by Ray Kuhn
Todd Frazier also reached his career high in home runs last season, with 40, but what can we expect from him this season?
The easy answer is not another 40 home run campaign. With Frazier expected to regress, and we will get into how valuable he truly is, you should be cautious before investing in him. There is no need to reach based on his current ADP of 73.81, which makes him the seventh third baseman coming off the board.
Frazier’s performance last season was aided by his career high home run to fly ball rate of 19%. In 2015 he had a career high Power Index of 157 (he hit 35 home runs), and last season it fell to 142. What is troubling is that his expected Power Index was just 111, so there is not a lot of room for error. Not only did he see the drop in his power, but his Hard Contact rate also plummeted from 125 to 92 (below average).
What did hold up from 2015 was his fly ball rate of 49%, but that doesn’t bode too well for the rest of his performance. Frazier managed just a 16% line drive rate last season, which helped to contribute to his .225 batting average.
Over the past three seasons he has seen his average drop fall from .273 in 2014 to .255 in 2015 and .225 last year. Over that same stretch his strikeout total has risen from 139 to 163, helping to explain the decrease in his contact rate from 78% to 72%. You could blame some of Frazier’s woes on his hit rate of 24%, but that would be overlooking the larger problems. In 2015 it was 28%, which is the same as it was in the second half of last season in which he hit .247.
There is certainly more than enough room for Frazier’s batting average to climb, but I wouldn’t expect to see much improvement. He struggles to make contact, strikes out a ton and doesn’t hit enough line drives. His speed has also been decreasing over the past few seasons and his days of 15 stolen bases are likely behind him.
Frazier is still a very strong bet for 30 home runs (and likely 90 RBI), but at what cost? The underlying metrics show his power upside isn’t what it used to be and it’s hard to see him hitting more than .245. With home runs more readily available, the hit to your batting average might not necessarily be worth it (especially in the fifth round).
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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|