Okay, so it’s the wrong Frazier/Frasier. The point is, if you were lucky (or smart) enough to grab Todd Frazier to hold down the hot corner in any of your fantasy leagues, then your mind was at least at ease. While he was ranked in the top 25 for third basemen this year — albeit barely, coming in at 23rd — that does not do him justice.
Frazier accumulated a 5×5 line of 19 home runs, 55 runs, 67 RBIs, a solid .273 batting average and even stole three bases too. Normally those numbers wouldn’t be worth noting from a corner infielder, however Frazier racked up those counting stats in just 422 at-bats spread across 128 games. That is fewer AB’s than anyone above him with the exception of Jose Bautista.
The breakdown of Frazier’s production is the most curious part of his 2012 campaign. Below is a table of his home and road splits.
In essentially the same number of plate appearances, Frazier hit much better away from the cozy confines of Great American Ballpark. His platoon split wasn’t much to consider, as he hit right-handed pitchers at a 117 wRC+ and left-handed pitchers to the tune of a 128 wRC+ mark. The big difference, as usual when numbers are broken up into small sample size, is BABIP. At home he posted a below average .289 and on the road he had a .342 BABIP (we’ll dive into his projection in an upcoming series in conjunction with FanGraphs+). With barely 230 PA’s for both home and away, I’m willing to write off the nearly 100 point OPS difference as statistical noise. After all, Great American Park is a strong right-handed hitters park.
Another remarkable achievement by Frazier was his extra-base hits that weren’t home runs. In addition to his 19 dingers, he also cranked 26 doubles and six — yes, six — triples. Six triples ties Frazier with Andrew McCutchen, Ichiro Suzuki and Ben Revere. As a final tidbit, Frazier hit more triples than Carlos Gonzalez.
Frazier’s ability to drive runner’s in despite hitting down in the order is another strong accomplishment. He most commonly hit seventh, occasionally sixth, and still was able to rack up a respectable RBI thanks to his .225 ISO, good for the fourth best mark on his team (minimum 400 PA’s). As a whole, MLB third basemen hit a mere 100 wRC+ and posted a .320 wOBA. Frazier’s 120 and .354 marks, respectively, blow those out of the water.
For context, Frazier received 70 less plate appearances than Alex Rodriguez but still managed to post more RBI’s and more home runs. Frazier also had more RBI’s, home runs, hits and posted a higher wOBA than Pablo Sandoval in a similar number of PA’s. He tied Kevin Youkilis in home runs and hit 40 points higher than him too. All of those names are known and highly owned fantasy third basemen and Frazier posted numbers that beat out many of them.
Frazier displayed a league average walk rate that worked well to serve his excellent power hit home runs and doubles as well as surprising speed to leg out triples and nab the (very) rare base. All told, over the course of a single season Frazier went from undrafted and unknown to being sought after and viable at the third base position.