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.