Jake Fraley's absence from the Reds lineup is curious

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Jake Fraley (27) tracks and catches a line drive.
Cincinnati Reds center fielder Jake Fraley (27) tracks and catches a line drive. / Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Sure, Jake Fraley hasn't performed well to begin the 2022 season, but name a player on the Cincinnati Reds roster who has. Only Aramis Garcia, Alejo Lopez, and Kyle Farmer are hitting over .250 on the season.

Fraley hasn't been in the Cincinnati starting lineup since last Monday in San Diego and has only made one appearance since. The outfielder pinch hit on Wednesday afternoon versus the Padres.

While Fraley might be seen as more of a platoon hitter, it was a bit odd to see the 26-year-old out of the lineup versus St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Dakota Hudson on Saturday. Fraley was also out of the lineup on Tuesday versus the Padres right-handed pitcher Joe Musgrove.

Why has Jake Fraley been out of the Reds lineup recently?

TJ Friedl was elevated to the big league roster last week after Tyler Naquin hit the Injured List with an illness. David Bell immediately inserted Friedl atop the Cincinnati Reds batting order on Tuesday, and you'll get no argument from me with that move.

Given how poorly the Reds hitting has been, I'd try just about anything at this point. But why play the right-handed hitting Aristides Aquino in right field over Jake Fraley against the right-hander Joe Musgrove?

Wednesday saw San Diego left-hander Mackenzie Gore on the bump and Friday's tilt at Great American Ball Park was against southpaw Steven Matz. Given Fraley's .451 OPS against lefties, it made perfect sense to keep the former Seattle Mariner out of the lineup.

But last night's game saw Brandon Drury occupying the designated hitter role while Colin Moran was playing third base. Fraley was once again the bench.

I know that David Bell is trying anything and everything he can to get someone on his club to jumpstart the hitting. I'm just surprised that Fraley has been absent from the lineup for nearly a week.

With Adam Wainwright on the hill for St. Louis today, perhaps Jake Fraley will be back in the Cincinnati Reds lineup. At this point, whether there's a left-hander or right-hander on the mound for the opposition, Fraley should be starting over Aquino who now has a 52.5% strikeout-rate.

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