There are a lot of advanced baseball statistics out there. Some are better than others. But when a few of them point you in the same direction take note.
While Todd Frazier may never become an elite fantasy third baseman, he could provide significant value at the end of your draft in 2014.
After finishing third in the National League Rookie of the Year race in 2012, Frazier earned more at-bats and did little with them, at least as far as counting stats are concerned, in 2013.
But if we look at the advanced stuff it tells a different story. Frazier’s strikeout rate decreased and his walk rate increased. Both indicate that his batting eye was better than it was in 2012 or during his cup of coffee in 2011. But he hit a paltry .234, a disastrous number even for fantasy owners punting average.
His batting average on balls in play was .269, the 18th-worst among qualifying batters. Throughout his minor league career and in 2012 Frazier’s BABIP has been above .300. That means we should expect a modest regression to his normal of 40 points or more.
So, in theory, Frazier lost somewhere around 20-30 hits to bad luck. He likely turns a few of those into extra base hits, he also probably drives in a few more runs and scores a few more, pushing his run production rate back to what it was in his rookie campaign.
I’m an optimist – and looking at Frazier’s increased ground ball rate and decreased fly ball rate, that could back to bite me — but we need to look at Frazier’s rookie campaign as the baseline and pump up the stats to reflect more playing time.
If he can produce at his 2012 rate over 150 more plate appearances we’re looking at a 3B with top-10 potential who is currently ranked as the No. 19 third baseman at ESPN.com.