Friday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates signed veteran corner infielder Todd Frazier, what role could he play for the Bucs in 2021?
While he is coming off a down season in 2020, veteran slugger Todd Frazier still has something to give to a MLB team. With that in mind, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed the corner infielder to a minor league deal on Friday.
The 35-year-old Frazier will be entering his 11th MLB season in 2021. A long time thorn in the side of the Pittsburgh Pirates during his first five MLB seasons when he was with the Cincinnati Reds, Frazier is a player Pirate fans know well.
Frazier split the 2020 season between the Texas Rangers and New York Mets, hitting for a .236/.302/.382 slash line to go with a 89 wRC+. He posted a 6.4% walk rate, 24.4% strikeout rate and collected extra base hits at an 8.9% rate.
One area where Frazier excelled in 2020 was hitting left-handed pitching and this could be his main role with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021. Frazier should make for a strong platoon partner with Colin Moran at first base.
Last season, Frazier hit for a .293/.359/.483 slash line against left-handed pitchers. He posted a 7.8% walk rate, a 132 wRC+ and an extra base hit rate of 12.1% in 64 plate appearances against LHPs.
This continued the career trend of Frazier’s of hitting well against LHPs. In 1248 career PAs against LHPs, Frazier has hit for a .248/.324/.491 slash line to go with a wRC+ of 119. He owns a strong 9.4% walk rate against lefties, to go with an extra base hit rate of 10.3%.
With the struggles Moran has had in his career agaisnt left-handed pitching, bringing in a platoon partner has seemed like an inevitable move. Adding Frazier to the fold fills this void for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Frazier will also serve as a strong bench bat for the Pirates on days he does not start. He can be used to pinch hit in a big spot late in the game, or to replace Moran defensively as Frazier is the better defensive first baseman of the two.
An ability to hit left-handed pitching is not the only role Frazier can play for the Pirates, however. The Bucs are a young team and Frazier can be a strong veteran clubhouse presence on a young team and good brain for young players to pick.
Assuming Frazier comes out and performs for the Pirates, then he could also play himself into being a good trade chip come July’s trade deadline. So, he could also aide the Bucs further as they continue their rebuild.