Nick Frasso has wowed folks with his stuff ever since the Dodgers acquired the 6’5 righty from the Blue Jays on August 2nd of last season. With a fastball sitting in the mid-to-upper 90s (and even reaching triple digits on occasion) that comes out of a unique release point that helps it garner a grade of 75 at MLB Pipeline, along with a plus changeup and a league average slider, it’s a wonder he was even made available.
That said, the lanky Torrance native, who was coming off of Tommy John surgery, saw his stuff being a bit ahead of the results in his late season bump to Double A Tulsa, posting relatively tepid rate stats in some limited run — in 11.2 IP, he had a strikeout rate of 18.3% and a walk rate of 13.0% with an ERA of 5.40 and a FIP of 4.96. Admittedly, the sample is not large enough to draw any inclusions, but it was large enough to identify some potential areas for improvement. Namely, in his delivery timing/tempo across his various pitch types. On the left, it’s the fastball, middle is the slider, right is the changeup:
As you can see at the pause, Frasso broke his hands at different times for all three pitches, and later on in the delivery, the fastball came out well behind that of the two offspeed offerings. While hitters are incredible, this might not be quite enough to tip anyone off. What mechanical variance can do is negatively impact command, which in large part comes from being able to repeat your delivery on a consistent basis.
The Dodgers are always seeking avenues for improvement, and this seems like a relatively obvious path to pursue. Flash forward to 2023, and this where the former Loyola Marymount Lion stands:
Yeah, that lines up a little bit better. For what it’s worth, in 2023, in a similarly small sample size with Tulsa (13.0 IP), Frasso has a strikeout rate of 33.3%, a walk rate of just 5.6%, an ERA of 1.38, and a FIP of 2.23, all of which are exceptional marks.
For kicks, here’s what it looks like all together and synced up, 2022 on top and 2023 on the bottom:
Indeed from this view, we can see that his delivery timing was sped up across the board, and his 2023 timing matches the tempo he employed when throwing his changeup in 2022.
With stuff like this, along with such quick progress, and the attendant results, Frasso might not be in Tulsa long enough to enjoy their catfish noodling demonstration weekend in mid-August, but his loss might be Oklahoma City’s, and perhaps ultimately, Dodger fans’ gain.