Frazier is Leading Hitter Among NL Rookies
Cincinnati rookie Todd Frazier was disappointed after a strong spring training left him the last player removed from the Reds active roster before opening day. He was soon back back in the bigs and is one of the top hitters on the Reds this season. His bat and versatility defensively has been invaluable to the Reds effort which has them atop the NL Central.
Before the beginning of the season many felt that the Reds had a couple of candidates to be the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year. Zach Cozart was ready to take over full time at shortstop and top prospect Devin Mesoraco replaced departed free agent catcher Ramon Hernandez. Now in mid-August they do indeed have a candidate, but it is infielder Todd Frazier who started the season at Louisville.
Frazier must have been disappointed when he was the last player removed from the 25-man active roster before opening day. He had just made a strong case for himself in spring training where he led the Reds with five home runs and hit .290. It didn’t take long for him to get an opportunity. After ten games with the Bats he got the call when reserve infielder Miguel Cairo went on the DL and hasn’t returned. Instead he’s hit .280/.339 OB% with the Reds and his fourteen home runs in 310 plate attempts have fueled a .528 slugging percentage.
Below is a list of other NL rookies with significant action this season:
1) Wade Miley(LHP), Diamondbacks : 20 GS 12-8/3.02 ERA/1.124 WHIP
2) Bryce Harper (of), Nationals: 400 PA/.249 AVG/.328 OB%/.406 SLG%/10 HR/32 RBI
3) Norichicki Aoki (2b), Brewers : 373 PA/.290 AVG/.355 OB%/.423 SLG%/6 HR/27 RBI
4) Jordan Pacheco (if), Rockies: 315 PA/.305 AVG/.334 OB%/.403 SLG% /1 HR/27 RBI
5) Steve Lombardozzi (2b/of), Nationals: 348 PA/.270 AVG/.319 OB%/.351 SLG%/2 HR/21RBI
6) Zach Cozart (ss), Reds: 437 PA/ .243 AVG/.289 OB%/.400 SLG%/13 HR/26 RBI
7) Kirk Nieuwenhuis (of), Mets: 314 PA/ .252 AVG/.315 OB%/.376 SLG%/7 HR/28 RBI
8) Mike Fiers (rph) Brewers: 13 GS/6-5/2.63 ERA/1.098 WHIP
9) Yonder Alonso (1b), Padres: 440 PA/.269 AVG/.339 OB%/.393 SLG%/6 HR/41 RBI
10) Wilin Rosario (c), Rockies: 260 PA .237 AVG/.285 OB%/.515 SLG%/18 HR/44 RBI
There are a couple of other players that would be included but they satisfied their requirements for a rookie last year. Lance Lynn of the Cardinals stayed below 45 IP in 2011, but he spent more than 45 days on the Cardinals roster between June 2 and August 9. Steve Rizzo has hit well with the Cubs and had fewer than 150 AB with the Padres, but he played in the majors from June 9 to July 31 before his September call-up.
Of Frazier’s competition, Miley probably has the strongest case. Bryce Harper will no doubt be on a lot of ballots too. He benefits from a lot of earlier speculation when the top pick in the 2010 draft would arrive in the big leagues. Both have an all-star selection on their resume. Miley was helped by lack of competition from his Arizona teammates and Harper benefitted from his preseason hype.
When comparing Frazier against those two one case is a classic value of a pitcher versus that of a hitter debate. Although his stat line is better than Harper’s it is not clearly superior. However, Frazier’s versatility has helped him contribute to the Reds success as much as anything. He took over at third base when Scott Rolen was on the DL after struggling to start the season. When Rolen was ready to come back he moved across the infield to fill in for injured Joey Votto. Reds manager Dusty Baker likes to frequently rest to resurgent 33 year-old Ryan Ludwick and Frazier has seen action in left field too. The bottom line is that he has been invaluable to the Reds effort this season and is in the top three of every major offensive category among all hitters on the team.
If voters are heavily influenced by the level of play expected in future years it would be difficult for any rookie in recent history to beat Harper. Of course there’s almost one third of this season left to play and plenty of time for someone to get a leg up on competition with a strong finish. Reds fans are eager to see their slugger return at first base but and when he does Frazier will continue splitting time with the two oldest regulars in their lineup. He’s also gone 6-10 as a pinch hitter and figures to continue putting runs across the plate, hardware or not.
News from the Farm:
It was a slow day in the Cincinnati organization yesterday and no one was able to put up a win.
Louisville allowed four runs in the first inning and another five in the second at Gwinnett and came up short in their comeback attempt in an 11-7 loss. Henry Rodriguez had four hits and crossed the plate three times. Felix Perez had three hits and drove in three to raise his average to .297. Neftali Soto was 1-2 with three walks and Brian Peacock added a solo home run. Pedro Villarreal got the start and the loss. He was roughed up for eight earned runs and lifted in the second inning.
Pensacola had an off-day and will travel to Mobile Tuesday.
Bakersfield was idle and will open a three game set at San Jose Tuesday.
Dayton lost a lead when they allowed three in the sixth inning in a 6-3 defeat to visiting Fort Wayne. The Dragon lineup was held to six hits. Stalin Gerson allowed five runs in five innings. Only one of the runs was earned, but that was enough to hang the loss on him.
Billings allowed three runs in the eighth inning in a 3-1 home loss to Idaho Falls. Beau Amaral and Seth Mejias-Brean had two hits each for the Mustangs. Ismael Guillon turned in a gem. He threw six shutout innings with three hits and struck out ten against one walk to bring his ERA down to 2.29. Bennett Klimesh relieved him and allowed three runs in 1+ innings for the loss.
The AZL Reds took a three run lead after two and then were pounded by the visiting AZL Cubs for seven runs in the fourth inning. The Reds lost at home after the Cubs continued to pour it on in a 17-7 decision. Jonathan Reynoso, Tanner Rahier, Avain Rachel, and Wilfrel Estevez each had two hits for the Reds. Luke Moran was lifted in the fourth and took his third loss. He allowed six runs (four earned) on seven hits.
The DSL Reds fell behind when they allowed two runs in the second inning and came up short in a 3-2 loss at the DSL Rockies. The Reds offense was limited to only three hits. Juan Martinez allowed three runs (one earned) in five innings for the loss.