The Texas Rangers added a right-handed bat to their team yesterday, as they signed third baseman Todd Frazier to a one-year deal. Let’s take a look at what the Rangers are getting.
Rangers Sign Todd Frazier
The Rangers are moving into a new ballpark in 2020, and they’re looking to make a splash this upcoming season. Adding a right-handed bat to complement their team was necessary this offseason, but the Rangers were unable to do so until yesterday. Texas struck out on picking up Anthony Rendon, and it’s become more and more unlikely that Josh Donaldson would be a Ranger come 2020. Yesterday, the Rangers filled their hole at the hot corner, signing Todd Frazier to a one-year deal.
Frazier spent the last two seasons with the Mets, and put up a slash line of .251/.329/.443 with them in 2019. Frazier hit 21 home runs last season and 39 dingers over the last two seasons. That second figure is actually one less than his home run total in 2016, when he blasted 40 of them with the White Sox.
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Yes, the home run figures have went down for Frazier, but he still can be a valuable player for the Rangers come 2020. For one, Frazier proved last season that he can still crush fastballs consistently. Last season, Frazier batted .301 against all fastballs he faced, and 18 of the 21 home runs he hit in 2019 off of fastballs. 13 of those 18 home runs were against four-seam fastballs, and a good chunk of them were left over the middle of the plate as you can see below:
In addition to pouncing on fastballs, Frazier will also get on base at a decent clip. Both the New Jersey native’s walk rate and pitches per plate appearance ratio were about league average, and his .329 OBP was 19 points more than the Rangers team OBP at third last season (.310 OBP at 3B in 2019 according to Fangraphs). While his overall numbers may not blow you away, they’re certainly better than what the Rangers had from third baseman last season.
Rangers 3B in 2019
In 2019, the Rangers were 16th in baseball in SLG and 26th in MLB in wRC+ against left-handed pitching. Those numbers are less than stellar, but the stats get much worse when looking at just the third base position. When look at team production from the hot corner in 2019, Texas was 27th in OPS (.636) against left-handed pitching and 28th in wRC+ (62). Against both lefties and righties, Rangers third baseman were 26th in MLB in OPS (.699) and third worst in baseball in wRC+ (75). With those numbers, it’s no wonder that the Rangers were looking for some help at the position this offseason. Sure, the Rangers didn’t get a superstar, but Texas did pick up a valuable player to play at third this season.
What to Expect from Frazier in 2020
The “Toddfather” going to Texas should help the Rangers as they try to contend for a playoff spot in 2020. While the home run totals went down the past couple of season for Frazier, the fact that he’s leaving a pitcher-friendly park in Citi Field should help his numbers. And considering he had a .913 OPS against lefties in 2019, he should be a much-welcomed addition to add some balance to a team that already has some great left-handed hitters. Even if he doesn’t bat as high as he did in 2019, expecting 20+ home runs and at least a .330 OBP from the “Toddfather” is not unreasonable.
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