The Baltimore Orioles have had a relatively quieter offseason, at least compared to the O’s AL East counterparts. Yet, the Orioles have managed to make upgrades to complete Baltimore’s young and emerging core. A few weeks after the O’s inked right-handed starter Kyle Gibson, Baltimore has reportedly picked up infielder Adam Frazier in free agency. Frazier joins the O’s, a year after a rough, out-of-character campaign from the ex-Mariner.
A Look at Frazier
Drafted by Pittsburgh in 2013, Adam Frazier made it to the Majors three years after being selected by the Pirates. Frazier’s rookie season was a strong one, as the infielder batted .301 across 66 games. Upon his early success, the infielder established himself as a regular on the Pirates, a team that would shortly thereafter embark on a lengthy rebuild.
Frazier batted at .275 or better in his first four seasons in the league. Albeit not a power hitter, Frazier did crack double digits in homers twice (2018 & 2019), and hit seven during the truncated 2020 season.
The 2021 campaign was Frazier’s best to date. Frazier batted .324 and accrued a .388 OBP over 98 games with Pittsburgh that season. The Padres acquired Frazier from Pittsburgh that July, in a move to shore up San Diego’s lineup. While the Padres faltered down the line in 2021, Frazier performed adequately. Across 57 games with the Friars, Frazier had 10 extra base hits, and batted .267.
San Diego would flip Frazier to Seattle during the 2021 offseason. The 31-year old’s time in Seattle, though, failed to live up to expectations. Frazier’s batting average (.238) and OBP (.301) figures from 2022 were both down from his career averages. However, it’s also fair to say that luck was not exactly on Frazier’s side last season.
While the former Mississippi State grad did not make the same kind of quality contact that he had in ’21, Frazier still managed to smack line drives (27.8%) at a healthy, above-average rate. In fact, Frazier had the eighth-highest LD% in MLB last season among qualified hitters. While one shouldn’t expect a 2021-like campaign from Frazier next season, a return near the .273 career average he sports is not crazy to imagine.
It’s been an interesting two seasons for Frazier. Now on to his fourth team in less than two years, the 31-year old joins a Baltimore Orioles team that showed great promise for the future.
What it Means
Baltimore has an exciting core in place for next season and for years to come. The O’s lineup next season already included star catcher Adley Rutschman and a couple of power-hitting outfielders in Austin Hays and Anthony Santander. Now, Baltimore adds another bat in Frazier that joins a infield group that includes Gold Glove third baseman Ramón Urías, Jorge Mateo, and Gunnar Henderson.
It’s a low-risk buy for the O’s. Baltimore gets an infielder with a track record of hitting success, despite the sideways numbers from last season. Not to mention, Frazier’s ability to play multiple positions should also be an asset. For Frazier, the former All-Star should receive regular playing time, and a chance to rebound on a team looking for more success in 2023.