by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Last night one of the dominoes we had been waiting for finally fell, with Todd Frazier and the Mets agreeing to a 2-year, $17 million contract. The deal is definitely “light” from what everyone had expected entering the offseason, but the market (or lack thereof) ultimately capped his earning power. Of course it’s not like Frazier has been an offensive monster over the past two seasons:
- 2016 – .225, 40 HR, 98 RBI, 89 R, 15 SB
- 2017 – .213, 27 HR, 76 RBI, 74 R, 4 SB
The concerns for Frazier are two-fold:
- Back-to-back years of poor averages
- Potential power loss due to move to CitiField
It’s interesting, because these two things go together. Despite playing 2017 in seemingly favorably home ballparks (he split time playing for the Yankees and White Sox), Frazier produced better on the road (.261 with 18 HR) than he did at home (.165 with 9 HR). The difference comes from his line drive rate (21.9% on the road), which led to a very believable .275 BABIP (14.8% line drive rate, .180 BABIP at home).
Perceived as a big-time strikeout hitter he posted a 21.7% strikeout rate last season, which matches his career mark. Even better, he showed a vast improvement in both his SwStr% (9.3%, compared to an 11.7% career mark) and O-Swing% (25.0%, compared to a 32.5% career mark). Those led to a career best 14.4% walk rate, and while you could argue that it came at the expense of a little bit of power is anyone going to complain about a near 30 HR campaign with the potential for a better average?
Frazier has long proven that he can be a .250ish hitter, and even over the past two years he’s continued to maintain that type of mark while playing on the road (.233 on the road in ’16). Couple that with the power and a spot in the middle of the Mets’ lineup, joining Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce (meaning 80+ RBI is likely), and there’s a lot to like.
There’s obvious risk, especially given his average, and he’s going to fall shy of jumping into the Top 15. Still, there’s value in the later rounds in standard formats and he looks even better in OBP leagues. As a corner infielder/bench option you could do a lot worse.
Source – Fangraphs