On Saturday afternoon, as the Orioles gathered for their daily hitters meeting, Adam Frazier’s teammates had a pressing topic they wanted to discuss.
Where on earth did all this power come from?
It’s a thought that most have had this season. Orioles social media even poked fun at the known power hitter Friday night after Frazier had his first career multihomer game.
It’s July 17. Yet Frazier — in his ninth major league season — already has a career-high 12 home runs with 70 games to go.
“It’s surprising,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
Frazier’s previous high was 10, a number he hasn’t hit since 2019 when he was on the Pirates. He hit only four in 2022. His strength has always been hitting for average — and he’s not doing anything differently with Baltimore.
“It’s not like I’m swinging harder and trying to hit homers. I’m just in a good place with the swing,” he said. “Hopefully I can keep it right there.”
This surge has been building since the start of spring training, his first with the Orioles after signing a one-year, $8 million deal last offseason. All of the changes had one main purpose: to get the bottom half of his body connected better to the upper half.
It started simply enough. First, he worked on turning his toe as he moved the rest of his body, instead of putting his toe down, then rotating. That change brought him immediate results: He hit a home run in the third game of the season.
“Last year I had a two-part kind of thing where I would put my foot down and then load again, which was not ideal by any means,” he said. “It’s just getting the body in a better position to hit.”
The rest of the changes have come gradually. He found he wasn’t using his larger leg muscles enough, so he pushed his butt back to put more emphasis on them. Later, he leaned in more to correct his bat path.
The adjustments never end. In New York on July 4, he flattened his foot on his turn. The result? Another home run.
“You are going to feel different every day,” Frazier said. “Sometimes timing is off and it’s not your swing. Sometimes it’s swing decisions. It’s constant evolution.”
Frazier, a left-handed batter, was brought in to even out the Orioles’ lineup and provide depth at second base and corner outfield. His future in Baltimore is murky. Top prospects Jordan Westburg and Colton Cowser are now in the majors, with Westburg able to play infield and Cowser a left-handed hitter who can play all three outfield spots.
Still, Frazier has shown enough to stick on the team even as a roster crunch nears. He’s also raising his profile for free agency and potentially even the upcoming trade deadline. His home runs have been one thing, but Frazier’s .303 batting average with runners in scoring position has also been key for the Orioles.
“I think a ton of experience, being in the league for a while,” Hyde said when asked what’s made Frazier so successful in those situations. “Just a short, simple swing, even approach with runners on base. Fortunately for us, he’s gotten a ton of hits for us in those spots.”