Like the opening credits of an ensemble superhero movie, it feels like virtually every Met has had an opportunity to show off their strengths during this torrid start. Friday was Todd Frazier’s night.
Frazier’s power, patience, defense, and leadership were all on display in Friday’s 6-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. His second inning home run off Zach Davies, his first as a Met, was a bomb to dead center. His second came in the fourth inning, where he turned on an inside two-seamer (a pretty tough pitch to hit) and deposited it well over the left field wall. That second dinger gave the Mets a lead they would not relinquish.
Frazier also showed off his keen eye in the bottom of the 5th. He quickly fell behind in the count 1-2, but spoiled a couple of tough pitches on the outside part of the plate to stay alive. After he was set up on the outside, Frazier was ripe for an out pitch on the inside corner, but he managed to lay off the 3-2 fastball to draw the eight-pitch walk.
It was a microcosm of what has made Frazier an even better hitter in the last two season, batting average be damned. Frazier’s ability to lay off of pitches out of the zone improved an incredible amount last year, when he only chased pitches outside of the zone 25.0 percent of the time per FanGraphs, an improvement of 7.6 percent over his 2016 numbers. If Frazier can hover around that number this year (he’s currently at 26 percent), he will continue to be a tough out while bumping up that already impressive on-base percentage of .375.
Frazier flashed some leather, too. A diving grab on a Lorenzo Cain ground ball turned a potential double into an infield single, and it could have turned into a ground ball out if not for a short hop throw that handcuffed Adrian Gonzalez. Milwaukee had just crept back into the game, and had that single become a double, Cain may have scored on a Domingo Santana base but that followed. Instead, Cain was gunned down by Yoenis Cespedes trying to take third base on the play, with Frazier gracefully applying the tap that ended the inning.
Frazier has earned the reputation of great clubhouse influence, and it shows in every dugout reaction shot on the TV broadcast. Frazier is always in the shot, high-fiving and laughing with his teammates, setting the mood for the rest of team. It’s no easy task to take over the position of one of the franchise’s most beloved players of all time, but the weight of replacing David Wright doesn’t appear to be affecting Frazier at all. In fact, just a mere 12 games in, this feels like Todd Frazier’s team.
His two dingers were the clear highlight of the night, but Friday’s game allowed him to show off all of his strengths. Just like everything else this season, early results are overwhelmingly positive for the Mets new third baseman.