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Todd Frazier appears bench-bound following Joey Votto’s return

Aug 22, 2012, 7:55 PM EDT

Todd Frazier, Josh Thole AP

With a .294 average, 18 homers and 55 RBI in 313 at-bats, Todd Frazier has been the National League’s best rookie hitter this year. Still, the Reds might struggle to find a role for him after Joey Votto comes off the disabled list, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay reports.

Reds manager Dusty Baker made it clear Wednesday that Scott Rolen will remain his third baseman after Votto reclaims first. Frazier started 51 games at third earlier this year while Rolen was ailing. He’s now started 26 at first base and five in left field.

Putting Frazier back in the outfield following Votto’s return is an option, but it doesn’t sound like Baker sees him as a starter there.

“We played him in the outfield some already. Where is he going to play in the outfield?” Baker said. “Is he a center fielder? We’ve got Jay Bruce, an All-Star, in right field. Is he going to play in front of Jay right now? (Ryan) Ludwick’s got 25 home runs? Is he going to play in front of Ludwick right now?

“Sometimes when you’re on really good team, you’ve got to wait your turn to play.”

Of course, the 26-year-old Frazier has waited his turn. And the fact is that he has 179 points of OPS on Rolen right now. At the very least, the Reds need to make sure he’s out there against lefties on a regular basis. He has a .957 OPS against them, compared to a .740 mark for Bruce.

  1. Uncle Charlie - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    The Reds will never win with Baker setting the lineup. He rode Barry Bonds to his “impressive” managerial record.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:45 PM

      .524 winning % is impressive or the one single pennant in 19 years?

      • Uncle Charlie - Aug 23, 2012 at 11:57 AM

        I hear you franchise, I was echoing the main talking point from Baker supporters.

    • joecool16280 - Aug 22, 2012 at 9:19 PM

      He’s too stubborn to ever win. Refuses to play the younger, more talented players rather than aging vets who’ve lost their game. So irritating.

      • baseballisboring - Aug 22, 2012 at 9:56 PM

        It’s infuriating, and I’m not even a Reds fan.

    • yahmule - Aug 22, 2012 at 9:43 PM

      Baker fully intended to start Scott Hatteberg over Votto in 2008, but Votto made it impossible for him by having a torrid spring.

    • dan1111 - Aug 23, 2012 at 3:28 AM

      I’m no fan of Baker, but I think he’s taking a little bit too much heat for this particular decision.

      First, if you read the article, Baker never said “Frazier is going to be benched;” all he did was make some vague statements about how hard it is going to be to find a spot for him.

      Second, Frazier was merely a decent hitter in the minors. He has probably benefited from some luck so far this year. Some people’s expectations about his future performance are unrealistic.

      Third, Ludwick, Bruce, and Rolen are all good players. Ludwick has hit about as well as Frazier this season. Bruce is younger and more of a prospect than Frazier. Rolen started terribly but has been red hot for the last two two months. Frazier isn’t an obvious, slam-dunk choice over any of them.

  2. jonirocit - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    I would expect nothing less from dusty thats why he will never win a championship he plays the buddy card too much

  3. whodeytn - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    He’ll get plenty of time backing up Rolen and Votto.

    Frazier is better offensively than Rolen, but Scotty is better at the hot corner

    • paperlions - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:43 PM

      Rolen’s defense is below average now…and so is his glove….playing him over Frazier is giving games away.

      • paperlions - Aug 22, 2012 at 9:45 PM

        ha!….defense and bat are below average….and his glove too.

      • dan1111 - Aug 23, 2012 at 6:39 AM

        In addition to his defense and his glove, Rolen is also not very good at fielding or playing third base.

      • paperlions - Aug 23, 2012 at 7:46 AM

        All too true.

  4. whodeytn - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    The Reds will never win with Baker setting the lineup. He rode Barry Bonds to his “impressive” managerial record.

    He’s doing a fine job this season.

    • paperlions - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:44 PM

      He’s doing the same job he did last year….the difference is the players.

  5. tfbuckfutter - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    I’m mystified by how Dusty Baker always has a job, and occasionally stumbles onto a little success.

    • dan1111 - Aug 23, 2012 at 2:56 AM

      Baker stumbles on success because the decisions a manager makes have only a small impact on a team’s overall record. He always has a job because he managed to stumble on success, and a manager’s performance isn’t very measurable.

