Does Todd Frazier Make the White Sox Contenders in the AL Central?
The Cubs aren't the only team in Chicago that knows how to have a little offseason fun.
On Wednesday, the White Sox traded for one of the National League's best power hitters, All-Star and Home Run Derby champion Todd Frazier, in a three-way deal with the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers. And with the addition of Brett Lawrie earlier in the offseason, they have remade the left side of their infield and may have turned themselves contenders to win the wide-open American League Central.
Frazier is likely to be the best power hitter to be traded this off-season, and he will be a much-needed addition for the White Sox.
The White Sox are reportedly set to acquire Todd Frazier as part of a 3-team deal. They can use the help at 3B. pic.twitter.com/1NhGKDqAmK
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 16, 2015
Last year, Frazier hit .255/.309/.498 with 35 homers, 89 RBI, 82 runs scored and 13 stolen bases. He had an fWAR of 4.4, a bWAR of 4.0 and a nERD of 1.23 that was 58th in all of baseball last season. That means a lineup full of Fraziers would score 1.23 runs per game more than a league average player.
Frazier has big-time power and is going to another park that will play to his strengths. Last season, U.S. Cellular Field was the eighth-friendliest for home runs. Frazier's former home, Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, was seventh.
He was one of four players last year to hit at least 35 homers and 40 doubles, joining AL MVP Josh Donaldson, New York's Yoenis Cespedes, and Colorado's Nolan Arenado. Among MLB third basemen, Frazier was third in isolated power (.242 ISO) and home runs (35), fifth in slugging percentage (.498), and eighth in fWAR and weighted on base average (.342 wOBA).
Not only that, he's also one of the best defensive third basemen in the game.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) December 17, 2015
His six Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) was seventh among MLB third basemen, he was sixth in Ultimate Zone Rating and sixth in Fangraphs' overall Def rating.
However, it wasn't a perfect season for Frazier in 2015.
Perhaps he blew a tire winning the Home Run Derby at the All Star Game but his first half-second half splits were not good at all last year. He had the same problem in 2014, batting .290/.353/.500 with an .853 OPS in the first half followed by a .247/.312/.396 slash line and a .707 OPS in the second half that year.
However, he will undoubtedly help the White Sox' offense, forming a dynamic duo with Jose Abreu in the middle of that lineup. And it's a lineup that, based on last year's stats, can use all the help it can get.
They finished dead last in fWAR among position players in the AL last year with 3.1. That is a horrifically low number. Despite playing in one of the most homer-friendly stadiums in baseball, they hit an American League-worst 136 dingers in 2015, and were dead last in runs scored, OPS, ISO, wOBA, slugging percentage and wRC+. They also finished second-to-last in on-base percentage, and were 13th in doubles.
With a little more offense, the White Sox can contend in their division. They boast one of the strongest rotations, fronted by Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Jordan Danks and Carlos Rodon, but could still use another bat or two. The Kansas City Royals have lost some key pieces from their championship roster last year (Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto) and are expected to lose Alex Gordon as well. The Indians have a strong rotation and are seen as contenders too, and the Tigers will be in the mix after signing Jordan Zimmermann to a big free agent deal and still have Miguel Cabrera doing Miguel Cabrera things.
Getting Frazier was a step in the right direction. But Chicago is still a bat or two away from being the favorites to win the AL Central in 2016.