Adam Frazier Is an On-Base Machine
Last night, the Pittsburgh Pirates became the third team in history to mash back-to-back-to-back jacks in extra innings. They scored seven runs in the 10th and final frame as they completed the come-from-behind victory.
But, if it's not too much to ask, forget about that madness for a second. Instead, let's turn our attention to this bad man.
Adam Frazier hits a three-run home run to deep right field to extend the Pirates' lead to 5-0 in the top of the 2nd inning!! #LetsGoBucs pic.twitter.com/1ld1pmQCFo
â€” TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) May 25, 2017
Unless you're a Pittsburgh resident, you probably don't know who that dude is. In case your volume's off and you didn't read the title, he goes by Adam Frazier.
Making A Name
Last night, this Frazier guy came up to the plate six times and reached base on all six occasions. And the way in which he did so was nothing short of historical.
#Pirates Adam Frazier is the first leadoff man with at least four walks and two hits, including a homer, in a game in the last 100 years.
â€” Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) May 25, 2017
If that wasn't good enough, Frazier followed up last night's performance with the above three-run bomb in Pittsburgh's 9-4 win over the Atlanta Braves today.
Impressive, yet nothing new here. Just another day at the office for Mr. Frazier.
After appearing in 66 games and making 160 plate appearances in 2016, Frazier is now in the midst of his first full season in the bigs. And, boy, has it been fruitful. Through 28 games and 112 plate appearances, the 25-year-old is hitting .361 with an on-base percentage of .446 and a weighted on-base average (wOBA) of .415, according to FanGraphs data.
In looking at FanGraphs' batting leaderboard, Frazier's name is nowhere to be found, though. He simply hasn't had enough plate appearances to qualify, because of a nagging hamstring injury. However, among players with 100 or more plate appearances, Frazier ranks 3rd in batting average, 7th in on-base percentage, 17th in wOBA and 17th in weighted runs created-plus (159).
A lot of this success can be attributed to Frazier's current hot streak, during which he's safely reached base 46.8% of the time thanks in large part to a walk rate of 14.5% since returning to the lineup back on May 12th.
The last 10 games? Even better. Dating back to May 16th, Frazier has a .432 average and .522 on-base percentage, amounting to a wOBA of .519 -- still among the top players with at least 30 plate appearances in that time frame.
How's he doing it?
Behind the Approach
For starters, Frazier is really good against both righties and lefties, although the sample size versus southpaws is pretty small.
Prior to today's game, when facing lefties, 35.7% of Frazier's batted balls have been the line-drive variety, and 71.4% have been either medium or hard contact. Again, the sample size is very small, but it's still impressive.
As opposed to pulling the ball 42.9% of the time against southpaws, Frazier has distributed the ball pretty evenly against righties. He's pulled the ball just 20% of the time while hitting it to center or left on 80% of contact. Only 18.5% of his batted balls have been what we'd call soft-hit, compared to a hard-hit rate of 32.3% against right-handed hurlers.
Hitting the ball hard and having a good approach is one thing, but consistently doing it with two strikes is another -- and that's what he's done. In all two-strike counts, Frazier is getting on base at a clip of 41.1% while hitting to a wOBA of .391 and a wRC+ of 143 (fifth in the majors as of May 24th).
Does it seem fluky that Frazier has seemingly come out of nowhere as one of the best hitters in the league? Sure it does. But is this dude here to stay? Time will tell. Batted-ball stats vary in terms of when they start to stabilize while his 12.1% walk rate is approaching the typical stabilization point. Either way, through 94 games and 272 plate appearances, Frazier has certainly put up some intriguing numbers.