ADAM FRAZIER, SHORTSTOP
|Born: December 14, 1991
Drafted: 6th Round, 179th Overall, 2013
How Acquired: Draft
College: Mississippi State
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Frazier played shortstop for Mississippi State, but he may profile better as a utility player. He has no power, failing to hit a homer in three years of college. He doesn’t have any standout tools, but has excellent instincts. He may be able to stick at shortstop in the pros due to his average glove and average arm. He draws his share of walks, doesn’t strike out often and has average speed. At the plate, he focuses on putting the bat on the ball and hitting gap-to-gap, rather than trying to drive the ball. The Pirates saw a lot of Frazier as he was teammates with first round pick Hunter Renfroe, whom they scouted heavily. He signed late due to the College World Series.
Frazier’s first pro season was as advertised: he did an excellent job of getting on base, made good contact, and didn’t hit for power. He had no platoon split to speak of. Frazier shared the middle infield positions with Michael Fransoso, but took the lion’s share of the time at short. It doesn’t look like he’s going to be a base stealer.
As they generally do with advanced college draftees, the Pirates moved Frazier up to Bradenton for his first full year. He started at short, pushing Max Moroff to second. Frazier struggled through the first two months, especially May, when he posted just a .481 OPS. He bounced back in June, hitting 355/394/430, but he tailed off again after that and finished with weak numbers. He managed only a .560 OPS against LHPs, but at .641 he wasn’t that much better against RHPs. He also struggled at time in the field, committing 36 errors.
Frazier missed the first month of the season due to a broken finger, then went to Altoona. By the time he got there, Gift Ngoepe was having a good season playing shortstop. The Pirates dealt with the situation by giving Frazier time in center field, which should increase his ability to fill a utility role. He mostly played center during JaCoby Jones’ stay in Altoona. After Jones was traded and Ngoepe promoted, Frazier went back to playing short primarily and in fact made the most appearances there. At the plate he had a breakout season. A lot of it was fueled by a .424 average in June, but he still hit .283 in his worst month. He would have won the Eastern League batting title, but it went to a player who didn’t have the minimum plate appearances but still had a higher average than Frazier if enough ABs were added to his total. Frazier’s number were driven by a .360 BABIP that he isn’t likely to be able to produce consistently, but his “true” level may not be far off from his 2015 production. He had a mild platoon split, with an OPS of .815 against RHPs and .761 against LHPs. Altoona’s ballpark, a pitchers venue, doesn’t seem to have helped him, as he had a .701 OPS at home and .906 on the road.
Frazier continued hitting very well in AAA while spending most of his time in the outfield, primarily left. In late June, the Pirates called Frazier up and he stayed with them the rest of the year in a utility role. In the field, he mainly alternated between second and left, although he got a few starts in right and at third. He hit very well initially and was batting 356/396/578 at the end of July, although his playing time was very limited as Clint Hurdle seemed reluctant to give him many starts. Frazier had just a .583 OPS in August, although still in very limited playing time. With the team beset by injuries, though, he got 14 starts and appeared in 27 games in September and October, putting up a .722 OPS. He seldom hit against LHPs, but still went 10-for-24 against them. He showed decent plate discipline and did not swing and miss much. He showed respectable power even though he generally tries to hit the ball on a low trajectory; in spite of that, his groundball rate of 43.8% wasn’t remarkably high. Frazier was helped by a high .353 BABIP, but he had a BABIP of .369 in AAA and .360 in AA in 2015, so he may be able to sustain at least some of it. Defensively, he had problems with errors and other mistakes at every position he played, but judging by the fielding metrics (albeit in very small sample sizes) his range was average or better. It’s possible he needs time to adapt to a utility role.
Frazier appears to have won a spot on the Pirates’ bench, which is a departure from their habit of preferring sub-replacement level veterans like Michael Martinez and John McDonald. The team doesn’t seem to regard him as a shortstop, as he didn’t play there in the majors. That could change, though, with Sean Rodriguez gone.
|2017: Major league minimum
|Signing Bonus: $240,600
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut: 6/24/2016
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible: 2022
Rule 5 Eligible: 2016
Added to 40-Man: 6/24/2016
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.101
|June 7, 2013: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 6th round, 179th overall pick; signed on July 3.
June 24, 2016: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.