January 3, 2013
The Keeper Reaper
First, Third, and DH for 1/3/12
A late start and slow fade kept Todd Frazier from doing better in the Rookie of the Year balloting, but the Reds’ third baseman still had a fine season, earning $13 in NL-only leagues and $2 in mixed leagues. From the start of May to the end of August, Frazier hit .290/.347/.540 with 18 homers in 369 plate appearances. Among players with at least 450 plate appearances for the season, his .225 overall ISO ranked him 27th overall and sixth among third base qualifiers.
Even better, he lifted his walk rate from 5.8 percent in 121 plate appearances in 2011 to 7.7 percent in 2012. As Kevin Goldstein noted in his Future Shock before last season, Frazier “needs both walks and power to make up for his below-average hitting skills.”
He remains an aggressive swinger, in the top 35 players in swing rate on both strikes and balls, and his league-average contact rate will continue to dilute his batting average unless he can develop more patience.
On the other hand, his reasonable 13.2 percent HR/FB rate suggests that his power is for real and not luck-assisted, while his solid 22 percent line drive rate shows that he’s hitting the ball hard when he does make contact. Fantasy owners will also like his eligibility at either infield corner, though he’s obviously worth more at third base. With the departure of Scott Rolen to either free agency or retirement, Frazier should get a full season to show his stuff at third base, where he has the skills to be a modest fantasy asset, especially in the power department. The scarcity of both third basemen and power makes him a good keep in deeper leagues, but his modest ceiling and still-developing skill set keep him from consideration for other owners.