Cincinnati Reds in Review: 3B Todd Frazier

In a season where bright spots offensively were certainly lacking, Todd Frazier was of the few Cincinnati Reds to have a productive year with the bat in his hands.

After a bit of a sophomore slump in 2013, Frazier took the next step to stardom in 2014 by making an All-Star appearance and even competing in the Home Run Derby. The affable New Jersey man has put a lock on the hot corner for the Reds in the near future.

Todd Frazier – Third Baseman

By now you know the story of a boy who grew up on a diamond from Toms River, New Jersey. He was exposed to us all at a young age during the Little League World Series before we could ever know he would be a future Cincinnati Reds All-Star. Like nearly every child that age, he idolized Derek Jeter. Unlike every child that age, he would one day become Jeter’s peer in an All-Star Game.

Rutgers University is far from a collegiate powerhouse. The three most famous alumni besides Frazier would be the speedy Eric Young Sr., the ageless David DeJesus, and the fabulously named Bob Tewksbury. Already, Frazier is approaching taking over the all-time home run lead from DeJesus, whom he trails by just 21 long balls.

Despite his first-round draft pick status; Frazier never seemed destined to become a franchise cornerstone. Maybe it was the stigmatism of being an East Coaster, where there is less time to train year round for baseball (ask Mike Trout about that), or the fact that he never dominated any one stop along his minor league trail, but once Frazier arrived in 2012 and saved the day when Joey Votto went down, there was no doubt he had come to stay.

If you still buy into the theory that pitcher’s cannot be the most valuable player on a team, then you’re almost certainly in the corner of Todd Frazier for being named the club’s MVP in 2014. He would play in 157 games, the only starting position player to not suffer a significant injury at some point in the season.

On top of his nearly 30 home run campaign, he would also swipe 20 bases, something manager Bryan Price pushed all Redlegs to do. Heading into this season, Frazier had swiped all of 10 bases combined his entire major league career—his previous high was 17 with Triple-A Louisville in 2011.

In the case of Frazier, we witnessed a player make a significant impact his rookie year, undergo a bit of a sophomore slump, and then come roaring back in year three. Under contract with Cincinnati for the next three seasons (and hopefully beyond), we will see if Frazier can now take the step from All-Star to super-stardom.

Frazier’s Stat Line:

.273/.336/.459, 597 AB’s, 29 HR, 80 RBI, 20 SB, 52 BB-139 K, 5.3 WAR, .624 OWn%

Top Todd Frazier Moment:

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Frazier had quite the laundry list of moments to choose from.

One moment in particular that I’m sure many fans remember was the May 19 contest in Washington D.C. with the Nationals where the game never seemed to end. Entering the top of the 15th inning, the Reds’ bullpen was taxed, the players were exhausted, it had been raining, there was such a mess of issues that even if the Redlegs won, it would have felt like a loss.

Then came Todd Frazier’s blast deep into the night. Not many folks were left in the park to witness the biggest of Frazier’s 29 home runs in 2014, putting his club ahead 4-2 in the top of the 15th on a two-run shot. He would finish that game 3-for-6 with a hit by pitch.

Low Point of the Season for Todd Frazier:

If there is one flaw to Frazier offensively is still his prepotency to chase pitches outside of the strike zone. His quirky swing that works so brilliantly for him at times can also fail him, and in comedic ways.

Frazier would have 35 games during the year in which he would record a multi-strikeout performance. After his heroics earlier in the season in a 15-inning thriller, he would also play all 15 innings of a 2-1 to the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 28 in which he would go 0-for-6 with a season-high four strikeouts.

Final Grade: A

Despite the constant switching of positions defensively, the seemingly never-ending movement up-and-down in the batting order, or the carousel of new infield mates around him, Frazier had a tremendous season. Now just imagine what can happen when he has some stability.

Not a whole lot of good came from 2014, but the rapid ascension of Frazier into maybe the league’s premier third baseman may prove to be a silver lining after all.