Batter’s Box: The Dr. Frazier Crane Show

After a pretty pitiful start to the year, Todd Frazier has really heated up and continued that on Monday night, going 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI. Over the past month, Frazier has...

After a pretty pitiful start to the year, Todd Frazier has really heated up and continued that on Monday night, going 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI. Over the past month, Frazier has slashed .277/.395/.585 with eight home runs, 18 RBIs, and 15 runs. Given that, even after that month, his batting average sits at just .217 on the year, you’d be forgiven for not having noticed, but for those of us (like me) who bought him when he was hitting in the .190s, this past month has been wonderful. Frazier’s average should continue to rise, as his miserable .225 BABIP comes up (I’d expect his BABIP to end the year around the .260s). Unfortunately, it seems the days of 20 steals is gone, though I still think he could end the year with around 10 steals. And while I don’t think 40 home runs is happening again, 30-35 is certainly within reach for him. He’s been dropped in a few leagues (available in around 39% of ESPN leagues) so if he’s been dropped, go grab him, and if you can find someone who hasn’t noticed the past month for Frazier and you can still buy him off that .217 average, I’d do it, you might be able to get him for peanuts still. His average will still hurt a bit (I don’t expect him to hit much more than .235-.240 the rest of the year) but the power is great and the little bit of speed is a nice bonus. He’s a bit better in OBP leagues, as he’s walking more than ever, and it’s brought his OBP up to league average.

Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Monday:

Orlando Arcia (SS, MIL) – 3-4, 1 R, 1 RBI. Arcia is quietly having a pretty nice season for the Brewers this year, currently slashing .295/.334/.440 with eight home runs. What’s really nice is the fact that he’s cut down his strikeout rate, albeit only by around three points, but still, a trend in the right direction. Arcia’s average will come down, as he’s not going to maintain a .340 BABIP all year, but I could see him doubling his home runs total and ending the year with around 15 or so steals. A decent play in deeper leagues.

Michael Taylor (OF, WAS) – 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. People have been waiting for a Michael Taylor breakout season for some time now. After showing off complete and total brilliance in the minors (like a 22 home run, 34 steal, .313 season), Taylor has been pretty disappointing in the majors, mostly because of a bad strikeout problem. But this year, things have been different. He’s batting .281 and is on pace for a 20/20 season. In fact, over the past two weeks, Taylor has been slashing .386/.451/.773. Now that Trea Turner is out for an extended period of time, it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Taylor snag that leadoff spot, and I think we could see a really good season from him. The average will come down, he’s still striking out over 30% of the time, and he’s been very fortunate to have a .375 BABIP, but I think 20/20 is completely within reach assuming he keeps the playing time, and I think he could bat in the .240s the rest of the way, which is definitely useful.

Maikel Franco (3B, PHI) – 2-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI. You’ve probably given up on Maikel Franco, and I don’t blame you, he’s been bad. But I swear, it has to get better. Maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m blinded, but the power is there as it’s always been, he’s just had a pitiful .225 BABIP. I genuinely think a Todd Frazier-like resurgence is possible for Franco, I just don’t know when it’ll happen (soon please?). If he’s a free agent and you don’t have the roster flexibility to own and bench him, it’s fine, but keep an eye on him. If/when he starts to heat up, you’ll want him. I just hope it’s soon.

Jedd Gyorko (2B/3B/SS, STL) – 2-2, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB. I still say that Jedd Gyorko is one of my biggest sell-high candidates right now. The power is real, we all know that, it’s been real his whole career. What isn’t real is his batting average. He’s not a .300 hitter, and it’s been thanks to a .348 BABIP that he’s had such a nice average. Over the past month he’s hit .268, and I think that’s on the higher end of what he really is, a .260s hitter. If you can sell him to someone on the .300 average with power, I’d do it sooner rather than later.

Rougned Odor (2B, TEX) – 1-5, 1 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI. Odor’s been bad, really bad. I was worried about him coming into the season, I don’t like guys whose strategy is “swing at everything and see what happens,” they make me nervous. The power has been there for Odor, which is great, and I still think he could end up with 30 home runs, but he’s striking out more and swinging at everything, which doesn’t bode well for his average rising much. I think it’ll come up a bit, I don’t think he’s gonna have a .236 BABIP all year, but he’s not the .271 hitter we saw last year, he’s at best probably a .250s hitter. Now, I will say, the increase in steals is interesting, it seems that, in light of his horrible average, Odor is trying to steal as many bases as possible, and if he does that and starts touching 20 steals, he’s a lot more interesting. I don’t think you should drop him, despite the bad season so far, because if the steals are real (and they look like they could be) I don’t see that much of a difference between Odor and Todd Frazier during his time with the Reds, and he was ownable.

Max Kepler (OF, MIN) – 4-4, 1 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI. Max Kepler is a guy who’s just on the cusp of being ownable in a standard league. He’s provides enough that he’s useful, but not enough that he’s special. I think what he’s doing right now is about who he is: a .250/.260s hitter with 20 home runs or so and a small handful of stolen bases. If you’re in a deep league, he should be owned, but in a standard 10-team league or 12-team league, I’m probably not owning him.

Ben Palmer

Senior columnist at Pitcher List. Lifelong Orioles fan, also a Ravens/Wizards/Terps fan. I also listen to way too much music, watch way too many movies, and collect way too many records.

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