Reds report card: Grading TJ Friedl's breakout 2023 season

TJ Friedl was, arguably, the Reds best player this past season.
Cincinnati Reds centerfielder TJ Friedl (29) celebrates
Cincinnati Reds centerfielder TJ Friedl (29) celebrates / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

What a year it was for the Cincinnati Reds, and the man who got the ball rolling, more times than not, was TJ Friedl.

An obscure, undrafted free agent, who worked his way up through the Cincinnati farm system, became the Reds most indispensable player in 2023,

Friedl, who was a platoon option to begin the season, became David Bell's most trusted player as the 2023 campaign unfolded. Friedl was, arguably, the Reds player this past season.

Reds report card: Grading TJ Friedl's breakout 2023 season

TJ Friedl, AKA Captain Chaos, was a leader on the field and in the clubhouse. Friedl, who saw time batting leadoff and as the Cincinnati Reds' No. 2 hitter, was oftentimes the team's tablesetter, but would ride the pine agains left-handed bats.

However, as the season entered the dog days of summer, it became quite clear that Friedl was going to be in the lineup every day. By season's end, the 27-year-old had a better slash line against southpaws than he did against right-handed pitchers.

Friedl hit .260/.334/.449 against right-handers, but posted an outstanding .354/.421/.542 against lefties. Friedl is an everyday player.

TJ Friedl. Friedl grade. A. .279/.352/.467 18 HR 66 RBI.

Not only was Friedl great in batters' box and on the base paths, but he was dynamite in the field as well. According to Fielding Bible, Friedl was worth 1 defensive run saved (DRS) and 5 outs above average (OAA) per Baseball Savant while playing one of most important positions on the field.

TJ Friedl led all Cincinnati Reds players in bWAR (3.8) last season and is under team control through the 2028 season. With Joey Votto on his way out and Jonathan India questionable to return in 2024, Friedl could very well be the emotional leader of the Reds moving forward.