Todd Frazier Gives the New York Mets Much-Needed Power and Defense
To everyone else who's woke, you know better.
The Mets improved their infield with the signing of Frazier, a guy who has a good glove, good on-base skills, and a power bat that struggles to get a lot of base hits, but has consistently been one of the league's more productive third basemen throughout his career. In 576 plate appearances with the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox last year, Frazier batted .213/.344/.428 with 27 homers and 76 RBI.
Yes, the batting average is low, but as most of us know by now, a man does not live by batting average alone. Getting on base is the key, and Frazier is pretty good at that despite his lack of knocks.
Work Those Walks
Frazier's walk rate jumped dramatically last year, improving from 9.6% in 2016 to 14.4%, which helped him post an on-base percentage that was 134 points higher than his batting average. That walk rate was sixth-best among all qualified hitters last season and was tops among third basemen.
The hot corner is loaded with superstars, so it makes sense Frazier isn't considered one himself. However, his 3.0 fWAR ranked 10th at his position last season, better than Manny Machado's 2.8, Evan Longoria's 2.5, and fellow free agent Mike Moustakas' 2.2.
It is kind of incredible that he hit just 54 singles and 19 doubles in 2017, but the better news is he drastically cut down on the number of pitches he swung at out of the strike zone -- his chase rate was just 25.0% last season, down from 32.6% the year before. He also put up a swinging-strike percentage below 10% (9.3%) for the first time in his career.
The Mets desperately needed someone to provide some power at third, a position that generally features a slugger.
Only three teams got fewer HR last season from their third basemen than the Mets.
Enter Todd Frazier, whose 122 HR in the last four seasons are third-most among third basemen. pic.twitter.com/vFG2imZKBx
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 6, 2018
Frazier's 27 bombs were tied for 9th-most among third basemen and his .215 isolated power was 10th, while his .335 weighted on base average (wOBA) and weighted runs created (wRC+) of 108 were both 14th.
As noted by ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, the Mets have helped themselves a lot in the power game with the additions of Frazier and Jay Bruce this winter. Frazier ranks 12th in the majors with 102 homers since 2015 and Bruce is tied with Bryce Harper and Anthony Rizzo for 13th in that span with 95 dingers.
While Frazier provides decent power at the plate, he also saves a bunch of runs with his defense.
Over the last five years, Frazier has had a Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) of 5, 7, 6, -2 and 10. His overall Def rating of 6.3 was tied for seventh among qualified third basemen, with those 10 DRS in 2017 being the fourth-most at the hot corner.
Last year, Jose Reyes was worth -5 DRS at third, so this is undoubtedly a huge improvement.
A Bargain Price
The Mets got Frazier at a fraction of what it would have cost to sign Moutakas. Heck, he turned out to be cheaper than what the Philadelphia Phillies paid to land middle reliever Tommy Hunter (2 years, $18 million).
Since 2012 only 7 players have posted:
▪️OPS+ of 110 or better
▪️475 or more runs created
▪️325 or more XBH
▪️3.0 defensive WAR (dWAR) or better
Donaldson. Cano. Beltre. Dozier. Kyle Seager. Arenado
& Todd Frazier@Mets @FlavaFraz21 #Mets pic.twitter.com/5PwR0JChUQ
— Mathew Brownstein (@MBrownstein89) February 6, 2018
Not a bad deal.
New York's Opening Day infield isn't going to make anyone think they can challenge the Washington Nationals for NL East supremacy, but they at least appear set now. Adrian Gonzalez will handle first base, Asdrubal Cabrera will play second, and Amed Rosario will roll at shortstop, with Frazier at third.
For a team that was not looking to spend big money to improve their roster this season, the Mets struck a good deal with Frazier, a player who will help them both with the dinger and with the glove.