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Entries in Todd Frazier (2)


Todd Frazier Getting Beat Inside

Todd Frazier could do no wrong in 2012. Frazier took over third base from an ailing Scott Rolen and proceeded to hit no-handed home runs, save random Pittsburghers who bit off a little more than they could chew and finish third in NL Rookie of the Year voting. His 2013 season, by contrast, hasn't been nearly as heroic.

Frazier's slugging percentage has dipped by over 100 points (from .498 in 2012 to .391) for the Reds, who rank a middling 13th in the majors in runs scored despite Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo reaching base at the highest clip among NL hitters. A major reason why Frazier isn't driving in his teammates this year is that he's struggling against pitches thrown inside. He made pitchers pay when they tried to bust him in on the hands in 2012, but he's meekly grounding out on those pitches this season.

During his rookie year, Frazier slugged .585 versus inside pitches, tying him with Jose Reyes for the 12th-highest mark among major league hitters. In 2013, though? Frazier's slugging a mere .383 against inside stuff, which places him directly behind the banjo-strumming Elvis Andrus for 111th among qualified batters.

Frazier has lost his power stroke against inner-third pitches because he's rolling over far more often against those offerings this year. Here's Frazier's ground ball rate by location against inside pitches in 2012, and then in 2013.

Frazier's ground ball rate vs. inside pitches, 2012


Frazier's ground ball rate vs. inside pitches, 2013

Frazier hit a ground ball 30 percent of the time against inside pitches during his Jedi-homering, Heimlich Maneuver-performing 2012 campaign, well below the 32 percent MLB average. In 2013, however, Frazier has hit a grounder 46 percent of the time pitchers toss him something inside.

Given Frazier's issues on pitches tailing in on his hands, it might not come as a surprise that he's really scuffling against sinkers. He was basically a league average hitter against the pitch last year, but his ground ball rate on sinkers has spiked  (from 53 percent to 62 percent) and his slugging percentage has plummeted (from .436 to .243).

The Reds don't need Frazier to be Superman. But if the club is to keep pace with the Pirates and Cardinals in brutally competitive division and Wild Card races, they'll need their third baseman to overcome his inner-third Kryptonite.


Throw Frazier a Fastball at Your Own Peril

Todd Frazier scuffled as a utility man in 2011 and began this year in the minors, but the 26-year-old has turned into a key offensive cog for the Reds. Aside from auditioning for a spot on The Avengers by hitting a no-hands homer performing Heimlich heroics, Frazier has a 141 OPS+ that ranks second on the club behind Joey Votto.

Pitchers are quickly learning the perils of throwing Frazier a fastball. Five of his seven home runs have come against heaters, and he has one of the 15 highest slugging percentages in the NL against the pitch:

Highest slugging percentage vs. fastballs among NL batters

BatterSlugging Pct.
Matt Kemp 1.057
Alfonso Soriano .768
Melky Cabrera .710
Andrew McCutchen .696
Joey Votto .693
Tyler Colvin .689
Carlos Beltran .680
Carlos Gonzalez .674
Bryce Harper .661
David Wright .660
Yadier Molina .650
Todd Frazier .645
Norichika Aoki .644
Adam LaRoche .641
Ryan Braun .630
NL Avg. .463


Frazier became the Reds' regular third baseman when Scott Rolen went on the DL with pain in his oft-troublesome left shoulder. Rolen, whose poor hitting since 2011 is due largely to his decline against fastballs (he's slugging .343 versus heat since then), is expected to be activated as soon as today.

But don't fear, Reds fans. Considering his versatility (he has played every infield position in the majors, plus left field), the poor production of Cincy's left fielders (a collective .681 OPS) and Rolen's tenuous health, Frazier should continue to see regular ABs. Even Dusty Baker wouldn't bench a guy who can do this, right?