The Cincinnati Reds have gotten off to a disappointing start in the 2014 season. They currently sit at four games below .500 with a 20-24 record and are six games out of first in the National League Central behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers. The Reds have been cursed with the injury bug in 2014 and the latest victim is All-Star first basemen Joey Votto, who the Reds just put on the 15-day disabled list for a leg injury.
However, there have been some bright spots for Cincinnati. Their starting pitching has been phenomenal despite Mat Latos being on the DL since the start of the season and Tony Cingrani going on a 15-day DL stint. Catcher Devin Mesoraco, who also has spent time on the DL this season, (two stints to be exact) has been tremendous on offense, hitting .435 going into the May 22 game against the Nationals. I originally felt like I should be writing this article about him, but I thought I should give the award to someone who has played the majority of the season and has consistently produced and gave it his all on the field. Third basemen Todd Frazier is worthy of the title “best player so far” for the Reds in 2014.
Frazier’s main problem the past two years since being called up from the minors has been his consistency at the plate. This season though Frazier has shown more discipline, and his numbers show. Earlier this month, he had a 14-game hitting streak going, which was snapped against the Philadelphia Phillies, and he picked it back up the next game against the Phillies going 1-for-3. His stat line is good for a .269 average, eight long balls, 24 RBIs, and a .348 OBP. His batting average and on base percentage are both higher than his career averages of .252 and .322. In his 43 games played this season, he has safely hit in 33 of them.
Not only has Frazier been a valuable asset on offense this year, but on defense as well. He has improved tremendously at the hot corner and has filled in the past few games to play first base in the absence of Joey Votto.
Frazier is finally starting to develop into the defensive star the Reds knew he could be since he was in the minors. By becoming a player who is not only a threat on offense but also on defense, Frazier has turned himself into not only one of the best Reds players but one of the most valuable as well. He has the ability to hit almost anywhere in the middle of the lineup and has the athleticism to field almost any ball hit his way.