heart and his hustle. I’ve enjoyed hearing him praising other players from the dugout this Spring.

    “That’s what a leadoff guy does”, he said when Billy took 10 pitches and got a walk. “That’s it, Big Wah. Way to work him.” he said to Juan Duran during an extended AB that resulted in a walk. He reminds me of Payton Manning a bit, which ain’t a bad thing.

  13. If Frazier can anchor the 6-7-8 portion of the batting order like he did in 2012, I think he’ll have a nice season. Not an all-star season, but a nice solid season for the Reds. A BA in the .260’s and 25 HR’s certainly would be welcome if he can do it. He needs to be that ‘shot in the arm’ he was in 2012. The potential is there for the Reds to have the best 6-7-8 hitters in the NL this year.
    Frazier, just another of the many ???? the Reds have going into this season. How well Frazier and Ludwick do in April, May and June will determine how much activity WJ will have come July 31.

  14. Just read that Choo is having elbow trouble and our fave Bronson is receiving epidurals for his back. Anyone who has had disc issues with their backs knows this is a slow recovery. I hope not for BA’s sake.

    But, it looks like luck was on our side this FA season. Steve said in an earlier post your $10 million man gets the ball on opening day. And with the way Blazin’ Billy is hitting the ball, my optimism for 2014 grows everyday.

  15. […] Votto Brandon Phillips Zack Cozart Ryan Ludwick Billy Hamilton Jay Bruce Todd Frazier Devin Mesoraco The Bench Top of the […]

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About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at


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