The solo shot that Todd Frazier belted Saturday against the Philadelphia Phillies was his first this year while playing first base for the Cincinnati Reds. Frazier has made five starts this year at first for the Reds in the lingering absence of regular starter Joey Votto, but his primary value to the team is his role as everyday third baseman.
In his second full year as the Reds’ regular third baseman, Frazier leads the Reds in runs scored (36), home runs (13) and RBIs (32). Among everyday NL third basemen, Frazier also leads the league in homers, OPS (.869) and stolen bases (five). He is second in runs scored and third in RBIs.
While not the league leader in fielding percentage at third base, his .958 is better than Nolan Arenado, David Wright, Matt Carpenter, Martin Prado and Pedro Alvarez.
And yet, despite his All-Star caliber season, Frazier doesn’t even show up in the top five headlined by more established hot corner stars with the current list being Wright, Aramis Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, an up-and-comer like Arenado and the injured Juan Uribe.
Frazier is not alone in the fan oversight that has left him out of the top five. Carpenter is tops in the NL at the position in runs scored and on-base percentage. Casey McGehee is having a remarkable year in his return from Japanese baseball to rank tops among NL third basemen in RBIs and fielding percentage.
Frazier may overcome the current fan lack of attention and crack the top five now that Arenado and Uribe have missed extended time, but he’ll have to turn on his power surge even more if he is to have any chance of pulling enough ostrich heads out of the sand to make a push to be the NL starting third baseman in 2014.