The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association announced the team winners of the 2023 Heart and Hustle Award. It is the only annual award that's voted on by former players.
This is the award's 18th year of existence, and several former Cincinnati Reds greats have had the privilege of being recognized in the past. Names like Scooter Gennett, Todd Frazier, Miguel Cairo, and Jonny Gomes give you some insight into the type of players this award acknowledges.
This year, TJ Friedl joins that list as the Reds winner of the 2023 Heart and Hustle Award. According to MLB.com, the award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game.
Reds outfielder TJ Friedl receives Heart and Hustle Award.
Where would the Cincinnati Reds be this season without TJ Friedl? After languishing in the minor leagues for several years, the outfielder finally received a legitimate chance to make a name for himself in the big leagues last season.
But after a subpar start, Friedl was optioned back to Triple-A where he remade his swing and eventually worked his way back to the active roster. Upon his return, there weren't many players on the Cincinnati roster who outplayed Friedl.
From mid-August through the end of the season, Friedl slashed .267/.354/.533 and really made his presence felt. The 27-year-old earned his role with this year's team and looks to be solid contributor for the Reds organization for years to come.
This season, TJ Friedl owns a .787 OPS with 17 stolen bases. His 5 defensive runs saved leads all Reds players according to Fielding Bible, and Friedl has shown great leadership on a very young team.
No Cincinnati Reds player has ever won the Heart and Hustle Award, but there are few players in the game who deserve that distinction more than TJ Friedl. The overall winner will be announced in mid-November.