I think that a lot of us owe Todd Frazier an apology.
And after saying sorry, it might be a idea to say thanks. Because he’s been carrying this team.
Frazier did not have a traditional spring training. An oblique injury kept him in Florida long after the rest of the Mets headed north. While the third baseman was busy rehabbing, Jeff McNeil emerged as the best hitter on the team, and JD Davis flashed some legitimate power.
Where would Frazier fit in?
He finally returned on April 22nd. On April 23rd he hit a grand slam, putting the finishing touches on an impressive victory over the rival Phillies. Any goodwill earned with that massive blast did not last very long with Met fans.
In the middle of May, Frazier was mired in an awful slump. Believe it or not, Jed Lowrie was rumored to be close to returning, and Toms River’s very own was public enemy #1. The DFA and bench talk was deafening.
It all came to a head on May 24th. The Mets were playing the Detroit Tigers, fresh off a sweep of the Nationals. The Amazin’s suffered a heartbreaking loss 9-8. Frazier was the only position player who did not reach base that night, and the boos cascaded down after every at bat.
Things had changed since the end of April.
The team received news that Jed Lowrie had suffered a setback and no timetable was put in place for his return. JD Davis was no longer hitting. Coupled with his atrocious defense, he no longer had a strong case to be a mainstay in the lineup. Robinson Canó and Jeff McNeil were on the Injured List.
Seemingly, the third base job was Frazier’s by default. He was in the lineup everyday. But the boos stopped. The DFA and benching talk became isolated whispers. Todd Frazier has put the Mets on his back.
It all began a week before that game against Detroit. Since May 16, he is hitting .346 with a 1.029 OPS, four homers and 13 RBIs in 23 games. He is picking up the slack everywhere, routinely coming through with two outs after his teammates have faltered. His defense has been superb. Overall, Frazier is hitting .265/.336/.455 with six homeruns, and 18 RBI over 146 plate appearances.
June is going to be tough. The Yankees, Braves, Cubs and Phillies await the Mets this month. The starting pitching seems to be coming around and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. It’s largely due to Frazier’s play that these games are meaningful though.
Robinson Canó and Brandon Nimmo should be back soon. Jeff McNeil needs to be playing everyday. Dom Smith has shown he deserves more at bats. Maybe someday Jed Lowrie will play in a major league game.
The construction of the lineup will be very interesting. But Todd Frazier belongs in it.
So, I’ll start. Sorry, Todd. And thank you.