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2014 in Review: Todd Frazier

A banner year for the Toddfather

Our Todd is an awesome Todd.
Our Todd is an awesome Todd.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

In a year marred by injuries, Todd Frazier was one of the few bright spots in a bummer-filled season.  After a sophomore slump in 2013 where he managed a paltry .721 OPS, Frazier busted out in 2014, putting up the best season of his young career.  Frazier made his first All-Star Game, and led the team with 29 home runs, all while providing above average defense at the hot corner.

After an impressive debut in 2012 and a not so great 2013, there was some concern coming into the 2014 season as to which was the real Todd Frazier.  With another 660 PA added to the sample size, it's looking more like 2013 was the outlier.  Most of Frazier's peripherals stayed right in line with his career averages, with his BABIP regressing closer to league average at .309.  The biggest difference that Frazier saw this season was his HR/FB% spiking to 17% after posting 13.2% in 2012 and 11.7% in 2013.  Everything else, at least with batted ball and plate discipline stuff, stayed pretty much the same.

Digging into his splits, Frazier took advantage of his home ballpark big time in 2014.  At Great American Ballpark, the Toddfather slashed .284/.348/.525 with 20 of his 29 dingers leaving the yard in Cincinnati.  Much like the rest of the 2014 Reds, the All-Star Break was not kind to Frazier.  After OPS'ing .853 through his first 94 games, Todd had a second half swoon posting a .704 OPS in the final 64 contests.  Even more stark of a contrast was Frazier's performance in Reds wins versus Reds losses, with a .957 OPS in victories compared to just a .648 OPS in games the Reds lost.  (Whose Reds?)

Bryan Price's "run first, ask questions later" philosophy seemed to do more harm than good this season, but Frazier was another exception here.  His 20 stolen bases were second best on the team behind Billy Hamilton, with a respectable 71% success rate.  In his first three seasons, Todd had managed just 10 stolen bases combined.

Frazier's defensive numbers were down a bit this season from last, but that is partially due to being pressed to play 1B in 43 games with Votto on the shelf for the majority of the year.  His glove at 3B still passes the eye test, and the fielding metrics back that up as well.

Next year will be Frazier's first arbitration eligible season, and at age 29 he will get a substantial raise on his $600,000 salary from 2014.  It will be very interesting to see what the front office decides to do with Frazier this winter, as he'll be 32 years old when he's eligible for free agency and likely beginning the downslope of his career.  In order to get a reasonably priced deal, the team will likely have to buy out a free agent year or two.  However, if the team decides to go year-to-year and Frazier continues to put up ~5 WAR seasons, he will start to get expensive quickly.