Thursday, July 20, 2017

Meet a Prospect: Todd Frazier

The New York Yankees pulled off a bit of a blockbuster trade late Tuesday night as the Chicago White Sox agreed to trade third baseman Todd Frazier and right-handed relief pitchers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to New York for right-handed reliever Tyler Clippard and prospects Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin and Tito Polo. As Yankees fans we should all be relatively familiar with David Robertson and if you paid attention to the farm system whatsoever you should know the former Rule 5 Draft loss Tommy Kahnle but many of us may not know Frazier, the Jersey-born kid with a picture on the field at Yankee Stadium with Derek Jeter. Let’s fix that and let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Todd Frazier Special Edition!

Todd Brian Frazier was born on February 12, 1986 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey as the youngest of three boys. Frazier grew up in Toms River, New Jersey and was a member of the 1996 Pee-Wee National Champions. At age 12 Frazier was on the Toms River East American Little League All-Star team that advances all the way to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Frazier and Toms River went undefeated in the tournament including the championship game against the Kashima Little League Team where Frazier broke out in a big way. Frazier went 4-for-4 in the game including a leadoff home run and the right-hander also pitched and earned the victory in the 12-9 victory for Toms River. This marked the first time an American Little League team won the world championship since 1993. To celebrate the championship the team was invited to Yankee Stadium before a game with the Oakland Athletics where each member of the team was publicly announced to the crowd and got to stand next to a Yankees player at their position. Frazier was Toms River’s shortstop so he stood next to Derek Jeter before attending and playing baseball at Toms River High School South. Talk about a talking point with the High School ladies.

Frazier attended college at the University of Rutgers and played baseball for the school’s Rutgers Scarlet Knights. In 2007 Frazier played in all 63 of the team’s games posting a .377 batting average and .502 on-base percentage en route to earning Big East Player of the Year honors. Frazier caught the eye of the Cincinnati Reds with his 42 career collegiate home runs leading the organization to draft him 34th overall in the 2007 MLB First Year Players Draft. Frazier toiled around in the Red system playing multiple positions until the 2011 season when Frazier was called up to the Major Leagues along with Matt Maloney while Edinson Volquez and Jordan Smith were optioned to Triple-A Louisville. Frazier quietly had solid season after solid season for Cincinnati until the 2014 season when the Reds third baseman was named a National League All-Star for the first time in his career. Frazier also elected to participate in the Home Run Derby in 2014 and Frazier won the National League bracket before falling to defending champion Yoenis Cespedes.

The Red extended Frazier after that 2014 campaign to a new two-year deal worth $12 million and once again Frazier was solid for Cincinnati. Frazier looked to avenge his loss in the Home Run Derby in 2014 by participating once again in 2015 and this time the right-hander won the derby in front of the home crowd in Cincinnati. Frazier beat out Prince Fielder, Josh Donaldson and Joc Pederson en route to the championship becoming the first hometown participant to win the Home Run Derby since Ryne Sandberg did it as a Chicago Cubs player in 1990. All that earned Frazier was a direct ticket out of town after the 2015 season though as the Reds, who were rebuilding, traded Frazier to the Chicago White Sox in a three-team trade that included the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Frazier represented the White Sox in the Home Run Derby in 2016 but once again Frazier came up short falling to Giancarlo Stanton who hit 20 in the final round to win the derby. Stanton’s 61 home runs during that derby and Frazier’s 42 home run were the two top totals of all-time in the event at the time. Frazier once again fell on hard times though as the White Sox struggled. Frazier once again found himself on a team rebuilding and once again found himself as the center of trade rumors. This time the New York Yankees came calling acquiring David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in the deal.

If Frazier wanted to always relive that moment standing at the shortstop position inside Yankee Stadium he now has that opportunity because he is now officially a member of the New York Yankees. Welcome to the family Todd!

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