Derick Hingle – USATODAY Sports
Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Kevin Frandsen started this spring training with a hot bat. His .364 batting average ranks 3rd among third baseman so far this spring, coupled with a triple, a homer and a few doubles have helped Kevin raise some eyebrows thus far in 2013.
Before anyone gets too excited for Frandsen, remember that spring training statistics are mostly meaningless. Frandsen could have come out of the gate with an .800 batting average and it simply wouldn’t matter because the Phillies traded for Michael Young and he will starts the season at third base. Young is due $16 million this season (the Phillies are on the hook for $6 million). He makes the money; he gets the start, at least to start the year.
Frandsen has two roles going forward for the Phillies. The first is to be available whenever Michael Young needs a day off. His other role starts next year, barring an injury to Michael Young, which is to start at third base next season.
The list of free agent third baseman after the 2013 season is not a very impressive one. Martin Prado is the best available, other names include Kevin Koukilis, Eric Chavez and Alberto Callaspo and a few outside the box options like Rafael Furcal or Jhonny Peralta.
Phillies fans shouldn’t get their hopes to high on Kevin Frandsen, his age (31) seems to go under the radar. He’s been in the majors since 2006, so even if he keeps hitting well his time frame is likely limited, given that prospect Cody Asche is getting another season or two in the minors for polishing and if Frandsen were going to dominate he probably would have done it before he was 30. His maximum potential is closer to Pedro Feliz during his stint with the Phillies than any one else. They will need him to be steady defensively and a bottom of the order bat.
Besides Prado (who will be thirty at season’s end) none of these guys are worth the Phillies time. If Kevin Frandsen can remain steady he will have a very strong shot at the starting job in 2014. Sure his current .364 average is unsustainable, but his .280 career batting average and a slight improvement on his 1.6 WAR in 2012 will be adequate for at most a season (2014) of prominence while the Phillies wait for Cody Asche to become major league ready.