On yesterday’s episode of FanRag Fantasy Baseball, I started the countdown of my top 10 sleepers, busts and outliers. Taking the bottom spot on the sleepers list was Adam Frazier, while Manuel Margot kicked off the busts countdown. My featured outlier player was Jake Odorizzi, whose ability to limit exit velocity did not show up in last season’s stats.
It’s understandable that owners would be keeping Frazier out of the top 400 in NFBC ADP, given that he doesn’t have much power and will be hitting in a depleted Pirates lineup. One thing that Frazier should have, however, is playing time. If you like Raimel Tapia and wish he had a clearer path to regular play, consider targeting Frazier. Both are line drive hitters with batting average and mild stolen base (mid-teens) potential, but Frazier should play far more regularly. He also should strike out less and offer slightly more power. Oh, and he’s second-base eligible.
As for why I’m more pessimistic on Margot than many early drafters, I provided my explanation on the show, along with in-depth discussions of Frazier and Odorizzi.
One player I did not discuss on the show was Todd Frazier, as his signing with the Mets occurred after we went off the air. Here’s a spoiler: Adam’s not the only Frazier to crack my top 10 sleepers list. As my RotoGraphs colleague Alex Chamberlain has noted, the Toddfather’s ADP has plunged from its 2017 level, because, well, 2017 wasn’t that great for him.
todd frazier ADP / EOS
2014: 234 / 18
2015: 48 / 33
2016: 41 / 44
2017: 77 / 215*
2018: 286 / ___
*5-year low PA, BABIP, AVG; career-best BB%
could probably make a long thread of nonsense overreactions, but i won’t
— Alex Chamberlain (@DolphHauldhagen) February 6, 2018
More specifically, 2017 wasn’t great for the fantasy version of Todd Fraizer. His wOBA actually crept up from .326 to .335, thanks in large part to an enormous spike in his walk rate. However, his 27 homers were his lowest total in four years, and he missed out on 80 runs and 80 RBIs for the first time in four years as well.
A common link between Frazier’s real-world improvement and fantasy decline was a mammoth drop in his swing rate, from 46.7 to 40.2 percent. The less aggressive approach helped to get Frazier on base more often, but it also robbed him of opportunities to mash taters. If he regresses towards his normal swing rate, he should get back in the 30-homer column. Also, while Citi Field will be by far his worst home venue in terms of park factor for home runs for a right-handed hitter, Frazier has not struggled to hit for power away from Great American Ball Park, Guaranteed Rate Field and Yankee Stadium. On the contrary, over the last three seasons, Frazier compiled a 14.8 percent HR/FB ratio at home while putting up an 18.5 percent mark on the road. That helped him to post a road Iso that was 40 points higher than his home Iso (.253 to .213).
Even with the expected improvement, Frazier ranks as my No. 20 third baseman, but that puts him ahead of several players at the position who are getting drafted ahead of him. I’d favor him over Ryon Healy, Evan Longoria, Maikel Franco and Matt Chapman, just to name a few.
Statistical credits: FanGraphs.