Today we continue with our Pittsburgh Pirates 2018 report cards, by looking at Adam Frazier.
The 2018 campaign was an interesting one to say the least for Frazier.
He entered spring training competing for the starting left field job and suddenly the team acquired Corey Dickerson which left Frazier without a regular job.
Not getting regular at bats early in the season, Frazier was terrible and ultimately found himself demoted to Triple-A.
He eventually got the call back to the majors and suddenly Frazier was the best hitter in the Pirates lineup.
That roller coaster of a season likely leads Frazier into becoming the Pirates full-time second baseman next season.
So how did the 2018 season go for Frazier?
Frazier’s average of .277 and OBP of .342 were very similar to the .276 and .344 numbers he put up a year ago but the focus on hitting more balls in the air jumped his slugging from .399 last season to .456 this year.
He made an adjustment to start hitting the ball in the air more and it paid off as his fly ball rate jumped to 31.3 percent from 26.8 percent as Frazier clubbed 10 homers on the season.
Frazier had a productive August and September when he hit .299/.356/.524 with seven homers.
During that span, his fly ball rate was at 35.0 percent, his soft contact rate down to 14.6 percent and his hard contact rate all the way up to 46.0 percent.
But we can’t forget about the beginning of the season either when Frazier wasn’t very good.
He hit .231 in April, following that up with a .212 month of May. June and July saw him shuffling back between Indianapolis and Pittsburgh, before he started to settle in in August where he .338, followed by a .269 September.
But the early season struggles showed what type adjustments Frazier made.
The fly ball rate prior to August was at 27.3 percent. The soft contact up to 16.2 percent and the hard contact was only at 23.1 percent.
The adjustments paid off and will be interesting to see if Frazier can carry them onto next season.
Overall he was a 2.7 WAR player on the year, which was a full win improvement over 2017.
Frazier gets knocked for his defensive ability, but he put in some work with his glove and it showed.
While he will never be confused for a Gold Glove second baseman, he made strides and had a +4 DRS at second base this season to go along with a +3 DRS as an outfielder.
By comparison, the guys who he will be replacing in Josh Harrison had a -2 DRS in 2018.
Frazier will still botch the occasional play as he made seven errors on the season, five at second base.
But he’s starting to look the part of a regular second baseman and should make a majority of the plays that he’s expected to make.
Frazier took strides in that department this season
Frazier was really good late in the year and really bad early in the season so it averages out to an average year.
I like the strides he made to hit a few balls over the fence and become a better fielder.
I’m excited to see what he can do next season when he should get regular at bats all year. Not getting regular plate appearances early in the year could have contributed to his struggles.
Frazier will be the Pirates Opening Day second baseman in 2019 and deserving so.