Reds’ first-round pick sets lofty goals
By Trevor Seibert
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
ZEBULON — The Carolina Mudcats’ only first-round draft pick wants to live up to expectations.
But how does left fielder Todd Frazier, the Cincinnati Reds’ second pick of the 2007 draft, explain personal goals like a .400 batting average and 30 or more home runs?
He said they are unrealistic, but Frazier — one of three brothers to play professional baseball — remembers lessons from his family and a former mentor.
“My high school coach always told me to set my goals as high as possible,” Frazier said. “That way, if you don’t quite reach them, you will have high numbers anyway.”
Frazier will begin the season for the Mudcats in left — his fourth position in two years — and will bat either third or fourth in a lineup full of power coaches say.
The Mudcats will travel to play the Mississippi Braves at 8:05 p.m. on Friday to open the season. The team will return for their home opener against the Huntsville Stars on April 21. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m.
“My job is to swing the bat well,” Frazier said. “We have some guys that can hit the ball a long way. I’m going to be a part of that.”
The Mudcats moved Frazier to left field because of a lack of depth, but Frazier said he doesn’t mind playing in the outfield.
“I’m adjusting to the new position,” Frazier said. “I just have to become stronger defensively so I can continue to move up in the system.”
Mudcats manager David Bell thinks Frazier’s ability to play anywhere will help his career.
“If he is able to play a few positions well,” Bell said, “that is going to speed up his progress.”
Frazier, the second-rated prospect in the Reds organization according to Baseball America, belted 19 home runs and drove in 74 runs last season at the Class A levels.
He added a .298 batting average, .500 slugging percentage and drew 41 walks in 478 at-bats.
Frazier has performed this way at every level.
He led his team to a Little League World Series title in 1998.
Frazier was named the 2007 Big East Player of the Year and a Rivals.com All-American during his junior year at Rutgers.
Those accolades, Frazier said, are all big steps toward joining the big league team.
“I’m trying to get to the ultimate goal of playing with a Major League ball club,” Frazier said. “Success at each level is going to get me there. Last season, I played well, and I look forward to continuing that progress.”
Bell foresees a similar future for Frazier.
“He’s definitely headed in the right direction,” Bell said. “He’s the kind of guy that wherever you put him, he gets the job done. With his work ethic, he’s going to go a long way.”