If you squint hard enough, you might be able to convince yourself that Todd Frazier can be good in 2019. Maybe.
Yeah, it’s about that time in the offseason. The Mets seem more or less finished with major acquisitions, and Spring Training is still a week away, so here we are. I’m an optimistic Mets fan at heart, which means I try to find as many positives as I can during the long offseason.
Todd Frazier posed a challenge, but I may have found a tiny bit of light.
On the surface, the Mets biggest signing for the 2018 season was objectively disappointing. Injuries limited him to just 115 games, during which he slashed a pretty rough .213/.303/.390. But when you look a level deeper…
It still looks pretty bad! His BABIP wasn’t exceptionally low, meaning we’re not inclined to think he just had bad luck. And the defense at third base was just slightly above average – good, but not good enough to cancel out the bad hitting in any significant manner.
Go a few more layers down, though, and you start to see reason for optimism. Possibly.
Looking at Frazier’s batting order splits, it’s clear that he performed significantly better the lower he was placed in the lineup. When batting 3rd or 4th, he hit for a terrible slash line of .175/.268/.270 over the course of 148 at-bats. And he only hit 2 homers in those situations.
But when hitting 5th or 6th in the order, it looks a whole lot better: .248/.339/.480 over the course of 202 at-bats, with 13 dingers. That’s more like it! Production like that would be plenty serviceable until Peter Alonso is deemed ready.
In addition to “Sign Harper” and “F**k Ownership”, a major buzzword this offseason has been “depth”. By signing good hitters like Wilson Ramos, Jed Lowrie, and Robinson Cano, Brodie Van Wagenen has made it possible for Mickey Callaway to hit Frazier in the six or even seven spot this year. If that’s the case, we might be able to expect a much better showing from him in 2019.
But these are small sample sizes, and Frazier is definitely aging. Squint hard, people.