Did you know that Todd Frazier won the 1998 Little League World Series with his Toms River, NJ little teammates? You may have heard that Todd Frazier won the 1998 Little League World Series with his Toms River, NJ little teammates in passing somewhere, but now, in this here 2015 preview, I can confirm for you that Todd Frazier won the 1998 Little League World Series with his Toms River, NJ little teammates.
Some twelve years prior to those exploits, Todd B. Frazier was born with a middle name known only to Homer J. Simpson in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, gracing the world with his presence on February 12, 1986. Todd wasted no time in learning his slugging ways, and after honking legendary dingers in South Williamsport, he matriculated to Toms River High School South and kept right on raking. He was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 37th round of the 2004 MLB Draft after a stellar high school career, which made him the third player ever selected out of Toms River South along with older brother Charlie (taken by the then Florida Marlins in the 6th round of the 1999 draft) and Milwaukee Brewers 8th round pick in 1973, Jerry Costain.
Todd balked at joining the Rockies, and instead opted to stick around Jersey for a few more years and ply his trade at Rutgers University in the footsteps of his other older brother, Jeff, who was taken in the 3rd round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of Rutgers by the Detroit Tigers just before Todd made his way to New Brunswick. Todd starred while a Scarlet Knight, earning All American honors, taking home the 2007 Big East Player of the Year Award, and turning enough heads to warrant being selected 34th overall by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2007 MLB Draft. At that time, he became the 62nd player ever selected out of Rutgers, with only Bobby Brownlie (taken 21st overall in 1992 by the LOLCubs) having been drafted higher in the program's history.
To date, Todd's 10.9 career bWAR ranks as the 3rd most ever by a Rutgers product, trailing only Eric Young, Sr. (18.7) and long time future Red David DeJesus (22.6).
Todd bazooka'd his way through the lower minors in 2007 & 2008, showing that his lean was gangster enough to land in the thick of the Top 100 prospect lists of both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, but a relative boop of a year in 2010 - his first at the AAA level - rendered him almost an afterthought as a potential impact player in most scouts eyes. Funny how the "arm bar" in his swing hadn't been a deterrent to said scouts and analysts prior to being 23 in AAA in 2010, but a .190 ISO, 17 dingers in a dinger suppressing park, and solid defense while showing LF, 3B, and 1B versatility did. Todd was assigned to Louisville again in 2011, and he spent the year bouncing back and forth between the Bats and the Reds following his first career call-up on May 23.
Finally, Todd got a series of breaks in 2012, and he capitalized on them tremendously. The Reds traded their other top 3B prospect, Juan Francisco, just days prior to the start of the season, clearing the path for Todd to be the primary corner IF on the pecking order, and subsequent injuries to Scott Rolen and Joey Votto opened the door for Frazier to get regular run in the Cincinnati lineup. A 3rd place finish in the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year voting followed, as did an All Star appearance in 2014 and 12 million guaranteed buckaroos.
- June 7, 2004: Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 37th round of the 2004 amateur draft, but did not sign.
- June 7, 2007: Drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 1st round (34th pick) of the 2007 amateur draft. Player signed July 5, 2007.
(via Cot's Baseball Contracts)
2 years/$12M (2015-16)
Signed extension with Cincinnati 2/8/15 (avoided arbitration, $5.7M-$3.9M).
$1.5M signing bonus.
Ratings via The Baseball Cube
Fan Scouting Report Ratings via FanGraphs (career rating)
First step: (55)
Arm strength: (59)
Arm accuracy: (59)
Compare those to the ones listed for Brandon Phillips, and see if you still put any stock in these particular ratings. They're fan generated, and as far as I'm concerned, they're ridiculously inaccurate and far underestimating Todd's defense. Either that, or the awful sample size of him playing at 1B has dragged his overall numbers so far down that his stellar 3B play is wholly unrecognizable in these ratings. Basically, just pretend I didn't populate this section and just know that Todd's an above average defender. Freakin' fans and their graphs.
Pitch f/x Hitter Profile (2011-2014):
Todd Frazier is the only Reds regular that I honestly hope replicates his 2014 (since as much as I love what Devin Mesoraco did while on the field last year, I'm hoping he can avoid having multiple stints on the DL in 2015). While that's certainly an indictment of how many players had awful, awful 2014 seasons, it's also an endorsement of Todd putting his sophomore slump behind him and putting together a full season that showed his 2012 breakout was no fluke. Top flight 3B defense, 30 dinger power potential, and a jovial attitude to keep the dugout warm and fuzzy would once more provide the Reds with exactly what they'd love to see from a lineup cog in his prime, and while Frazier surely hopes to keep improving, even he'd probably take that for 2015, too. That would be good enough to see him make a repeat appearance in the All Star game, where he'd have a chance to defend his NL title in front of the home fans in Great American Ball Park while putting a few memorable dents into the side of the riverboat above the batter's eye, too.
There's no crazy BABIP spike that makes that unreasonable to hope for, nor is there a crazy HR/FB% that screams regression. He may not accrue another 20 steal season on deceptive speed and aggressive team tendency alone, but him being more selective and infrequent in that regard may turn out to be more of a benefit than trying it more. The bottom line, though, is that Frazier is an in-prime player who posted a stock issue in-prime season in 2014, and there's no clear outlier statistic that suggests it can't be replicated in 2015. If that's the case, the Reds have themselves a heckuva 3B and a player that stands to carve out quite a career peak in Cincinnati.