ARLINGTON, Texas – While starting every game and batting cleanup for the White Sox, Todd Frazier may be producing the least worrisome .215 batting average of all time through his first 33 games.
Frazier has a team high 10 homers and 27 RBI after his monster game against the Texas Rangers Monday — four straight hits after being retired in his first two at-bats — including a tiebreaking grand slam in the 12th against Cesar Ramos and a solo shot in the sixth.
“It’s tough when you’re struggling, but as the struggles happened I’ve come up with some big at-bats, man,” Frazier said. “As the struggles happened, my numbers have been there [except for] the average. That will take care of itself.’
Frazier said he’s been working on his swing.
“We knew it would come around. It just clicked, man,” he said.
Throughout Frazier’s fight to get his average and on-base percentage up, his defense has been there. While Austin Jackson and Adam Eaton have turned the Sox’ outfield defense from a liability to a plus, Frazier’s clean, heady and occasional big-play defense has stabilized the infield. In fact, the talk before the game was about Frazier’s glove.
Former Gold Glove third baseman Robin Ventura – Frazier’s manager – seems to marvel at how Frazier, who ranks fifth in defensive runs saved among third basemen since 2012, never stays on one place.
“He’s moving all the time. It’s interesting to me, just the way he walks around,’’ Ventura said. “Positioning and things like that, he doesn’t let anybody get a feel for where he’s at on the field.
“I couldn’t have done that. I liked being in my own spot. I could move up and back but he’s later. He’s all over the place.’’
Frazier, who came up in the Cincinnati Reds system as a shortstop, is always poised to react and always thinking out there.
“They always say third base is a step and a dive,’’ he said. “Your reaction skills have to be up. I take pride in helping out our pitchers to throw as less pitches as possible.’’
Frazier processes spray charts, his own history with hitters andwho’s pitching.
“Do your homework for where to line up go with your gut,’’ he said. “There are a lot of variables and it’s kind of a chess match.’’
Frazier was hitless his first six games of May before breaking out with a homer and RBI double against the Twins Sunday. He’s been good at not taking bad hitting stretches with him on the field.
“You have to set your mind on one thing and when you’re in the field set it on another,’’ he said. “I’ve learned that if you’re thinking too much or worrying about what happened in the past you’re not going to be good at what you do. When I get to the field [after a bad at-bat], maybe a couple yells here or there but when the pitcher is ready to go, it’s go time.’’