Late last night, the Padres signed Eric Hosmer to an 8/$144 contract, which only makes the 2/$17 deal the Mets inked Todd Frazier to look even better. And it looked pretty good the day that it was signed, too. Frazier brings the power that GM Sandy Alderson likes, the OBP that he allegedly likes and the defense that no one has ever claimed Alderson likes but which this team desperately needs.
Of course, the people who are stuck in the past will focus on his .213 AVG and wonder what all the fuss is about with this signing. Would it be better if he hit .270? Well, sure, obviously it would. And Frazier has done that twice previously in his career, so it wouldn’t be unheard of if he does it again. In those two years, he had a BABIP north of .300 while the past two seasons his marks in that category were .236 and .226, respectively.
So, what happened the past two years?
Frazier was traded from the Reds to the White Sox prior to the 2016 season. Cincinnati is well known for being a good hitter’s park. And while the AL field in Chicago is not known as a particularly good pitcher’s park, for whatever reason Frazier simply didn’t hit well there. In 2016, he had a .230 BABIP in Chicago and last year he had a .180 mark between his home parks in Chicago and New York. So, in 610 PA the past two years in his home park, Frazier had a .207 BABIP and a .194 AVG. In the same time frame, he posted a .257 BABIP and a .245 AVG in 632 PA in road parks.
In 87 lifetime PA in Citi Field, Frazier has a .250/.345/.513 line. Will Frazier be able to hit as well in his home park as he does in road parks this year and produce better overall numbers? Here’s what our panel thinks:
All of us see him improving on last year’s dismal AVG yet nine people still have him below his .245 lifetime mark. Only Mike W. joins me in thinking he’ll have a strong rebound in the category. All of us see him adding significantly to his AVG to post a good OBP and most think he’ll provide good power, too. Mike K. and Jim are the two bears when it comes to power, with the former projecting a .165 ISO and the latter a .178 ISO.
There were two leading contenders for the wild card category for Frazier. We could have focused on his hit by pitches or his infield popup rate. His IFFB% has been consistently bad the past three years, so we forecasted his HBP, instead. Last year, Frazier had 14 HBP, which tied his career-high established in 2013. But the three years in between, he totaled 18 HBP in 2004 PA. No one saw him matching last year’s total but three of us had him in double digits.
Here is our official group forecast for Frazier:
Overall, we have him for a .790 OPS, which is a bit higher but in line with his .772 mark last year and his .788 mark with the Yankees. Last year, the average 3B in the NL had a .779 OPS, so we see him being slightly above average with the bat. Of course, we have a well-established history of being more optimistic than the computer forecasts. Let’s see how the projection models have Frazier performing this year:
In a bit of a surprise, ZiPS has the most aggressive forecast for Frazier, having the top mark in every category available. Right now, HBP is not broken out in the ZiPS projection, which is why it is blank here. Meanwhile, Marcel and Steamer pretty much agree on what Frazier will do, outside of power. Steamer is bearish, forecasting a SLG mark 25 points below Marcel. Because of the ZiPS projection, ours seems right at home here.
Check back Wednesday for the next entry in our projection series.