Ever since being promoted to the Major Leagues on June 24th, Adam Frazier has done nothing but hit. This raises the question, should he get more starts?
Adam Frazier is about a month into his Major League career and he has done nothing but hit. Through his first 34 career plate appearances Adam Frazier has been one of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ best hitters. So, should he be getting more starts for the Pirates?
The debate over Adam Frazier getting more starts or not is not just due to his success at the plate. Also factoring into this debate is how much Josh Harrison has struggled at the plate this season. While Josh Harrison has played a strong defensive second base this season, his offense has not been up to par.
After collecting three hits in Sunday’s victory over the Washington Nationals Adam Frazier is now slashing .355/.412/.548/.960 this season to go along with a .408 wOBA and a 161 wRC+. He also has an excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3:3. Adam Frazier has also stolen four bases, and has already accumulated a 0.4 WAR.
As for Josh Harrison, his first season as the Pirates’ everyday second baseman has not gone well offensively. Harrison is slashing .270/.299/.368/.667 with a .289 wOBA, 80 wRC+, and a strikeout-to-walk ration of just 49:11. As I said above, Harrison has still played a strong defensive second base posting a 1.9 dWAR this season. However, due to offensive struggles, his overall WAR is just 0.6.
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Josh Harrison has five defensive runs saved and an UZR/150 of 2.0 at second base this season. However, Adam Frazier has been no slouch at second base either. Since being promoted to the Major Leagues, Frazier has one defensive run saved and an 11.5 UZR/150. So both Harrison and Frazier are strong defensive second basemen.
So if the Pirates were to give more starts to Adam Frazier, they would be getting more offensive production from the second base position while still getting strong defense. This would also allow Clint Hurdle and the Pirates to shift Josh Harrison back to the super utility role he did so well in during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. This is also the role the Pirates envisioned Harrison in when they extended him last April.
Adam Frazier has also hit the ball with more authority this season (.194 ISO vs .098) than Josh Harrison has. Frazier is also a much more patient hitter, and has a better contact rate than Josh Harrison. Adam Frazier has also swung at just 24.2 percent of pitches he has seen out of the strike zone this year, as opposed to Harrison who has swung at nearly 38 percent of pitches out of the zone.
Should Adam Frazier be getting more starts at second base for the Pittsburgh Pirates? In my opinion, that is a real debate right now. Frazier has done nothing but hit since being promoted to the Major Leagues, and his defense has been strong at second base as well.
While I am not necessarily saying Adam Frazier should become the Pittsburgh Pirates’ everyday second baseman over Josh Harrison, I do think Frazier should play more often. Adam Frazier has done nothing but hit, get on base, and has been a spark plug for the Pirate offense. This is something the Pirates can use while in the midst of a pennant race.