The Pirates have to be careful with their handling of Adam Frazier, who could be the real deal in the majors.
The Pirates have an interesting situation on their hands with Adam Frazier.
At least, it could turn into an interesting situation if the team decides to play it that way.
Adam Frazier, former middling prospect, jumped onto the scene last season as a utility player, and is continuing his success again this season. Frazier has had success in the bigs so far, and it is leading some to jump to conclusions about his future. Some want him to take over as the starting second baseman, and many see him as a key piece to the Pirates future. He may certainly be the latter, but it’s important for the Pirates to take the time to properly evaluate Frazier and to not jump to any bold conclusions of their own.
What I mean by this is the Pirates shouldn’t look to extend Frazier any time soon, nor should they force him into a starting role that doesn’t work for him. We all saw Josh Harrison break out in 2014, then the Pirates non-tender Pedro Alvarez and subsequently make Harrison the starting third baseman for the 2015 campaign. In addition to that, the Pirates gave Harrison a four-year extension at the beginning of the season. Harrison followed up his 2014 season with decent 2015 and 2016 seasons, but both were far short of the success he had in 2014. J-Hay may be worth the money he’s making, but the production he’s putting up is average at best for a starter in this league.
A Sharp Lesson From Recent History
Did the Pirates extend J-Hay too quickly? I thought so at the time. 2014 certainly seems like an outlier now. Even if the extension was worthy, Harrison may have been best used in the super-utility role he held in 2014 rather than as a starter. Adam Frazier is a player in a similar mold to Harrison. Neither was a top prospect, and each had to break into the league as a bench player willing to play a multitude of positions. If Frazier has a break-out year, the team has to look back at their handling of Harrison and see how they then want to Handle Frazier. The team should not extend Frazier too quickly, nor should they force Frazier into a starting role if he is best used as a utility player.
The recent news on Starling Marte means that Frazier may be starting more often than the team had originally intended at the outset of this season. This is a good time to see if Frazier is for real. Harrison had four seasons in the bigs before he got his extension, and even that might not have been enough time to judge him. Luckily the Pirates have plenty of time to evaluate Frazier, and they should take all of the time they need.
Photo Credit – Tom Hagman – Flickr Creative Commons