Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Todd Frazier's batting average is low, but his clutch stats are impressive

Todd Frazier (right) has 10 home runs and 27 RBIs in 33 games.
For years, White Sox fans have listened to TV announcer Ken Harrelson recite one of his favorite cliches: "Don't tell me what you hit. Tell me when you hit it."

Third baseman Todd Frazier is an interesting case study.

Frazier's .215/.290/.477 slash line through 33 games isn't overly impressive. He's endured two weeklong slumps already this season that have driven his overall numbers down. However, nobody can say they are unhappy with Frazier's team-leading 10 home runs, or his team-leading 27 RBIs.

The hits have come at key times, too, including Monday night when Frazier went 4 for 6 with two home runs and six RBIs. The veteran hit a grand slam in the top of the 12th inning to lift the South Siders to an 8-4 win over the Texas Rangers. The victory is the Sox's fourth straight, and they own a 23-10 record with a six-game lead in the AL Central entering Tuesday's play.

As for Frazier, his numbers spike significantly once the seventh inning arrives. In the late innings of games, he's had 44 plate appearances, during which he's hitting .273 with four home runs and 16 RBIs.

Let's take a look at his leverage stats:

Low-leverage situations: .204/.316/.724, 3 HRs, 5 RBIs, 10 Ks, 8 BBs
Medium-leverage situations: .164/.200/.344, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs, 14 Ks, 2 BBs
High-leverage situations: .400/.478/1.050, 4 HRs, 16 RBIs, 3 Ks, 3 BBs

So, in the biggest spots, Frazier's batting average goes up. Way up, in fact. His power production goes up. His strikeouts go down. Sixty percent of his RBIs have come with the game hanging in the balance.

"Don't tell me what you hit, tell me when you hit it."

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