The first article in this “improve” series focused increasing the production from the shortstop position for the Cincinnati Reds. This installment will take a look at the production from the hot corner, third base.
For the second year in a row, Todd Frazier has been “the man” at third base following the retirement of Scott Rolen. The importance of Frazier to the Reds’ lineup has been written extensively and cannot be understated. However, as with any player, the Reds must ask themselves if they are receiving acceptable production from this player or can they stand to improve the position.
The production from Frazier has been, arguably, above average offensively. On the season, he is batting .269 with five home runs, 18 runs batted in, 17 runs scored, a .350 OBP and .491 slugging percentage. There are many teams in the league that would gladly take that type of production
How to improve: The first question is, do the Reds really need to improve at third base? With the inconsistency the offense has produced so far this season, Frazier’s ability to get on base and provide power to the lineup could be irreplaceable — at least irreplaceable barring a trade of the Reds’ top system prospects.
Ruben Gotay has been producing for the Louisville Bats as he is hitting .308 with a .373 OBP, eight home runs and 26 RBIs 30 games so far on the season. Gotay is by no means a young prospect, as he is 31 years old. Playing the majority of his career in the minor leagues, Gotay had stints with the Kansas City Royals in 2004-2005, New York Mets in 2007 and the Atlanta Braves in 2008. He is a career .255 hitter with 12 home runs, 77 RBIs and a .315 OBP in the major leagues. In 2007 he had his best season as he batted .295 with a .351 OBP in 190 at bats for the Mets. So while it could prove beneficial to have Gotay’s hot bat coming off of the bench for the Reds, he is by no means threatening Frazier for the hot corner.
Frazier not only provides for the Reds offensively, but his defense is superb as well. Attempting to replace Frazier’s offense and defense would be nearly impossible unless the Reds could pry David Wright away from the Mets.
While many clamor for the teams to make big moves for the sake of doing so, it would benefit the Reds to continue employing Frazier at third base for the foreseeable future.