Frazier heating up in winter ball
Reds prospect continues ascent with stellar stats in Hawaiian League
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Todd Frazier is likely a couple of seasons from reaching the Major Leagues with the Reds. However, while not yet on final approach, the shortstop has definitely reached the big league radar screen.
Frazier, 22, completed his 2008 season in high Class A Sarasota after starting the year in Class A Dayton. At both stops, he hit well with some power -- batting .291 with 19 home runs, 74 RBIs and a .368 on-base percentage.
"He's very impressive," said Reds general manager Walt Jocketty, who got a chance to see Frazier play at Sarasota this summer. "He's a guy that has a chance to move up quickly. He's a very competent hitter, confident, too."
The hitting hasn't stopped in the Hawaii Winter Baseball League, where Frazier is playing for Waikiki and batting .312 (24-for-77) with two homers and 18 RBIs in 21 games. The four-team league is comprised mostly of touted prospects from the Class A ranks, and it also has international players from Asia. Cincinnati's 2008 first-round pick and first baseman Yonder Alonso also plays for Waikiki.
Frazier was a supplemental first-round pick (34th overall) by Cincinnati in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, and he cruised through rookie ball while batting .319. He ended the 2007 season and began '08 at Dayton before joining Sarasota by early May.
As he continues to move through the system, Frazier should be used to the increased attention. In 1998, he starred for the Toms River, N.J., team that won the Little League World Series. Frazier went 4-for-4 with a homer in the championship game against Japan.
While playing in college, Frazier was a three-year star for Rutgers and was named an All-American by Baseball America after his junior year in 2007.
There's a possibility that Frazier might not reach the Majors as a shortstop. His 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame makes him more suited for being a corner infielder or corner outfielder. He's frequently played third base, first base and left field since turning pro.
The organization also has other young shortstop prospects on the horizon, such as Chris Valaika with Double-A Carolina and Paul Janish and Adam Rosales -- who spent most of this season at Triple-A Louisville.
Jocketty didn't rule out shifting Frazier away from shortstop.
"It's something we might address in Spring Training," Jocketty said.
Wherever he ends up in the field, Frazier's blip on the radar screen should be growing much louder over the next couple of seasons.