Frazier breaks out knuckler in pitching debut

September 19th, 2020

NEW YORK -- Todd Frazier’s most famous pitching performance will always be the title game of the 1998 Little League World Series. But Friday's is at least a distant second.

Tabbed to make his first career pitching appearance in the ninth inning of a 15-2 blowout loss to the Braves at Citi Field, Frazier delivered a perfect ninth inning, including a strikeout looking against his former Reds teammate Adam Duvall.

Frazier, who has played every defensive position other than center field and catcher during his 10-year big league career, threw “fastballs” and knuckleballs during his inning, firing them as slow as 51 mph and as fast as 68. He induced a deep flyout from Dansby Swanson to open the ninth, then faced Duvall -- his teammate on the 2015 Reds. Duvall took a strike and fouled off a pitch before Frazier delivered a called strike three up and in to the slugger, who has a Major League-best 10 home runs in September.

The final pitch to Duvall was clocked at 55.3 mph, the seventh-slowest strikeout pitch in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008).

“I thank him for going out there doing that,” manager Luis Rojas said. “We were searching for the possibility of having a guy who could do it. … Frazier was like, right away he was volunteering, basically, to do it.”

Frazier became the second Mets position player to pitch this season, following Luis Guillorme, who was optioned to the team’s alternate training site earlier on Friday in part because Frazier’s presence made him expendable. The Mets reacquired Frazier, a Met from 2018-19, in a trade last month with the Rangers.

At the time the Mets viewed him as a right-handed bench option capable of starting at third base against left-handed pitchers.

Apparently, he can pitch as well.

Frazier was both the offensive and pitching hero for Toms River, N.J., in the 1998 LLWS, going 4-for-4 with a leadoff home run and striking out the final batter to clinch the championship.