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Adam Frazier to the Padres - Fantasy Impact

We're heading into the final stretch before the deadline, and another major trade target has been dealt in Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier, who now heads to the west coast to join the San Diego Padres. Here's how that trade broke down:

Padres receive: 2B Adam Frazier, cash considerations
Pirates receive: INF Tucupita Marcano, OF Jack Suwinski, RHP Michell Miliano

Frazier will now provide a solid boost to the Padres lineup that will see some reshuffling with this addition. Meanwhile, the Pirates begin what's expected to be a significant selling-off of players as they try to build up a solid farm system for the future. Before we get to the Pirates' haul, let's take a look at what you should expect from Frazier going forward.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and weekly lineup resources:

 

All He Does Is Hit, Hit, Hit

Frazier has very quickly this season gone from sitting on the waiver wire in almost every league to now being rostered in 84 percent of leagues. He is hitting .324 with 58 runs scored in 98 games will certainly gain the interest of managers in almost any format. Unfortunately, that's really the only way he's contributing, as he has four home runs, five steals and 32 RBI this season as well. Despite that, he still provides a significant enough boost in average and runs scored that he is still a very valuable guy to roster.

Now looking at his Statcast metrics, it does suggest that he's gotten a bit lucky at the plate this year, as he sports a .298 xBA and .387 xSLG. That being said, his xBA ranks in the 97th percentile in the league. The bigger issue is the xSLG, as that's a significant drop from his current .448 SLG. So while he shouldn't have a problem continuing to hit for a high average in the second half, we could see a slight drop off in his already low power numbers.

The bigger impact from this trade will be felt by the rest of the Padres lineup. Jake Cronenworth has been the team's primary second baseman all season long. Frazier has some experience playing in the outfield, but the Padres are pretty well set there with Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham and Wil Myers, with Jurickson Profar bouncing around the outfield getting regular playing time as a backup.

It seems that the guy who is most likely going to lose out on playing time as a result of this is Eric Hosmer. The Padres will likely slide Cronenworth over to first base and pencil Frazier in at second base. Frazier could periodically get starts in the outfield, which could open up a start for Hosmer again. The loss of playing time shouldn't hurt too many managers though, as Hosmer has been having a down year in 2021 by hitting .266 with a .710 OPS, eight home runs, five steals, 48 RBI and 34 runs scored in 92 games.

That being said, things could change very soon. While I was writing this article, rumors have emerged that Hosmer could be dealt before the deadline, according to The Athletic.

As for the second base job in Pittsburgh, for the short term Wilmer Difo seems a likely candidate for the bulk of playing time with Frazier gone. The Pirates have several options to choose from besides Difo, such as Cole Tucker in the minors or Erik Gonzalez once he returns from the injured list. The newly acquired Marcano could be in the mix for some playing time later in the season.

Of that group of options, Difo would likely provide the best value in fantasy for the rest of this year after slashing .279/.336/.434 with three home runs, 13 RBI and 14 runs scored over 134 plate appearances as primarily a pinch-hitter or late-inning replacement. That being said, don't expect Difo to provide nearly as much value as Frazier, as he should be more of an option in deep-mixed and NL-only leagues.

 

Pirates Prospects Preview

The headlining prospect in this deal is Marcano. The No. 5 overall prospect in San Diego's system according to MLB Pipeline, he made his major league debut this season where he slashed .182/.280/.205 with three RBI and seven runs scored over 25 games. However, he has looked good at Triple-A where over 44 games he has slashed .272/.367/.444 with six home runs, four steals, 26 RBI and 31 runs scored. He has done this as a 21-year-old making the jump to Triple-A from Single-A in 2019. He's got some good speed and has the potential to swipe 15 to 20 bases, and he could start developing some more power as he gets older and builds up more muscle to become a potential 20 home run threat.

The Pirates have a glut of middle infield prospects currently, and while it's not clear just yet who Pittsburgh is going to turn to at second base for the rest of the season, it's entirely possible we see Marcano get some playing time down the stretch.

Suwinski looks to be a solid power bat in the outfield, having hit a career-high 15 home runs already this year in 66 games at Double-A. He's also slashing .269/.398/.551 with seven steals, 37 RBI and 47 runs scored. Based on his career performance over five seasons now in the minors, Suwinski is looking like he could become a potential 20-home run, 10-steal threat in the future. Considering the fact he's only 22, there's quite a bit to like here — especially with the solid plate discipline he's displayed with a career 25.2 percent strikeout rate and 11.2 percent walk rate.

The final piece in this deal, Miliano is a former starter turned high-strikeout reliever. As a 21-year-old splitting time between Single-A and High-A this season, Miliano is 2-2 with two saves, a 3.60 ERA, 1.400 WHIP and 43.1 percent strikeout rate over 30 innings of work. While the strikeout rate is up significantly higher than in previous seasons, he still owns a 31.7 percent career strikeout rate, so it's not entirely out of left field to see him putting up these numbers.

 

Outlook For 2021 And Beyond

Frazier should still put up good numbers with San Diego going forward, and he could even see a slight uptick in runs by being a part of a better lineup, and a potential uptick in RBI by hitting lower in the Padres' order. His value in fantasy will still be dependent on his average and runs scored, but overall he will likely see a slight bump in value with the Padres. While this will have his value trending upwards, Hosmer will see his value drop as he likely gets less playing time with San Diego if he isn't traded away. This trade will also likely see a slight bump in RBI production from whoever is hitting behind Frazier going forward.

As far as the hole at second base in Pittsburgh, there are several options the Pirates could turn to. As of right now Difo would likely have the best numbers of the group. However his value will be limited to deep-mixed or NL-only leagues.

Of the prospects heading to Pittsburgh, the most likely to have any impact in 2021 is Marcano. He has struggled in his brief time at the majors this season though, so we could see Marcano spend the rest of the year at Triple-A Indianapolis. He's still not far off from the majors and should be a top target for dynasty managers. Suwinski and Miliano both have some upside as well, but they're still several years away from making any fantasy impact.



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