By MARK SIMON
The Padres acquired MLB hits leader Adam Frazier in a trade with the Pirates on Sunday, bolstering a roster that has an abundance of middle infield talent.
The Padres have multiple options for how they can use Frazier this year and in 2022, as he’s under contract for another season.
Frazier is having a terrific season as a hitter and it’s easy to ascertain how good he’ll be in that regard. But what about his defense?
If we were going to provide an overall report on Frazier’s d, it would be that his numbers may not look as good as they had previously been – but don’t let that scare you off.
Frazier has saved 19 runs with his defense at second base over the last four seasons, which ranks tied for third in that span.
Though he’s totaled only 2 Runs Saved at the position this season, it should be noted that he’s saved 3 runs there in July.
Frazier’s defensive strength is in going to his left, though that’s been less evident in 2021.
From 2018 to 2020, he made 166 plays on 225 plays on balls in which he had a non-zero chance of recording an out.
By our calculations, that was 14 plays above average, and the +14 ranked fifth at the position.
Here’s a good example of him stymieing Anthony Rizzo.
This season, he’s at 72-of-125 on balls to his left, which rates exactly MLB average.
That he’s down a little in this area has brought his 2021 numbers down a bit. In fact, he’s at -4 Runs specifically in the range component of Runs Saved.
There have been a few more of these than Frazier would have liked this season.
SIS tracks both errors and defensive misplays, which are defined as things such as a fielder getting a glove on a ball but not being able to make a play, or slipping and falling to allow a batter to reach base.
Frazier has 16 Misplays & Errors in 780 innings, one fewer than he had in 2019, though with far fewer innings played.
|Season||Innings||Misplays & Errors|
He had three ground balls that he could not handle against the Rockies and Brewers in a five-day span, but the last of those, on July 3, is the only Misplay or Error he’s made this month.
And though his range numbers are down, Frazier has made up for that with his throwing. He’s above average in the throwing component of Runs Saved for the third straight year. This play, one of his best, combined elements of range and throwing.
Other best spot might be left field
The Padres intend to play Frazier at spots other than second base. The one at which he has the most experience is left field, and his time there has been prosperous. He’s saved 9 runs in just over 700 innings there for his career. He’s played 15 innings these this season. Most of his experience came in 2017.
A corner outfield spot probably makes more sense than playing Frazier in center field. Frazier’s 4.02 time in Baseball Savant’s 90-foot splits would rank near the bottom among centerfielders but would be closer to average in left or right.
And left field is probably the optimal spot given that his Misplays & Errors numbers are better there than in right field.
|Position||Innings||Misplays & Errors|
Given that the Padres had thoughts of trading for Trevor Story and playing him in center field, it will be interesting to see how adventurous they get with their newest acquisition.