Pittsburgh Pirates: Potential Role for Todd Frazier


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.

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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.