In just three weeks, Cincinnati Reds pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Goodyear, AZ, and Reds fans everywhere are nervous about the uncertainty surrounding the team’s offense, rotation and middle relief. One are that seems to be in good hands, though, is third base, where Todd Frazier looks to build on his breakout 2014 season. He is Number 21 on our countdown team.
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While Joey Votto and Jay Bruce struggled through injuries and inconsistency in the first half of 2014, Frazier came out of the Spring swinging like never before and entered the All-Star break with a .290 batting average to go along with 19 home runs and 53 RBI. He also had 15 stolen bases in 19 attempts and was generally the Reds’ best position player, despite not having much protection in the lineup.
After a surprising run the finals of the Home Run Derby in July, Frazier seemed to finally feel the affects of a crumbling team. In 63 second-half games, Frazier’s average dropped to .243, and he managed just 27 RBI despite tacking on another 10 homers. On the season, Frazier hit .273 with 29 home runs and 80 RBI, and his 123 OPS+ put him among the top handful of producers at third base.
Entering his age-29 season, Frazier may not get any better than he was last year, but the Reds would be plenty happy with something approaching his first-half production. That, coupled with healthy returns by Votto and Bruce, would go a long way toward healing the anemic Cincinnati offense.