TODD FRAZIER, FIRST BASEMAN
|Born: February 12, 1986
Drafted: Supp. 1st Round, 34th Overall, 2007 (Reds)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
Agents: CAA Sports
WTM’s PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Frazier made a career out of being a power-oriented hitter with limited on-base skills. He always had good power to all fields, and had a big spike in his late 20s. Drafted as a shortstop, he was never regarded as having the range to play there. The Reds eventually shifted him around between first, third and left as he came up through the minors, as they generally had players potentially blocking him at all of those positions. He eventually settled in at third and became an above-average defensive player. He never ran well, but for part of his career was a moderate base-stealing threat. He’s slowed down more recently and is now one of the slower players in MLB. He probably also is below-average at third now. For his career, he’s had a mild platoon split, with an .815 OPS against LHPs and .751 against RHPs. The split has, however, become much more pronounced in the last two years. The Pirates signed Frazier to a minor league contract for 2021.
Playing shortstop, Frazier had little trouble with lower-level pitching in his debut. Baseball America rated him the top prospect in the Pioneer League.
The Reds sent Frazier back to low A to open the season, but after he dominated through 30 games they moved him up to the Florida State League. He hit well there, too, with an OPS 104 points above league average. He played mostly short, but also saw time at first and third, and in left. BA rated him the Reds’ second best prospect after the season.
Frazier spent most of the season in AA and hit very well. He continued to do so after a late-season promotion to AAA. The Reds played him mostly in left because they thought that’s where their need would be in the majors, but they eventually changed their view and Frazier moved to the infield corners. BA named him the team’s top prospect despite the concerns about a position.
Frazier spent the entire season in AAA. He had a very rough first two months, but after that hit about like he always had. He continued to move around, playing left the most, but also first and third. The Reds didn’t add him to the 40-man roster until after the season.
With Scott Rolen at third; Joey Votto at first; and Jay Bruce, Chris Heisey and Jonny Gomes in the outfield corners, the Reds sent Frazier back to AAA at the start of the season. He got called up in May and made one pinch-hit appearance, then came back in late July when Rolen got hurt. He stayed with the Reds through the rest of the season, playing semi-regularly in August. Frazier played mostly at third for the Reds, but made appearances at all the other infield positions and also in left. He showed good power in the majors, but didn’t make contact consistently.
With Rolen hanging on for his final season, the Reds again sent Frazier to AAA, but they called him up after ten games. Rolen and Votto both missed time with injuries, so Frazier ended up serving as a corner utility player, eventually playing most of the time, including a little in left. He hit well, showing good power.
With Rolen gone, Frazier became the regular at third. His hitting dropped off some.
Frazier stepped up his offense, with increased power and surprising success at base stealing. With Votto missing over half the season, Frazier played first a quarter of the time.
Frazier had a big power season, at the cost of some on-base ability. The Reds traded him to the White Sox after the season as part of a three-team deal.
Setting career highs in home runs and strikeouts, Frazier became more of a one-dimensional slugger. The limited value of this sort of profile is evident from his fWAR, which was only 2.8.
Frazier continued along the same lines, although he started drawing more walks. Becoming more selective while looking for a pitch to drive is a common pattern with older, power-oriented hitters as their reflexes slow. The White Sox traded him to the Yankees near the deadline and he hit about the same at both locations. After the season, Frazier became a free agent and signed with the Mets.
With the Mets, Frazier slid downhill on offense. Injuries may have played a role, as he suffered a strained hamstring and a strained rib cage muscle. Each one cost him roughly a month.
Frazier more or less bounced back to previous levels. He missed several weeks with a strained oblique. After the season, Frazier became a free agent and signed a one-year deal with Texas, with a team option for a second year.
Frazier alternated between first and third with the Rangers. At the end of August, they traded him to the Mets, with whom he strictly played third. His hitting fell off at both stops. The Mets declined his option after the season.
The Pirates signed Frazier primarily to be a right-handed option at first base. With Ke’Bryan Hayes at third, there didn’t figure to be much need there. Frazier’s signing seemed to block Phillip Evans, but at the end of spring training, the Pirates went with Evans due to superior versatility. Frazier opted out of his contract, but evidently wasn’t able to find a major league deal anywhere. He re-signed with the Pirates on a minor league deal a few days later.
UPDATE: The Pirates called Frazier up in late April when they designated Dustin Fowler for assignment. The move probably was probably driven in part by Ke’Bryan Hayes aggravating his wrist injury. Frazier put up a miserable 086/200/114 batting line in 13 games, and the Pirates designated him for assignment to make room for Ben Gamel.
|2021: Minor league salary ($1,500,000 if in majors)
|Signing Bonus: $825,000
MiLB Debut: 2007
MLB Debut: 5/23/2011
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2021
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: November 19, 2010
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2011)
MLB Service Time: 9.071
|June 8, 2004: Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 37th round, 1100th overall pick.
June 8, 2007: Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the supplemental 1st round, 34th overall pick; signed on July 5.
November 19, 2010: Contract purchased by the Cincinnati Reds.
December 16, 2015: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Chicago White Sox as part of a three-team deal; the White Sox sent Frankie Montas, Trayce Thompson and Micah Johnson to the Los Angeles Dodgers; the Dodgers sent Jose Peraza, Brandon Dixon and Scott Schebler to the Reds.
July 18, 2017: Traded by the Chicago White Sox with David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to the New York Yankees for Tyler Clippard, Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo.
November 2, 2017: Became a free agent.
February 7, 2018: Signed as a free agent by the New York Mets.
October 31, 2019: Became a free agent.
January 15, 2020: Signed as a free agent by the Texas Rangers.
August 31, 2020: Traded by the Texas Rangers to the New York Mets for a player to be named later; PTBNL designated on December 18 as Ryder Ryan
October 28, 2020: Option declined by New York Mets; became a free agent
February 19, 2021: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
March 27, 2021: Became a free agent.
March 30, 2021: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
April 22, 2021: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
May 10, 2021: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.