By Jason Shetler
Despite being one of the more consistent hitters in the Pirates organization last few years, most baseball publications weren’t high on Adam Frazier, in terms of being a top flight prospect. The overall draft report on Frazier coming out of Mississippi State was that he didn’t have any plus tools.
Frazier quietly made his way up through the system, and was finally beginning to receive attention, once he reached AAA last year. With the Indianapolis Indians, he posted an .827 OPS. In late June, Frazier joined the Pirates, putting together a nice rookie campaign, with an OPS of .767, along with a 104 OPS+.
This past offseason, Josh Harrison was involved in trade rumors. The speculation was that Frazier would take over at second base, if Harrison was dealt. The Pirates decided to hang onto Harrison, mainly because his trade value wasn’t high enough, which meant Frazier would begin 2017 as a super utility man.
During the third week of April, the shocking news came out that Starling Marte had tested positive for PED, and received an 80-game suspension. With Marte out, it allowed Frazier to get more playing time. Shortly after however, he was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain. Frazier made his return on May 12th, and has been on an absolute tear, posting a 1.120 OPS since coming off the DL.
So far this season, Frazier has a .446 OBP and a .962 OPS. His on base would be tops in the National League, if he qualified for enough plate appearances. The walk rate is solid at 11.6%, while the strikeout rate is currently identical. Now that Frazier is playing regularly and being a huge contributor in the Pirates lineup, is there a chance that he could be an All-Star this year? – It would certainly not be out of the realm of possibility, as this situation has happened with the Pirates twice this century. The first came in 2006 when Freddy Sanchez filled in for an injured Joe Randa, and went on a hitting spree, to not only be named an All-Star, but to win the NL batting title that year. The other bench player turned All-Star scenario occurred with Josh Harrison in 2014. As long as Frazier can continue to be productive, while not hitting any slumps along the way, there’s no reason to think why he couldn’t be a 2017 NL All-Star selection.