Fantasy Baseball: Adam Frazier MLB trade deadline deal raises questions about playing time for Padres


With the MLB trade deadline looming, the next week is the last time the Fantasy Baseball landscape can really be shaken up this season. Sunday’s reported trade between the Padres and Pirates will not be one of those landscape-altering deals, but the move to send Adam Frazier to San Diego has some interesting wrinkles Fantasy players will have to consider. 

Frazier is having the best season of his career, hitting .324/.388/.448 through 428 plate appearances. He cut his strikeout rate from an already low 13.1% career mark down to 10.7%, while matching his career-best walk rate. He’s been a solid contributor for Fantasy, though his .359 BABIP suggests there’s been more than a bit of good luck. A .338 expected wOBA based on Statcast data from BaseballSavant.com compared to his .368 mark back that suspicion up. 

Still, Frazier’s contact-heavy approach will help him sustain a high batting average, and his ability to play multiple infield and outfield spots fits in well on a Padres team that heavily values versatility. Frazier will join Ha-Seong Kim, Jake Cronenworth, and Jurickson Profar as swiss army knives for the Padres to deploy all over the field.

Of course, you can see where things might get complicated for Frazier’s value. Right field and first base are the two relative weak spots in the Padres between Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer, so the question is how will they deploy Frazier? Will he play right field? He’s logged over 900 innings in the majors at a corner outfield spot, so that might work. Or, will he stick at his natural position at second, with Cronenworth pushing Hosmer isn’t a platoon role? 

The answer to both questions is probably, “Yes, depending on the day.” I would guess he’ll play a bit less than every day, and given that he has very little power or speed, means it could be tough for Frazier to remain in the starting Fantasy discussion. Don’t go looking to drop Frazier right now, but unless the Padres are willing to put Hosmer or Myers on the bench full time, Frazier’s value almost certainly takes a hit from this trade. Myers and Hosmer are both already pretty fringe-y Fantasy options themselves, and neither’s outlook is helped by this trade, for sure. 

The Padres are looking to stockpile talent, and they’ll figure out how to deploy those players each day. As for the Pirates, well, they wanted to make sure they got something for Frazier during his career-best season. He won’t be a free agent until after next season, but he’ll also be 30 in five months, so this was probably the highest his value on the market would ever be. 

So, what did the Pirates get back? The Padres are reportedly sending infielder Tucupita Marcano as the centerpiece of the deal, along with outfielder Jack Suwinski and pitcher Michell Miliano. 

Marcano has struggled in 50 plate appearances in the majors this season, hitting .182/.280/.205, but he was hitting .273/.367/.444 as a 21-year-old at Triple-A, and actually kind of resembled Frazier in the minors. He struck out just 101 times in 256 games while hitting .278 and playing three different spots along the infield. The contact skills stand out, but the question is whether he’ll ever be able to hit for enough power or steal enough bases to be much more than a fringe Fantasy option. With just six homers and four steals in 44 minor-league games this season, he’s probably best left for NL-only leagues, though he could be quite valuable there if the Pirates play him everyday. And they should — after all, they’ll be sending $1.4 million back to the Padres to offset the cost of Frazier’s contract. 

Suwinski has already hit a career-high 15 homers in 66 games this season as a 22-year-old at Double-A while also walking a career-high 16.9% of the time, making his strikeout-prone approach more palatable. Maybe he gets a taste of the majors later this season if he keeps hitting, but Suwinski seems to be just a very, very deep league prospect for those of you in Dynasty formats. 

Miliano is a 21-year-old reliever who has 59 strikeouts in 30 innings this season, though with just 4.1 coming at High-A, he’s probably someone who can be ignored in all formats. 





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