What does the future hold for Todd Frazier? He will soon be 26, and has already played five seasons in the Cincinnati Reds' minor league system, so it is not too soon to discuss whether he will have a productive career in MLB.
A player with his versatility is always a needed commodity. Frazier started out playing shortstop for the Billings Mustangs in 2007. Since then he has played the entire infield along with left field.
Frazier started the 2011 season with the Louisville Bats and was called up for one game near the end of May. On July 22 he was called back to Cincinnati when Scott Rolen went down with what would be a season-ending injury.
He was used all over the place last year, but he was considered by most a third baseman. That leads me to the crux of this article.
With Rolen apparently ready to reclaim the hot corner, is there room for Frazier on the Reds' 25-man roster?
A brief look at the depth chart for the Reds on MLB.com shows that he is listed as the backup for Rolen at third base. He is listed ahead of Juan Francisco and veteran Miguel Cairo. He is also listed as the backup to Chris Heisey in left field. Recently acquired Ryan Ludwick doesn't appear on the chart; however, you can bet that barring a horrendous spring training, Ludwick will be on the opening day lineup card.
Prior to last season Francisco seemed to be the heir apparent to Rolen's throne at third base. His crushing power seems to be his redeeming quality. So, where is the love for Francisco now?
Again, we fall back to versatility. Francisco is a third baseman, and not a real good one at that. Judging by his UZR (ultimate zone rating), he is a little better at the hot corner than Frazier, but they are both sub-standard, a dark contrast to the eight-time Gold Glove winner they are understudies to.
Allow me to show you my guess as to which 25 will break camp in Arizona.
I will start with the pitchers. I see Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Bronson Arroyo, Aroldis Chapman, Homer Bailey, Ryan Massett, Sean Marshall, Bill Bray, Nick Masset, Jose Arredondo and Logan Ondrusek making the trip to Cincinnati. I know that is 12 players, but I believe that is what Dusty has been carrying most of the time.
Among position players, I see Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Rolen, Zack Cozart, Ryan Ludwick, Drew Stubbs, Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Ryan Hanigan, Chris Heisey, Wilson Valdez, Miguel Cairo, and Francisco.
To me it is a tough call between Francisco and Frazier, the deciding factor for me being that most of the time they will be used in a pinch-hitting role. If Frazier were to be selected over Francisco there would be no pinch-hitters from the left side of the plate.
Does Frazier have a future within the Reds organization? I don't think so. I like him a lot, but as I stated, I just don't see him becoming a full-time starter on a club with Francisco and Cairo.
What are your thoughts?
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