Frazier prepares to thrive as everyday 2B

All but three players have reported; Pirates use Rapsodo to help inform hitters

February 16th, 2019

BRADENTON, Fla. -- When the early-arriving position players made their way out to one of the fields at the Pirate City complex on Saturday morning, lined up with prospect at second base. Frazier can get comfortable there after years of bouncing around the diamond.

Frazier is set to be the Pirates' starting second baseman this season. So unless there's an unexpected development, he doesn't have to worry about following his work at second with fly balls in the outfield or grounders at another position. The Bucs hope that kind of consistency will bring out the best in him.:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Still a lot of work to do, but I'm looking forward to doing that here in spring, then hitting the ground running," Frazier said. "Being able to focus on that one position is huge mentally, not having to scatter thoughts everywhere and run out to different places every day. I'm looking forward to that."

Frazier said he learned during his exit interview last season that the Pirates' plan was to use him exclusively at second base going forward. He is effectively taking over for free agent , also a former super-utility man who earned an everyday role. When Frazier worked out this winter, he did so only at second base.

"That was nice going into the offseason, having that thought in the back of my head that I could prepare that way," he said.

Frazier occasionally struggled in the infield as he moved around the field, playing six positions during his first three seasons. He showed improvement at second base late last season, however, after being demoted to Triple-A Indianapolis and working with Pirates infield coordinator Gary Green.

"[Green] had asked me what I needed to work on and what I wanted to do, so we hit that," Frazier said. "I just tried to attack the ball with my feet more and with my hands, getting through the ball instead of getting stuck back waiting on it. That focus down there, when I came back, I was able to do it at the big league level. It was basically just being more aggressive."

Frazier's second-half adjustment at the plate was less complicated. For the first few months of the season, his swing was too long and his timing was off because his hands were too high.

"I thought I knew my swing going into last season. I've always kind of prided myself on that. But after seeing the video, where I was at and where I usually am, it was pretty eye-opening," Frazier said. "I made that change, got the cues I want to work on -- keep the hands low and stuff like that."

Frazier's father, Tim, helped identify the problem, and Frazier made the necessary changes in Triple-A. He took off at the plate after he returned to the Majors on July 25, slashing .306/.357/.533 with seven homers the rest of the way.

"There's no reason for him to make any adjustment right now," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Around the horn

• Center fielder , shortstop and outfield prospects and joined the position players at Pirate City on Saturday. As of Saturday morning, only three hitters had not reported: , the recently signed and first-base prospect Will Craig.

• This is the first Spring Training that the Pirates are using Rapsodo tracking technology for their hitters. Rapsodo captures information such as exit velocity and launch angle as well as spin rate, among other data, for pitchers. New hitting coaches Rick Eckstein and Jacob Cruz are well-versed in the technology, Hurdle said, and the Pirates introduced it to their players over the winter.

"We wanted to incorporate it into our training sessions just so we could give them some instant feedback daily. We believe there's some value to it," Hurdle said. "There's some information that we can glean from it that can be productive for the guys as they continue to look for positive feedback in some of the swing adjustments they're making."

• The Pirates are scheduled to begin live batting practice, when their pitchers face their hitters, during Sunday's workout. Pittsburgh's big league pitchers will throw to hitters who reported early for Minor League camp.