Todd Frazier‘s professional baseball career has been slowly building to this moment. Throughout both the minors and his first semi-full time season with the Reds, Frazier’s power numbers have steadily improved, and Scott Rolen‘s departure has officially given Frazier Cincinnati’s starting job at third base.
Frazier has always struck out at a decent clip (around 22%) but he walks a good amount of the time as well (around 8%). I’d really prefer one (or both) of those numbers be better, but they’re good enough to give Frazier a chance at hitting for a won’t-kill-your-fantasy-team .265-.275 average.
His fantasy value is tied almost exclusively to his ability to hit homers, so as long as he can stay in that range this year, Frazier will likely prove to be an undervalued fantasy contributor.
At a Glance
Strengths: HR, RBI
Neutral: SB, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS
Best-case scenario: Josh Willingham (MIN)
Likely scenario: Dayan Viciedo (CHW), Nick Swisher (CLE), Michael Cuddyer (COL)
Worst-case scenario: Garrett Jones (PIT)
Todd Frazier 2013 Fantasy Projection
There’s some heavy disagreement about Frazier behind the scenes on Baseball Professor. I wanted to project more power, something in the 27-29 homer range. George was thinking more like 20-22 homers. We semi-compromised on 24 homers, but it took more than one conversation to settle on that number. And some of those conversations bordered on “heated.”
Like I said in the intro, Frazier’s fantasy value is almost exclusively tied to his home run power, so his owners this year should be watching his fly ball rate very closely. Last year Frazier hit 19 homers on the strength of a 44.7 FB%, but in limited time in 2011 that rate was just 31.0%.
Those rates were taken from Fangraphs, which doesn’t track minor league fly ball rates, so I had to go to a different site (statcorner.com) for those. There’s a bit of disagreement between the two sources on exactly what’s a fly ball versus line drive, but even StatCorner shows that Frazier’s 2012 fly ball rate was a new career high. The safe thing to do is project a slight drop in fly ball rate and watch early on to see if his batted ball trends begin to resemble 2012′s. If they do, I’d be bullish on Frazier’s home run potential.
And for good measure, Frazier even stole a bunch of bases in both 2010 and 2011 (14 and 18, respectively). I wouldn’t bank on those kinds of totals in 2013, but don’t be surprised if he begins piling on the steals.