No one had a better first half of the season than Todd Frazier, but then again no one struggled quite as badly as the Home Run Derby champ did in the second half of the season.
After splitting time between first and third last season, Frazier made 155 appearances at the hot corner for Cincinnati in 2015. He came in like a wrecking ball in the first half, launching 25 homers while driving in 57. Those numbers helped him earn his second straight All-Star appearance and his home run hitting ways continued in the Derby at Great American Ballpark.
While he was at an all-time high, the second half was full of empty swings and missed chances. Frazier hit .220 in the second half and hit just 10 homers and drove in 32 to lead the team with 35 homers and 89 RBI, His average declined from .233 in August to .215 in September and October to finish with a .255 average on the season. He also added 82 runs scored which were second behind Joey Votto’s 95.
Another low spot for the former first round pick was his fielding. Frazier committed 19 errors, five more than he had in 2014 and nine more than he did in his first full season. Those miscues were tied for the second most in all of baseball for a third baseman joining fellow All-Star Manny Machado and four behind Yankees third baseman Chase Headley.
With Frazier taking a majority of the playing time it was rare to see anyone else holding down the line on the left side of the infield. Utility man Ivan De Jesus Jr. was the one who got the call in Frazier’s absence appearing in 12 games while Kristopher Negron had two games under his belt and Eugenio Suarez had one chance at the hot corner.
Barring a trade, Frazier will hold the fort down once again in 2016 as he will be in the final year of his two-year extension that will pay him $8.25 million next season. He becomes arbitration eligible again in 2017 so he could be on the market after next season or a trade chip if Cincinnati finds itself near the bottom of the NL Central around the deadline.
The Reds currently have two third baseman ranked in their top 30 prospects in Gavin LaValley and Taylor Sparks. Both players are in A-ball so it could be a few more years before either is ready for the big stage. LaValley was drafted in the fourth round in 2014 and played in 125 games for the Dayton Dragons in which he hit .267 with four homers and 53 RBI. Sparks was a second round pick in that same draft and is at Advanced-A Daytona where he made 125 appearances for the Tortugas. He showed more power than LaValley with 13 homers and had nearly as many RBI at 54, but hit only .247.