MATT FRAIZER, CENTER FIELDER
|Born: January 12, 1998
Drafted: 3rd Round, 95th Overall, 2019
How Acquired: Draft
College: University of Arizona
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Fraizer’s draft stock took a hit when he suffered a broken hamate partway into his junior season, which prevented scouts from seeing him much. In 19 games, he batted 412/452/565, with the same number of walks and strikeouts. The brief action was a significant improvement over his sophomore season, when he hit 266/352/359. The step up as a junior resulted from a swing overhaul. He didn’t play much as a freshman. Fraizer features plus speed, but when drafted he wasn’t expected to hit for more than gap power. That changed due to further swing adjustments in 2021. Despite the speed, he didn’t attempt many steals at Arizona. He’s likely to be able to stay in center despite a fringy arm. Baseball America ranked him 272nd among draft prospects. He signed a week after the draft for $85,800 below the slot value.
Fraizer didn’t hit at all with West Virginia. He showed an inside-out swing that produced no power and also had a great deal of trouble making contact. He struggled against RHPs but was helpless against LHPs, batting just 140/213/140. In the field, he played right almost exclusively and did not see any action in center, although he does appear to have good range.
Fraizer had one of the biggest breakout seasons in the minors. Much of it apparently resulted from the Pirates getting him to involve his lower half more in his swing and to look to make contact further in front. He hit so well at Greensboro that he was named the league’s MVP despite spending the last third of the season at Altoona. Once he moved up, he continued hitting. Fraizer had only a modest home/road split, so the power at Greensboro didn’t result from the ballpark. At Altoona, where the ballpark sharply reduces home run power, he hit dramatically better on the road. He had only a modest platoon split. At Greensboro, Fraizer split his time between center and left. At Altoona, he played almost exclusively in center.
Fraizer’s 2022 season was a serious disappointment. His hitting dropped off sharply, almost exactly to 2019 levels. His walk and K rates didn’t change a lot, but his ISO was barely over half what it had been in AA the previous year. He also had a sharp drop in his BABIP, from .361 to .282. He hit fairly well in May and July, but in three other months — April, August and September — his OPS was well under .500. He badly struggled with LHPs, posting just a .507 OPS against them. On defense, Fraizer spent a little over half his time in center, the rest divided between left and right.
Fraizer took just as dramatic a step backward in 2022 as he did a step forward in 2021. It’ll be interesting to see whether he opens 2023 in AAA. He’s eligible for Rule 5, but wasn’t added to the roster.
|2023: Minor league contract
|Signing Bonus: $525,000
MiLB Debut: 2019
MiLB FA Eligible: 2025
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2022
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 11, 2016: Drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 38th round, 1132nd overall pick.
June 4, 2019: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 3rd round, 95th overall pick; signed on June 11.