The newest transfer in a busy Royals offseason introduced veteran second baseman/left fielder Adam Frazier to Kansas Metropolis on a one-year deal. Although Frazier has a protracted monitor file as an on a regular basis participant, Kansas Metropolis normal supervisor J.J. Picollo advised following the signing that Michael Massey will nonetheless be the common second baseman, with Frazier working in additional of a utility function (hyperlink through Jaylon Thompson of the Kansas Metropolis Star).
“[Massey] must be a giant a part of our workforce, and we shared that with [Frazier] final week,” Picollo said. The second-year Okay.C. GM pressured the significance of being up-front with a veteran like Frazier concerning the function he’d possible be getting into. That, it appears, gained’t be an on a regular basis one. Picollo famous that together with his defensive versatility, Frazier “can shield us, so to talk, in numerous methods.”
Massey, who’ll flip 26 in March, has logged vital huge league time in every of the previous two seasons however has but to solidify himself as a productive huge league hitter. Chosen by the Royals within the fourth spherical of the 2019 draft, Massey breezed by the minors. He’s a .293/.355/.503 hitter within the minors total, and he slashed a powerful .312/.371/.532 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2022 earlier than getting his first name to the massive leagues.
Sadly for each Massey and the Royals, that stage of output hasn’t carried over to the massive leagues. The lefty-swinging second baseman has appeared in 181 video games over the previous two seasons and turned in a middling .233/.284/.379 slash. Massey didn’t stroll at prolific charges within the minors, however his 5.2% stroll charge in 655 MLB plate appearances is clearly missing. He’s popped 19 dwelling runs and struck out at a barely lower-than-average 21.5% clip, however his 88.8 mph exit velocity and 38.7% hard-hit charge are each a bit shy of league common.
To his credit score, Massey improved down the stretch in 2023. His second-half batting line of .237/.271/.434 nonetheless sits nicely under common, however he reduce his strikeout charge from a obtrusive 28.2% in 200 first-half plate appearances to fifteen.4% in 228 second-half journeys to the plate. Massey diminished his chase charge on pitches off the plate, enormously improved his contact charge on pitches throughout the zone and usually swung by fewer pitches. The general high quality of his contact didn’t enhance a lot, however the frequency of it did. Had been it not for a .238 common on balls in play in that stretch of 228 plate appearances, the second half of his season would possible look a complete lot higher.
The 2024 season will likely be an essential one for Massey. He’s nonetheless comparatively younger, heading into his age-26 season, however with one other yr of comparable manufacturing to what he’s already displayed on the MLB stage, it’ll be far tougher for the Royals to proceed with him in a outstanding function. To that finish, that’s one of many areas wherein Frazier affords the workforce among the “safety” talked about by Picollo. Frazier’s personal manufacturing has dropped off since his Pirates days, however final yr’s .240/.300/.396 is healthier throughout the board than Massey’s was.
Frazier additionally affords some safety towards an unsure outfield group. MJ Melendez is one other once-promising Royals farmhand who’s but to hit within the huge leagues. Free agent signee Hunter Renfroe hits lefties much better than righties. The hope is definitely for him to patrol proper discipline on an on a regular basis foundation, but when Renfroe struggles, Frazier does have almost 400 profession innings in proper discipline. He additionally offers the Royals with damage depth for every of Massey, Melendez and Renfroe.