FanGraphs Scouting: Bird-Dogging Todd Frazier

Jim Fleming
Vice President Player Development/Scouting,
Assistant General Manager
Florida Marlins

Mr. Fleming:

I am writing you to report on a prospect who could make a positive impact on the 2011 Florida Marlins club, and its race for a playoff position. With veteran third baseman Scott Rolen signed to a very club-favorable contract through 2012, now is the time to strike with Cincinnati Reds prospect Todd Frazier. The Reds organization has a very strong bench and versatility to spare so Frazier is a luxury that the club can afford to part with. The Reds organization also has excellent upper-level infield depth with Juan Francisco, Zack Cozart and Chris Valaika. The club could be looking for pitching depth, especially in the bullpen.

Background: Frazier was a supplemental first-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds back in 2007. He spent three seasons at Rutgers University and also has two older brothers who have played pro ball: Charlie Frazier (a former sixth-round pick who spent six seasons with Florida, topping out in double-A) and Jeff Frazier (a former third-round pick who received a cup of coffee with the Detroit Tigers in 2010 after six seasons in that system). The younger Frazier, now 25, is currently in his second season of triple-A ball. In 2010, he hit .258/.333/.448 in 480 at-bats.

2011 Season: Frazier is having a solid 2011 season. He’s currently hitting .279/.357/.551 in 147 at-bats. His power really plays up against left-handed pitching and he has a .625 slugging percentage (10 of his 14 hits have been for extra bases) in 56 at-bats. After a slow start to the year (.232), Frazier has really picked things up and is hitting .338 in May. As he’s shown in his career, he does take a respectable number of walks (8.5 BB%). He’s struck out at a rate of 21.5 K% but his power output has been above-average so far (.278 ISO).

Scouting Strengths: Coming from a baseball family with a strong amateur reputation, Frazier has excellent baseball knowledge and understands the game. He is also known for having good makeup. Playing everyday at the MLB level, he could have a few 20-homer seasons but has more gap power and could pile up the doubles. He’s a solid all-around player who has a chance to be right-handed Eric Hinske (someone capable of playing multiple positions with some pop off the bench), at the very least. His defense at the hot corner has been inconsistent in the past but he has looked good there in 2011. He also has experience playing shortstop, second base, first base, right and left field. Frazier has average speed but is a heady baserunner who is capable of going first-to-third or stealing the odd base.

Scouting Weaknesses: Frazier’s power has never developed to the point where he’ll be an impact player at any of the corner infield or outfield positions. He is also overly aggressive at times and can be slow to adjust when pitchers find a way to exploit his weaknesses. He’s at his best when he uses the whole field but tends to get pull happy at times. Frazier has quick hips, which helps him get around on the ball. However, his balance is off because of his awkward stance. With less lower-half movement he could potentially make better contact. A more efficient weight transfer might help him hit for more consistent power. Defensively, he doesn’t have a standout tool — but he’s average in almost every respect. He doesn’t play second or shortstop well enough to be an everyday player at those positions, but could certainly handle them on a part-time or fill-in basis.

Projection: He could be an extremely valuable National League player thanks to his versatility and gap power. As mentioned, I see an Eric Hinske comp as the worst case scenario for Frazier. He’s been bounced around the diamond throughout his career and some defensive stability could help him reach his offensive potential of a 3-4 WAR player with average defense at third base or in left field. Frazier is excellent insurance for future third baseman Matt Dominguez (as well as Logan Morrison), and would be an immediate upgrade over Greg Dobbs and Wes Helms, both of whom are excellent role players but stretched as regular contributors.

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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12 years ago

I think this is the first write up of Frazier that didn’t mention the Little League World Series. This isn’t a criticism (this is a scouting report, and the success of his Little League team 15 years ago is a pretty useless anecdote for these purposes); it’s just usually the sort of thing that wriggles its way into the story

12 years ago
Reply to  Rick

^^ I guess you just had to do it.