Chicago is surely not alone in taking an interest in Frazier, who has a .326 / .393 / .468 (139 wRC +) line in 346 home plate appearances this season. He burst into the majors in 2016 and immediately set up as a fairly productive, high contact bat. In his first three+ seasons, Frazier’s ability to put the ball into play resulted in a league-average offense (.279 / .342 / .420), despite a lack of impact power. It fell to 0.230 / 0.297 / 0.364 in last year’s cropped season, but more than bounced back in the first half of this season.
In reality, Frazier’s true level of talent probably hasn’t rebounded as much as these numbers suggest. Because he specializes in making contact, his production depends more than most players on the results of the ball in play. Last season, Frazier’s BABIP fell to 0.246; this year it peaked at 0.361. Over the course of his career, Frazier has a more ordinary BABIP .312, and it’s fair to assume that he will settle around that brand in the future.
Frazier has made modest improvements to the processes this season. His contact rate increased by nearly four percentage points, to a career high of 88.6%. He traded in some Grounders for a few more online workouts. But Frazier didn’t start hitting the ball with much more authority. His hard contact rate sits in the league’s 4th percentile, while his barrel rate (essentially how often a batter hits the ball hard at an optimal pitch angle for power) is in the 3rd percentile, per Statcast. Overall, Frazier is probably not that different from the player he entered in 2021.
That doesn’t mean he isn’t a quality player. As mentioned, Frazier has an established track record of working solid at the plate. He’s a career hitter of 0.282 / 0.345 / 0.422, six percentage points better than the league average as measured by weighted runs created. Advanced defensive measures suggested he was an average or better glove at second base, and he is highly rated as a corner fielder when asked to deal with the grass.
In addition to his solid play on the pitch, Frazier is an eminently affordable target for contending clubs. He’s only making $ 4.3 million this season (exactly half of that is still due by the end of the year) and is controllable next year through arbitration. He will certainly be in line for a nice raise considering his production this season, but even a salary of between $ 8 million and $ 9 million in 2022 would be more than reasonable for a player of his caliber.
A year and a half of Frazier’s service would be much more valuable to a competitor than to the Rebuilding Pirates. Pittsburgh won’t make the playoffs this season, and neither should they make it next year. There’s little reason the Pirates won’t take offers on Frazier (as they did during the offseason) and it looks like a virtual lock to end up elsewhere before the July 30 trade deadline. .
It’s not hard to see the attraction to the White Sox. Second baseman Nick Madrigal is out for the season after undergoing hamstring surgery, and the Sox are counting on Leury garcia and Danny mendick since he came down. Perspective Jake Burger got a second job in minors and was called to make his MLB debut today. It’s unclear, however, whether Chicago would feel comfortable turning to Burger, whose most natural position is third base, at the keystone in a pennant race.
The White Sox have also been linked with Eduardo Escobar over the past two weeks. An Escobar trade remains a possibility (and, as Heyman notes, would surely require a lesser outlook package than required to land Frazier), but other teams have jumped into the offer for infielder Diamondbacks in recent years. days.