On July 20, I wrote about Todd Frazier’s three-week free fall. Unfortunately, the subsequent 17 games have provided more evidence that we’re seeing a replay of Frazier’s 2014 season. Since July 20, the Reds’ third baseman has hit .188/.250/.333 with a wRC+ of 57. Frazier continues to swing at pitches outside the strike zone at a record pace. His overall swing rate is alsoÃ‚Â the highest of his career.
Frazier hasn’t hit a home run since July 25 and hasn’t even had an extra-base hit of any kind in the last nine games.
The major league infield pop-up rate is 9.4 percent. In 2013 (7.4) and 2014 (8.8) Todd Frazier had pop-up rates below league average. However, during his recent slump, Frazier’s infield fly rate has been 26.4 percent. That’s more that one quarter of his balls in play he’s hitting pop-ups. Over that time, Frazier’s line drive rate (15.5%) has been significantly below league average (21.0%) — even lower than Billy Hamilton (19.5%).
Let’s compare three notorious stretches for Reds hitters this year: Jay Bruce’s start of the season, Joey Votto’s lost wallet and Frazier’s summer free fall.Ã‚Â A few observations:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Note similar durations. And that Frazier’s hasn’t reached an end-point.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ It’s wrong to connect Todd Frazier’s slump to the Home Run Derby or the All-Star game. It had begun two weeks prior to the break.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Bruce and Votto were able to maintain a decent walk-rate during their slumps, while Frazier didn’t walk even one time. That explains the gap in total contribution to scoring runs (wRC+) in the far right column. Remember kids, plate discipline = runs.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Opponents are pitching around Joey Votto, contributing to his insane OBP performance. Votto has walked in 30 percent of his plate appearances since the break. But it’s not just walks for Votto, he is also batting .468 with an ISO of .306.
Todd Frazier will eventually start hitting again. Maybe tonight. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce recovered from their bad stretches and Super Todd will too. He did last year. The important point about Frazier’s slump is for the club and fans to keep their expectations in check. Frazier is prone to extreme hot and cold streaks, just like the other core players. The club ought to rethink it’s valuation that made Jay Bruce (28, controlled through 2017) readily available in the trade market while Frazier (29, controlled through 2017) was declared off the table.