The New York Mets chose to look at the bright side of things when they signed Todd Frazier to play third base for them, not focusing on his .225 and .213 batting averages in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
They instead chose to look at the huge jumps he made in walk percentage last year, as well as the defensive and natural leadership skills he possesses to fill a glaring hole at third base left by the injured, yet dearly beloved Mets’ captain, David Wright.
At the time, his two-year, $17 million contract seemed like a fair deal, considering all the facets of his game that he could potentially bring to the table. After just 21 games this year, Frazier is making that deal look like a bargain.
Going into Tuesday’s games, the 32-year-old Frazier ranks fourth in the National League in wins above replacement, as per Fangraphs, with an even 1.0. The only players ahead of him are league-leaders Travis Shaw of the Brewers and Kris Bryant of the Cubs, both at 1.1 WAR. He’s currently tied with the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado.
Frazier ranks fourth in the NL among third basemen with 150 wRC+, again trailing Bryant (176), Arenado (163), and Shaw (152). His strikeout rate (23.3%) ranks eighth among qualified players at the hot corner but is only a tick over his career percentage of 21.8.
Frazier has considerably improved on his career-high 14.4% walk rate from last season thus far, taking bases-on-balls in 20% of his at-bats this season. That number is good for best in the NL among third basemen and fourth best in the entire National League among position players. It’s also a whopping 11.8 percentage points higher than his career mark of 9.2.
On the defensive side of things, Frazier is second in the league among third basemen with two defensive runs saved and his ultimate zone rating of 0.3 is good for third-best.
His 2017 fielding values of ten defensive runs saved (career-high at third base) and 7.8 UZR (second-best in his career) are both very attainable goals for Frazier this season if he keeps playing at the same high level he’s started at.
For the type of production the Mets have received from Todd Frazier just an eighth of the way into a very long season, Frazier’s deal appears to have the potential to be one of the better contract values of the offseason.