The Mets made a number of free agent pick-ups this past offseason, some of whom -- such as Jay Bruce -- are struggling and some of whom - such as Anthony Swarzak - have missed significant time due to injury. But through much of the chaos of the tumultuous 2018 season, Todd Frazier has been the steady, consistent leader the Mets were looking for to man third base.
When Frazier signed a 2 year, $17 million dollar contract this February, it was the team's first step towards filling the hole left by David Wright at third base. While Frazier cannot match the statistical prowess of his perennial All-Star predecessor, nor his decade of experience as a Met, he is providing much-needed value both on and off the field.
Frazier has never had eye-popping numbers, but his performance throughout his career has been remarkably consistent. And this year is no different. His .726 OPS is just short of his career average, though notably much of that production came in hitters' havens such as Cincinnati. His .326 on base percentage is significantly higher than his career mark and, along with his impressive walk rate, demonstrates his ongoing commitment to a more patient approach at the plate that is helping him succeed as he enters his mid-thirties.
A power hitter who knocked 40 home runs just two years ago, he hasn't lost that swing and has hit seven in just 38 games -- a 30-homer pace over a full season. He is not just a slugger, though, and his four stolen bases and solid, if unspectacular defense, make him an all-around strong player with no major weaknesses -- a rarity in this Mets lineup.
Off the field, Frazier has lived up to his reputation of quiet professionalism and leadership by example. His enthusiasm and excitement has been a much-needed balm to a team that has lacked energy at times and his absence was keenly felt in the dugout and the clubhouse during a difficult month.
Indeed, the only strike against Frazier thus far has been his missed time -- nearly a month due to a strained hamstring. He averaged over 600 plate appearances per season for the past six years and while a healthy second half could get him close, another injury could be a serious blow. The Mets have had a merry-go-round at third base for years as Wright's injuries persisted and as his replacements faltered.
At 32 years old, Frazier is unlikely to be the iron man he was in his late twenties, but there's a vast difference for the Mets between him missing 10 games in a season versus 50. As an often-painful month of May demonstrated, not to mention the rest of the past two years, the depth at third base is thin and even if they can provide a short-term replacement for his bat, the intangibles he brings to his team are far more challenging to replicate.
From a mixed-bag of new Mets additions, Frazier has stood out for his consistent performance and leadership. But to truly be the bargain the Mets seemed to be getting at his signing, he needs to prove he can stay where they need him: on the field.
Maggie Wiggin (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Archive Posts) has been a Mets fan since birth and a MetsBlog contributor since 2013. She loves throwing hard and hitting hard and hates the DH. When baseball is out of season, she fills her days with data analysis and evaluation and patiently waits for Spring