The Cincinnati Reds selected Todd Frazier, a product of Rutgers, with the 34th selection in the 2007 MLB Draft. To date, his minor league numbers have not been overly impressive, at least on the surface, making his flexibility appear to be more of his ticket to the Major Leagues than anything.
He has seen time all across the diamond, playing 1B, 3B, SS and OF during his two plus years in the Reds’ system. While it’s great to view him as a potential utility option, his bat has the potential to be so much more than that.
He hit .292 with 16 HR and 77 RBI in 534 AB between Double & Triple-A last season, so I’m sure many people are questioning things. Those are pedestrian numbers, looking more like a role player than anything else. Taking that stance would be a drastic miscalculation.
First off all, he hit 45 doubles last season to go along with a flyball rate of 45.2%. While the flyball rate may drop, at least a little bit, the fact that he was able to generate that many doubles (as well as two triples) is a great sign for fantasy owners for two reasons.
First of all, at 23-years old it is very easy to believe that his power has not yet reached its full potential. At the time he was drafted, mlb.com’s scouting report for Frazier said that he “has plus raw power and projects to have above-average gap power as a pro”.
Additionally, Baseball America, who ranked him as the Reds’ second best prospect prior to the 2009 season (and 60th overall), said “Frazier has above-average raw power and translates it well into games. While he has an unconventional swing, he clearly understands it and knows how to make adjustments. Since turning pro, he has learned to quicken his stride, enabling him to get his left foot down quicker and handle fastballs that previously gave him trouble.”
No matter what you look at, his ability at the plate is not in question. With time, the power is going to come, despite what he’s shown thus far in the minor leagues (42 HR in 1,174 AB).
The second thing you like is the ballpark he’s going to call home. With all the flyballs he is already hitting, would it be shocking to see many of those flying over the fences of Great American Ballpark? While we would all still be high on him had he been putting up 40+ doubles and going to a pitcher’s ballpark (like Petco Park), the fact that he will call a bandbox home makes him look all the more appealing.
He really has the potential to be the total package, with a little bit of speed (he had nine stolen bases last season), power and the ability to hit for a solid average (his mark last season came courtesy of a realistic .322 BABIP). The real question is where he is going to play.
While he’s spent time at 1B and 3B in the minors, barring any trades, Joey Votto and Scott Rolen are penciled into those spots. He also has seen time at SS, but from what I’ve read, he projects more as a 3B or OF, meaning the Reds will likely go with a more reliable defensive option there.
His best opportunity is likely to be the outfield, where Chris Dickerson, Laynce Nix or Wladimir Balentien are currently the team’s best options for the LF job. Would it be surprising to see Frazier claim that job for himself?
With his potential power, he needs to be on the radar for all fantasy owners, both yearly and dynasty leagues. While he may open the season at Triple-A, it is not going to take long for him to force his way into the Reds’ line-up. Once that happens, he’s going to be a must own option, so if you are in a league that has a deep bench, you’re going to want to stash him away. If not, watch the news closely and as soon as he’s recalled make sure you put in your claim.
What are your thoughts? How good could Frazier be? How many HR do you think he may hit in 2010?
To read the previous article, click here.