Todd Frazier is getting a trial run as the Cincinnati Reds’ starting third baseman and the rookie is making the most of it.
Frazier, 26, nearly single-handedly led the Reds to a 6-3 win over the host New York Mets on Wednesday with the first two home run game of his young career. He’s now batting .293 with three homers and six RBIs.
Keep in mind, Frazier was on a tear in spring training when he led the Reds with six home runs in Cactus League action. And last year, he hit a total of 21 home runs — 15 with triple-A Louisville and six with the Reds in a late-season call-up.
Making Frazier’s performance against the Mets even sweeter for Frazier is the fact that he’s from New Jersey and estimated he had “30 or 40 family and friends” in the stands.
Frazier was a standout collegiate shortstop at Rutgers and many thought the Reds got a steal when they landed him in the supplemental round (between the first and second rounds) in 2007. It took a while for Frazier to make the Majors, but he’s quickly proving to be a solid player and then some. In fact, I think he’s pretty close to locking himself in as the Reds’ 3B of the future. He’s also the third baseman of the present, but Scott Rolen is going to get playing time when he returns to the DL; there’s no question about that.
However, Rolen’s contract runs out after this season and I think we could be looking at, at least, a platoon situation for the remainder of the year. And next season, Frazier is primed to take over as the everyday starter at third. Let’s be honest: With Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips making an exorbitant amount of money from this point forward, the Reds need to have their share of starters that don’t make much money, but are still productive. Enter Frazier at 3B and fellow 26-year-old rookie Zack Cozart at shortstop. Cozart is struggling right now, but I still like him as the starter for this season and beyond.
Beat Goes On For Chapman
It’s getting beyond ridiculous in regards to the season Aroldis Chapman is compiling. The 24-year-old “Cuban Missile” might be having the best start to a season of any non-closer reliever in MLB history. Seriously, has any set-up man topped Chapman’s statistics (19.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 34 K) 1.5 months into a MLB season?
We know he won’t continue to be this good, but he could have a drastic drop-off and still be great. Well, maybe that’s taking it a bit far, but the bottom line is the Reds are getting a nice return out of their 6-year, $30-million investment in Chapman (signed through the 2015 season). Chapman has a fastball that regularly sits at 98-99 MPH (and has been clocked as high as 104 MPH in an MLB game, which is believed to be the fastest pitch ever recorded in professional baseball) and a nasty slider to go with it. I still think his future is as a starter (not this season, but beginning in 2013) but there’s also a chance the Reds will decide to make him a closer down the road.