The New White Sox Curse Has Its Claws On Todd Frazier
|Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports|
The problem is, even if the Sox are 8-4, there's still plenty of things to worry about based on what we've seen. The glaring problem is the offense, which was the one area of the team that got the biggest makeover during the offseason, and so far it's not working out that well. The Sox are averaging a paltry 3.25 runs per game, and have scored three runs or less in seven of their first 12 games.
There's a lot of blame to go around, as there are only a couple of guys in the lineup that have really been contributing, but the major omissions are Jose Abreu and Todd Frazier.
When it comes to Abreu, it's easy to dismiss any concern because we've all seen who Jose is the last two years, and we all have reason to believe he's going to be fine.
The guy we haven't watched is Frazier. What we have seen, however, are major offseason acquisitions coming to the South Side and subsequently shitting the bed.
The obvious examples in recent seasons are the Adams Dunn and LaRoche.
Frazier's early season performance is bringing back some bad memories, and while I want to say he's going to be fine, and I believe he's going to be fine, I really don't know. Until somebody breaks the curse, it's hard to escape the feeling of doom perpetually hovering over your shoulder.
When trying to figure out what's wrong with Frazier, some things are obvious. First of all, he's struck out 14 times in 51 plate appearances. That's a strikeout rate of 27.5%, and that's well above Frazier's career rate of 21.0% before this season. Also, while Frazier has never been the type of hitter to take a lot of walks, his 3.9% walk rate this year is also well below his career rate of 7.5%.
Until Sunday's performance against Matt Moore, in which Frazier struck out four times, and looked absolutely helpless, he hadn't been swinging at pitches outside the zone. At least, not at the same rate he had in his career.
Also, before Sunday, his contact rate had been in line with his career numbers.
The same cannot be said for the type of contact Frazier's making.
Frazier's hard-hit ball percentage (which is exactly what it sounds like, the percentage of balls he put in play that were hit hard) is at only 20% this season. His career rate is 33.4%. So while he's making the same amount of contact, he's not squaring the ball up nearly as well as he typically does.
I think a big reason for this is Frazier seems to be pressing. I don't know if he feels some extra weight on his shoulders for being the guy who is supposed to help save the offense, but it sure looks like he's trying to hit every pitch 450 feet to left field.
No matter what the pitch is, or where it's located, he's trying to hit the ever-living shit out of it, and that's not really the best approach. He's pulling his head off the ball, opening his hips a bit too early, and just flying out of the box. All of which is something that happens to hitters from time to time, no matter how good they are.
So you hope he's just in a funk he can break out of sometime soon.
It's just, like I said, until we see him do it, it's hard to not feel like it's impossible.
And just in case you aren't worried enough, I decided to compare Frazier's first 12 games as a White Sox with the first 12 games Adam Dunn and Adam LaRoche had with the team.