Prior to the beginning of the 2013 season, the Reds had made a couple of adjustments to its starting lineup. The bold move was trading for Shin-Soo Choo and moving him from right to center field. That has seen an issue or two this season, but another area that had more than a few concerned was the defense at third base as it was being handed over to Todd Frazier. With Scott Rolen not returning, third base was his.
I mean, Scott Rolen owns 8 Gold Gloves. How in the world could the ToddFather match that? As far as 8 Gold Gloves, he may never. Frazier might never win one, but as far as how he has held down the position in 2013, it might be a surprise to many. He’s been up to the task and maybe even a little more.
In 2010 when Rolen garnered his eighth Gold Glove, he sported a DRS of 10, UZR of 10.0 and UZR/150 of 11.3. Last season we did witness Rolen make an error or two that in the past we hadn’t normally observed.
So last year, Frazier manned third base in 65 games while Rolen was there in for 81 games. Here’s are look at how each performed defensively in their time at that position in 2012 (stats taken from Fangraphs):
Rolen: DRS =0, UZR = 1.2, UZR/150 = 2.5
Frazier: DRS = 3, UZR -=2.1, UZR/150 = 6.1
In looking solely at these numbers, Frazier outperformed Rolen as a third baseman. Rolen fans may make the argument of his age and declining skills. If you look at Rolen’s previous two seasons, he was vastly better than last year.
But Frazier has taken it up a notch in 2013 as compared to 2012 with a DRS of 4, UZR of 9.2 and UZR/150 of 17.6. As of now, Frazier’s NL ranks among 3Bers are 4th in DRS, 3rd in UZR, and 2nd in UZR/150. Not bad at all.
While Frazier may never eclipse Rolen as a defender, I do believe the position is in good hands. A couple of years ago, I stated here on BRM that if the Reds could ever find one position in which to put Frazier that his defense would be fine and he would “settle in at the plate”. Little did I realize that his defense would evolve into what it has and he would struggle at the dish.
Granted, Frazier hasn’t had the offensive success this season as he did last year – a point that is constantly mentioned – but his defense is the area where he has earned well above passing marks.