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 also 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. SlumpsA few observations:

• Note similar durations. And that Frazier’s hasn’t reached an end-point.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

19 Responses

  1. DavidTurner49

    Thanks for putting things in perspective Steve. Seems like fans have more patience with Frazier due to his personality. How have the fans at the home games responded during these three slumps? Booing Bruce and Votto more than Frazier?

      • greenmtred

        He hasn’t been getting on base much, lately, but it will certainly be a problem when he does and has to run the bases and bat simultaneously.

    • Tom Reed

      I must have missed it but I didn’t hear Marty declare Frazier elite.

      • peter ponds

        For what is worth, he just declares who isn’t anymore.:)

  2. jessecuster44

    Sorry – it’s the HR Derby curse. Todd will probably be on the cover of Madden ’16 as well.

    It’s a bad slump. Hope he breaks out of it tomorrow.

    • jdx19

      A few days late, but this is a funny post!

      Madden ’16 – Todd Frazier. Love it.

  3. Scot Lykins

    I did not think Frazier should be a part of rebuilding a new core of players for the Reds. And still don’t. Bruce should have already went at the deadline. The Reds need consistency. Is there a saber-stat for determining that?

    • greenmtred

      It probably doesn’t exist. Even great hitters are out more often than they are on base.

    • Shchi Cossack

      If the Reds decide (decided) to complete a full rebuild, both Frazier and Bruce should be (should have been? available for significant returns, including elite young hitting prospects. If the Reds are not commited to a full rebuild, but just a reload, then Bruce and Frazier will be necessary as integral options to be competitive in 2017. Both players are under team control at a reasonable cost through the 2017 season.

      Since WJ has proclaimed that the Reds will be competitive in 2017, that points to a reload as opposed to a rebuild. In such a situation, neither Bruce nor Frazier should be traded, at least until the 2017 trade deadline if the team is not competitive in 2017.

    • jdx19

      While ‘consistency’ can be measured, there is no SABR stat for it. (You could maybe look at standard deviation of changes in a 14-day moving average of wRC+ or somethign like and then rank guys based on how small their deviation is.)

      The idea of consistency is sort of opposite to what most of sabermetrics is about… randomness.

      However, with that said, the things that are not random, strike outs, walks, and homers, might give a sense of who is and isn’t ‘consistent’ in the eye of the beholder. Perhaps people with high walk rates and low strike out rate (few and far between) could be considered ‘consistent?’

      Even with an average to high K-rate, if you can maintain a high walk rate, it helps even out the bad stretches (see Votto, Joey).

  4. old-school

    I remember Barry Larkin had atrocious April’s and embarrassing West coast road trips on defense, LA in particular. Votto has re-established himself as an elite player after several years of injuries and is once again one of the toughest outs in baseball. Frazier and Bruce will produce the next 2 years at current levels which provides value to the Reds. The injuries to Mesoraco and Cozart are a shame as both seemed to be poised for a good run of solid baseball. Their health determines a lot looking at 2016 and perhaps Jocketty wanted more time to see their progress before deciding on 2016 and what to do with Chapman and Bruce( and yes….Byrd). I’d love to have Alex Gordon in left field in 2016. He would be the piece to add if Jocketty and BC were serious about contending in 16/17. That team could create runs and play great defense. Its also time to be creative. Use Hamilton and Suarez in 2016 as super-subs and immediately the bench depth is the best in years.

    • Scot Lykins

      This team has bigger problems than can be solved by adding a single player. Suarez is better offensively than Cozart. Frazier, Bruce, Votto, and Messoraco have proven to be streaky players. Hamilton off the bench would be useless. He can’t pinch hit and would only be good as a late inning defensive player.