Will Benson, Nick Martini have overshadowed this under-appreciated Reds outfielder

Don't forget about Jake Fraley.

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jake Fraley
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jake Fraley / Ben Jackson/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds are off to a 2-1 start, and two players have stood out as biggest reasons why. Yes, Frankie Montas had a terrific start on Opening Day, but the duo of Will Benson and Nick Martini have been locked in to start the season.

Benson has been absolutely crushing the ball out of the gates, which is a stark contrast to how the former Cleveland Guardians farmhand began his 2023 campaign. And all Martini has done is silence all the critics (yes, I was one of them) who thought that he didn't belong on the Reds Opening Day roster.

And while Benson and Martini deserve all the adulation they're receiving, it's important not to overlook another stellar performer. Jake Fraley has been white-hot through the Reds' first three games of 2024, and actually has a higher batting average and on-base percentage than both Benson and Martini.

Will Benson, Nick Martini have overshadowed this under-appreciated Reds outfielder

Fraley is kind of the forgotten bat in the Reds' lineup. The slugger will be out of the lineup for Monday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies with left-hander Cristopher Sánchez scheduled to pitch, even though Fraley is 1-for-2 against southpaws this season.

But while Benson and Martini have been crushing the ball through the first three games of 2024, Fraley has been doing his part as well. Fraley is 5-for-8 and has yet to strikeout. The 27-year-old is hitting .625/.625/.750 with a double and two runs scored.

It's easy for a player like Fraley to get lost in the shuffle. The former Seattle Mariners outfielder isn't the 'toolsy-ist' player on the Reds roster. But Fraley has plenty of pop, above-average speed, and enough arm in the outfield that he'll typically line up in right field. He's a good all-around player.

With TJ Friedl and Matt McLain out of the line to start the season, it's great to see Fraley get off to a hot start. The Reds need his production in the middle of the batting order and his leadership, both on the field and in the clubhouse.

If there's a right-handed pitcher on the mound, you can bet that Fraley will be on David Bell's lineup card. The Reds' bats have started out the season hot, and Fraley's contributions through the first few games should not go unnoticed.

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