What Does Adding Frazier Mean For the White Sox?

The White Sox have acquired Todd Frazier in a three team deal with Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Cincinnati Reds. The White Sox surrendered pitcher Frankie Montas, IF Michan Johnson, and OF Trayce Thompson. This move signals that Brett Lawrie, who was acquired from the Oakland A’s last week, will move over to second base.

Going into 2016 Todd Frazier will enter his age 30 season and the White Sox will have control over him until 2018. The past three seasons Frazier has put up a slash line of 255/320/457 (113 OPS+). The past three years at the hot corner Frazier has a DRS (defensive runs saved) of +18, and a UZR of 23.4. His good hitting, and good fielding during that span have accumulated Frazier a war of 12.2

Its hard to say the value of what the White Sox gave up given the limited playing time of Montas, Thompson, and Johnson. I’ll admit I am disappointed in losing Frankie Montas, but it is better than sending over Carson Fulmer, or Jose Quintana, both of whom the Red have asked for in the past.

But regardless there are two concerns I have about Frazier.

First was Frazier’s second half decline in 2015.

  • First Half: 284/337/587 (922) – 25 HR
  • Second Half: 220/274/390 (664) – 10 HR

I believe the most important stat was his difference in BABIP. BABIP, or batting average of balls in play, measures how many of a batter’s balls go into play as hits. A lower BABIP could suggest that he hit into some bad luck, and a high ones could mean the hitter ran into some good luck (think of a “ground ball with eyes”). In the first half was .282, which aligns with his career average of .288, as opposed to the second half of .256. Assuming everything averages back out, Frazier could be a much needed bat in the line up.

The second concern I have is moving from the National League over to the American League. Great American Ballpark is similar to U.S. Cellular Field in the fact that they’re both band boxes that give power hitters an advantage. However, in the not so distant past the White Sox have brought over National League hitters, (Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche to name a few) and they didn’t meet up to expectations. Frazier is only going to be 30 heading into 2016 which is a few years shy of what Dunn, and LaRoche were.

As mentioned above, this move seals Brett Lawrie’s fate at second base. Lawrie has had a -3 DRS at second base in about 600 innings. Moving from spacious O.Co Coliseum in Oakland to U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago should help his offensive production. If Lawrie can improve his fielding at second and put up even league average production for a second baseman, this could be much needed improvement for the White Sox.

I am still sceptical and I don’t share the enthusiasm that a lot have for this move. But it boils down to Frazier having two seasons that are akin to his career norms, and Lawrie being at least average on both sides of the ball at second base. Only time will tell how well this will work out.

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