Todd Frazier scuffled as a utility man in 2011 and began this year in the minors, but the 26-year-old has turned into a key offensive cog for the Reds. Aside from auditioning for a spot on The Avengers by hitting a no-hands homer performing Heimlich heroics, Frazier has a 141 OPS+ that ranks second on the club behind Joey Votto.
Pitchers are quickly learning the perils of throwing Frazier a fastball. Five of his seven home runs have come against heaters, and he has one of the 15 highest slugging percentages in the NL against the pitch:
Highest slugging percentage vs. fastballs among NL batters
Frazier became the Reds' regular third baseman when Scott Rolen went on the DL with pain in his oft-troublesome left shoulder. Rolen, whose poor hitting since 2011 is due largely to his decline against fastballs (he's slugging .343 versus heat since then), is expected to be activated as soon as today.
But don't fear, Reds fans. Considering his versatility (he has played every infield position in the majors, plus left field), the poor production of Cincy's left fielders (a collective .681 OPS) and Rolen's tenuous health, Frazier should continue to see regular ABs. Even Dusty Baker wouldn't bench a guy who can do this, right?