The New York Mets last week agreed to terms on a 2 year, $17 million deal with Todd Frazier. That was a very good signing by Sandy Alderson, and I’ll spend some time addressing why that is the case. But first, for those of you worried about the Free Agent market and the lack of action in it – teams are unwilling to offer big contracts, and players are players possibly having to settle for less money. The contract that Frazier signed is probably the best representation of that.
Carlos Santana, Lorenzo Cain, Wade Davis, Zack Cozart, Tyler Chatwood, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, Brandon Morrow and several other free agents got fair deals, they have nothing to complain about, and Eric Hosmer has just signed a decent deal with the Padres too.
Going back to Frazier, there is no question he got underpaid, both in years and money. There are several factors that might have played a role in that, but I think the most plausible explanation is the fact we now have surplus of third base talent in the game, resulting in very few possible landing spots, giving him a thin market.
Todd Frazier is as consistent a player as you’ll see on the open market. He has played at least 147 games in each of his last 5 seasons. Since hitting for a .273 batting average in 2 of his first 3 full seasons (12-14) he has seen his AVG steadily decline:
That could be a cause for a concern, except for the fact that as his average has declined, his power (ISO) and walk rate (BB%) has increased.
Therefore making up for most of the value he might have lost.
What I’m trying to say here is you shouldn’t make too much of the .213 average he had this year, as he still gave pretty good value. 3.0 WAR in 2017. His defense is good, which helps his overall value, and to illustrate that I’ll cite the example of JD Martinez.
Looking from 2014-17, 2014 is the year Martinez moved to Detroit and turned his career around. Here are his numbers in comparison to Frazier.
300/362/574 .274 ISO
134.0 wRAA .392 wOBA 148 wRC+
243/333/464 .221 ISO
46.8 wRAA .338 wOBA 113 wRC+
It’s more than clear that Martinez is a far better hitter, but when you look at WAR, Martinez created 14.6 WAR and Frazier created 14.8.
While the average fan or any analyst that’s “down” on WAR, may use that as a way to knock the stat, saying that it doesn’t make any sense, The proper thing to do is analyze the numbers and see why Frazier is ahead and doing it so you’ll quickly understand the reason behind it.
Hitting is one of the 3 aspects of a position player’s WAR, the other 2 are base running and defense, who often get overlooked, look at how both /players fare in those categories.
-11.4 Base Running
-23.9 Positional Adjustments.
Hence -42.8 Defense.
2.9 Base Running
3.3 Positional Adjustment
Hence 17.1 Defense
For the newest Red Sox they are all negative when as for the newest Met, they are all positive, which affects significantly their WAR numbers. Take all off this into account and at $8.5m per year over 2 seasons you are getting a bargain.
Based on all of this information, you get a decent idea of what Frazier is going to give the Mets in these next couple of years, but to complete our analysis, let’s take a look at his projections for 2018.
According to Steamer:
227/318/436 Slash Line
10.6 BB% 22.8 K% .209 ISO
0.8 wRAA .323 wOBA 104 wRC+
This is a very conservative projection, betting on some regression across the board, and in the event, he produces at this level, he’ll easily return the investment made on him and then some.
I’m a fan of the Zips’ projections, but i couldn’t find them for Frazier as a Met, so i’ll just use the one from Frazier as a Yankee.
249/334/482 Slash Line
10.3 BB% 22.3 K% .233 ISO
5.7 RC/27 .345 wOBA 115 wRC+
If he produces at that rate, Sandy Alderson should be ecstatic. My educated guess is that he will fall somewhere in the middle of these two and provide the Mets with one of the best value signs of this free agent market.
Low to mid 200’s AVG
Low to mid 300’s OBP
Mid 400’s SLG
That’s around what you should expect from The Todd Father.