A Todd Frazier Quiz

The Mets signed Todd Frazier yesterday, for two years and $17 million. One interpretation is that this is evidence of how the current free-agent market has cratered. Frazier, over the past three years, has been worth 10 WAR, and he just posted by far his best-ever walk rate. Another interpretation is that this is evidence of how badly Frazier wanted to remain in New York. He’s already got enough money to live on, and this way he’s still close to home, with a starting job on a potentially competitive team. You might say the Mets are kind of caught in the middle, but that’s not as bad a position as it sounds. Teams in the middle can over-achieve. The Mets are in the right place to invest.

The Frazier acquisition does get in the way of Wilmer Flores‘ playing time. Flores has been a fairly good hitter lately, and he’s still just 26. Perhaps this is only a lateral move, then, but really, Flores can still play; now he’s been turned into quality depth. He’s a better hitter than Jose Reyes, and he can help out at first should Adrian Gonzalez or Dominic Smith under-perform. The Mets now are better and deeper, and, compared to Flores, Frazier’s the superior defender.

That is one thing that gets lost: Frazier is a fine defender. He’s going to help the infield. But it gets lost in large part because Frazier is known for his pop. Over the past three years, only 11 players have hit more home runs, and Frazier’s sandwiched between Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Frazier puts the ball in the air, and those have a tendency to carry. Frazier’s a home-run hitter, and that skill isn’t about to go away.

At the same time, over that three-year span, Frazier’s managed a paltry .247 BABIP. For the sake of comparison, Albert Pujols is at .242, and Jose Bautista’s at .243. It’s true that Frazier isn’t fast, and it’s true that Frazier gets air under the ball. But it’s more than that — Frazier hits an extreme number of infield flies. Since 2015, he’s hit ten more than the guy in second, and he’s hit 20 more than the guy in third. Todd Frazier has a proven pop-up problem, as shown in the following plot.

Again, it doesn’t matter, provided you don’t care how a pretty good player becomes a pretty good player. Frazier wouldn’t be any better if all those infield flies were strikeouts or grounders. Players are the sum of their skills, and Frazier has enough solid skills to get by. Yet this pop-up issue can’t just be ignored. In any given season, it’s not clear whether Frazier will finish with more homers or pop-ups. Each stat gives the other a run for its money, and Mets fans are about to do a lot of craning of their necks. So, in honor of Frazier’s pop-ups and pop, which are the twin function of his sometimes unconventional swing, I’ve prepared a little quiz.

It’s really quite simple. There are ten questions, and, for each poll, there’s a set of two screenshots. One shows the approximate moment of contact, and the other comes a few split-seconds later. You are to choose from two options: Are you seeing a Todd Frazier home run, or are you seeing a Todd Frazier pop-up? As a hint, note that I’ve included five homers and five pop-ups. Use that as a guideline, if you need it. For now, my work here is done. Godspeed and good luck.











Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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6 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Sullivan

At 10 minutes after this post was up, the crowd is wrong on screenshots 4, 6, 7 and 8.

6 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Sullivan

I got 6 and 10 wrong