Pittsburgh Pirates’ Utility Man Adam Frazier might not be an all-star or MVP candidate, but he’s extremely reliable and consistent year in year out.
I have never seen a more consistent Pittsburgh Pirates batter than Adam Frazier that I can remember during my lifetime. In terms of his overall performance, he is extremely consistent, but what intrigues me is how exactly he gets there. Every single year, you know how he’s going to perform in the first half and second half. You know what his bottom line results are going to be, and you know how he will be defensively.
Frazier was brought up in 2016 as a utility man rookie. He only received 160 plate appearances, but put up some solid numbers hitting .301/.356/.411 with a 105 OPS+ and 109 wRC+. He struck out just 16.3% of the time. Overall, his numbers were solid, and he played at least a dozen innings at four different positions. He saw time in both corner outfield spots, second base, and third base. Although he didn’t really post good numbers at any of those positions, he wasn’t really a detriment on defense.
2017 was the first year Frazier got an extended look in the majors. He didn’t put up quite as good of numbers compared to his 2016 rookie campaign, but he posted a respectable .276/.344/.399 line, 97 OPS+ and wRC+ through 454 plate appearances. Frazier was able to lower his strikeout rate even more to an impressive 12.6% rate while keeping a near identical walk rate (7.5% to 7.9%). Frazier mainly played left field this year as Starling Marte was out half of the year due to a PED suspension. He posted pretty solid numbers there with +6 DRS, a .9 UZR and 2.1 range runs above average. However, he also saw an ample amount of time at 2B, but was pretty bad there with -6 DRS,-3.8 UZR, and just .2 range runs above average.
So far, 2018 has been Adam Frazier’s best offensive season in the bigs. Through 352 plate appearances, Frazier hit .277/.342/.456. This was his best power season so far as he crushed 10 long balls, had a .456 slugging, and .179 isolated slugging percentage. All told, he posted his highest OPS+ and wRC+ at 118 and 116. This time around, Frazier was a decent defensive 2B with +4 DRS, 1.4 UZR and r range runs above average. He did play some time in the outfield with +3 DRS, -1.2 UZR and 0 range runs above average.
After his breakout campaign in 2018, Frazier earned himself a starting role as the Pirates’ primary 2B in 2019. He received 608 plate appearances, and his batting numbers looked pretty similar to 2017 as he turned in a .278/.336/.417 line, and 98/97 OPS+/wRC+. Frazier strictly played second base this time around and was a Gold Glove finalist. Though he had -1 DRS, he had a solid 2.9 UZR, 1.6 range runs above average and +11 outs above average.
Now throughout all of these seasons, Frazier has a combined .279/.342/.420 line, 103 OPS+ and wRC+. His lowest wRC+ was 97 in both 2017 and 2019, and his highest mark was 116 in 2018, but in far fewer plate appearances than ‘17 and ‘19. You essentially know how Frazier is going to produce. Solid BA and OBP, not too much power, but decent defense in the corners, and at second base.
But what makes Frazier so consistent is the fact he always struggles in the first half just to have a decent second half. In 2017, he hit .255/.333/.353 with an 85 wRC+ in the first half just to finish out the season hitting .304/.360/.462 with a 115 wRC+. 2018 saw Frazier start out with a .239/.323/.355 line and 89 wRC+. But down the stretch, he hit for an outstanding .306/.357/.533 line and 138 wRC+. So far, 2019 has been his most consistent year. He hit .287/.341/.416 with a 97 wRC+ through his first 339 plate appearances to end the year hitting .266/.330/.418 with an identical 97 wRC+. However, Frazier really struggled through the first three months with a 75 wRC+ from April through June and then hit for a 120 wRC+ through the final three months.
This year really hasn’t been any different for Frazier. From the beginning of the season up through the Pirates’ 30 game mark, Frazier was hitting just .202/.242/.325 with a 51 wRC+. However since then, he’s hit for a really solid .267/.393/.333 line with a 112 wRC+. Though he’s seen a dip in power even for him, Frazier has walked at an outstanding rate of 15.1% of the time in his last 73 plate appearances. For Frazier, that’s really good considering his single season walk percentage is 8.2%. With a career 4.8 base running runs above average, if Frazier can keep up a solid walk rate, that could really help his value.
As you’d expect, Frazier is giving the Bucs pretty good defense up the middle. At second, Frazieer has +3 DRS, +2 UZR, .7 range runs above average, and +4 outs above average. He’s also seen time in left field after not playing it for an entire season, and it seems he has only gotten better with +2 DRS, 1.2 UZR, and 1 range run above average.
While you always need a few big hitters in your line-up to win, having a guy like Frazier is always something that any team will welcome. He’s also been consistently healthy as well. He’s only ever had two, 10-day injured list stints through his 5 years of playing. Adam Frazier is dependable for solid defense at second base, and the corner outfield, and overall league average production at the plate. Some team this off season will find that attractive as the Pirates look to shop him to make room for all their young middle infielders