18 December 2017

With or Without Manny, Orioles Should Sign Todd Frazier

While the Manny Machado trade rumblings are generating a rather large seismic response in the press, it does tend to neglect one aspect: the Orioles need a third baseman.  If the Orioles trade Machado, the club is without a third baseman.  Jonathan Schoop's poor range, need to set up deep due to a lethargic first step, and his difficulty getting down on the ball all indicate that his clumsy play at third years ago most likely will not have gotten any better.  Meanwhile Tim Beckham really profiles better at shortstop (*whispers* or the outfield).  This leaves a hole at third base.  If Machado stays, his desire to be a shortstop is something the Orioles will likely encourage, which also leaves third base open.  So what should the Orioles do? Sign Todd Frazier right now.

Standard Batting
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/18/2017.

While those numbers in the last three years look problematic with a down trending batting average, slight decrease in ISO, and peculiar jump up in OBP, it should be noted that Frazier has remained rather healthy through his career and is somewhat athletic.  He rates as having mid level speed for a third baseman (sprint scores: 26.1 (2015), 26.2 (2016), 26.5 (2017); on par with Seth Smith and Mark Trumbo) for a third baseman, but routinely stole about 15 bases a year during his peak seasons.  In other words, while several important indicators suggest a potential breakdown, they do not fit well with other indicators.

What does our comp model say?  The comp model looks back over history and sees ten comparative Age 29-31 seasons.  It is not a great group because Frazier is up near the top in terms of offensive output, but he is still within the dataset...so...at least we are not extrapolating outside of the set.  One players bests Frazier's bat: Gorman Thomas.  Thomas quickly fell off the face of the earth for his age 32 and 33 seasons before rebounding into an age 34 last hurrah.  The others in the batch include Lee May, Joe Carter, Raul Mondesi, Rob Deer, Brandon Moss, Andruw Jones, Tony Armas, Dick Stuart, and Steve Balboni.  It is a rather motley crew that looks incredibly different from each other outside their ability to not get on base much, crush the ball, and strikeout a lot.

Average Production
2018 22 .234 .300 .428 2.5
2019 14 .220 .295 .417 1.4
2020 16 .227 .297 .416 1.7

The model is not overflowing with praise and sees some significant reduction in playing time for 2019 and 2020 (less than 400 PA).  Regardless, that production level is worth about 39 MM and is solid for a BORAS 2.0 deal at 3/37.7 MM.  That kind of production would be a considerable drop from Machado, but would provide the club with a solid role player starting at third base.

85th Percentile Production
2018 25 .247 .306 .459 3.3
2019 23 .230 .300 .446 2.5
2020 22 .247 .315 .454 2.9

One thing that really comes to light is how certain players produced quite a bit with the bat in their age 34 seasons.  Gorman Thomas, Joe Carter, and Lee May all had good years at the plate, which drives the model on the higher end.  If Frazier fits this trajectory, then he would be worth 60.9 MM over the next three seasons, which is close to what the original version of BORAS agrees with.

15th Percentile Production
2018 20 .220 .293 .395 1.8
2019 6 .195 .281 .337 0.2
2020 11 .197 .270 .356 0.4

The lower end scenario finds Frazier to be a perfectly fine player in his first season of the deal and then solely existing in the Majors as a third baseman who can field well.  He basically turns into our recent apparition of J.J. Hardy those last two seasons.  This projection is worth 16.8 MM, which would be a major loss.

Todd Frazier is not Manny Machado.  Over the past three seasons, Machado has had a wOBA of .355 which easily beats the .334 of Todd Frazier.  With the glove, one of Buck Showalter's big sticking point, he sure is close.  Over the last three seasons, Machado has had an 8.4 UZR/150.  Meanwhile, Frazier put up a 3.7 UZR/150, which is somewhere between Evan Longoria and Kris Bryant.  That helps shoulder the loss.

Good defense and an adequate right handed power bat is probably the best we can ask for.  Espically, if the ask is a 3/37.7 MM deal.


dpsmith22 said...

I agree that his defense is solid,takes walks, and there may not be a better guy in baseball.

However, do we really want to add another swing n' miss guy into this lineup of hacks? I mean we are adding Beckham and his 100+ K rate, adding Frazier is another 100+ strikeout addition.

Hays, if in RF, will certainly join the club
Adding Frazier?

8 our of 9 and that is IF Sisco isn't over matched or we could have all 9 starters over 100 strikeouts.

Frazier, is better than anyone else this front office will obtain, but I am just pointing out an old problem.

Jon Shepherd said...

It depends what the true value of players are. I think Moustakas would provide you with a lower K rate, but with slightly worse defense. I also think his youth compared with Frazier will increase the total money handed to him. Eduardo Nunez is another option who does not strike out much in comparison, but also has some defensive concerns.

Unknown said...

I'd be more concerned w/ a player's OBP than his K totals, of which Frazier has displayed an inconsistent, spotty record. Esp for somebody who has been consistently healthy thru most of his career. Schoop, Trey, and AJ may be free swinging a bit but at least they have pretty decent OBP records while complimenting that play w/ power numbers. That's also when Crush is at his best, getting on base (via the HR or the BB because of his HR threat) despite racking up near record K totals.

Worth noting that Frazier's K/PA rate is in the low 20s, which is not bad. AJ's in the high teens, Schoop's in the low 20s, and Trey for the past two seasons is like 26% and 23%, respectively. IMO, Beckham is not worth his 30% K/PA rate record. Wasteful ABs does not an effective leadoff hitter make. In comparison, Trumbo is consistently in the mid20s and Crush is in the low 30s(tho he was at 37% in '17 - yikes!).

Unknown said...

Another slow-footed strikeout king? He'd fit right in!

Boss61 said...

No. Rebuilding is rebuilding. Simply no one over the age of 30.

Pip said...

Agree. Better to add someone cheap. How about Luis Valbuena?
Just throwing out a name.

Jon Shepherd said...

You have to trade the Angels for him.

Unknown said...

@Boss61, except we are not rebuilding. Teams can retool w/out rebuilding. There's nothing wrong with offering a short term contract to a 30+ tear old veteran.

Pip said...

I must've missed that, I thought he was a free agent. Thanks, however there are lots of guys with that skill set who could be had for little. Matt Dominguez, maybe?