  6. ezthinking - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    You do realize that Rolen had a .922 OPS in July and has a 1.036 OPS in August, right? Frazier will play plenty with Rolen’s rest, Bruce sitting against tough lefties, and Votto healing.

    • paperlions - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:50 PM

      Oh, well then….let’s just ignore his last couple years of completely sucking and focus on the last 90 ABs, that always works.

    • drunkenhooliganism - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:54 PM

      You can’t really list Rolen’s stats and not Frazier’s and insinuate that although Frazier is clearly superior in every way, at least Rolen has been better over the last two months. Frazier was .882 and 1.072 in august and september. So pretty much the same.

      Then add in the first half of the season where Frazier violated turdface’s performance, it adds up to almost a 200 point difference in OPS over the year.

      I had no idea that Ludwick was having such a good year. I always considered him an out.

      • drunkenhooliganism - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:55 PM

        Not “august and september” but “july and august.”

  7. youdogoodatbaseball - Aug 22, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Perfect example of Dusty. Plays his Vets because they ‘earned it’. Terrible manager.

    • tfbuckfutter - Aug 22, 2012 at 9:30 PM

      He’d make a great manager for Dan Duquette who, while running the Red Sox, was always acquiring players on the assumption that they would duplicate the career season they had 2 or 3 seasons before. “All Mike Lansing has to do is hit 20 HRs like he did 3 years ago and we’re set at second base!”

  8. bengalsucker - Aug 22, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    That just shows the joke of a manager we have. Rolen is not an everyday player. Frazier has proven he should be over and over. Frazier needs to be playing third when Votto comes back. Who cares who’s the vet and who’s a rookie. Rolen will eventually wake up with a stiff back just like old ball players do (like he did last week or the week before).

  9. metalhead65 - Aug 22, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    by the time votto comes back rolen’s back will be acting up again and frazier will be playing again. if not count on him sitting because dusty still thinks rolen is the same rolen from 10 years ago. it will be a shame because it will cost Frazier the ROY award which he deserves.

  10. dutchman45 - Aug 22, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Frazier will get plenty of time. Next year he will be our third baseman.

  11. delchef9 - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    NOOOOO!!!!!! Frazier is my 3b with Lawrie being out on my fantasy team……he HAS to play!!

  12. johnnyb1976 - Aug 22, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    All this anti Dusty talk from jealous Cubs and Giants fans. I don’t agree with everything Dusty does but the Reds are 27 games over .500 so he must know a lil more about it than I do.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 23, 2012 at 9:26 AM

      I hear what you are saying Johnny (w/ regards to your record).
      But you guys have essentially the same team as last year.
      You are just performing better…especially the pitching staff.
      Hell…just a few days ago you finally used a starter (for the first time this season) that was NOT in your original 5 to start the season. It’s the middle of August! That speaks volumes.
      With that said…Frazier HAS to be your starting 3rd Baseman. And I love Scott Rolen.
      In fact, I have a Scott Rolen jersey I will gladly sell you!

  13. cincyfan0890 - Aug 23, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    Bench Bruce. Idgaf about his “all-star” status but I care about all the dropped balls he’s been missing this year. Frazier is a beast why on earth would you think about taking him out? Get real dusty Bruce is no all star player this year, let rookie of the year play. Idiot.

  14. cruuuzcontrol - Aug 23, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    Frazier may have been decent in the minors but he’s been nothing short of spectacular in the majors. He’s been doing this all season… Go look at his monthly splits. First round pick, college bat, just coming into his prime breakout age… This is no fluke. Dusty would be a fool to not find a spot for this kid every day.

  15. whodeytn - Aug 23, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    Perfect example of Dusty. Plays his Vets because they ‘earned it’. Terrible manager.

    Yep. Cozart, Stubbs, BP, Bruce, Votto, Frazier, Meseraco… They’re all so old!!!

    YOU guys kill me with your hatred for Dusty. The best player in the NL goes down for a very long time and they EXTEND their lead in the central. If you turds blame him for every problem we have, then give him credit for how well the team is playing… Oh, and the players friggin LOVE Dusty, but you wouldn’t know that because you’re all buffoons!

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