TOLEDO, Oh. - Over the past month-and-a-half, no team in the International League has been hotter than the Louisville Bats. The club's tear started just before the all-star break, when they closed out the first part of the season with an 8-3 mark heading into the midsummer classic. Since starting up the second portion of the year on July 15th, Louisville has been close to unbeatable, rolling to a 23-3 record and storming into the driver's seat for the league's wild card berth.
After trailing the west division leading Columbus Clippers by over 11 games at the break, the Bats have narrowed that deficit to a single game, thanks to steady contributions from an assorted cast of characters. One member of the club whose improved performance has correlated with the team's ascension is Todd Frazier, the organization's #1 ranked prospect, according to Baseball America.
Over the first few months of the season, Frazier and the Bats were mired in a miserable slump. Since the all-star break, however, both have picked up their games dramatically, as Frazier has posted a .320 average, compared to just .239 through the first half. Frazier's current batting average of .259 is higher than it has been at any point in the season since an opening day 2-for-4 performance.
Frazier has gotten particularly dialed in over his past 11 games, hitting safely in 10 of the contests, including a current nine-game hitting streak that is his longest of the season. During those 11 games, Louisville has posted a 10-1 record, thanks to Frazier hitting .481 with 15 RBIs and six stolen bases. In six of Frazier's last eight outings, he has put up multi-hit games, including scoring the game-winning run Wednesday night in a 4-3 victory over Toledo that was Louisville's seventh straight.
For the season, the six-foot-three, 220-pound right-hander has hit 15 home runs and 57 RBIs to go with his .259 average, while also earning 11 stolen bases. Frazier's home run and RBI totals rank in the top four on the club, and his 26 doubles are tied with Yonder Alonso for first. Frazier is also only one of three players on the club who have hit triple digits in both hits (103) and games played (107).
Although the 24-year-old righty grew up playing shortstop, Frazier has played all over the diamond since getting drafted by the Reds in 2007. This year, Frazier has made the most starts (57) in left field, while also being a frequent occupant of third base (35), and occasionally first base (11). With the emergence of Zach Cozart the past few years, Frazier's services haven't been needed as much at the shortstop position.
Last season, Frazier played most of the season at double-A Carolina, putting himself on the map with numbers that earned him all-star honors. Frazier hit .290 with 14 homers and 68 RBIs while smoking an incredible 40 doubles in 109 games. Late in the year, Frazier joined Louisville for their playoff run, helping the Bats by hitting .302 in 16 games.
Although Frazier's numbers this season haven't been as prolific as his career stats, his future still remains bright. Regardless of which position the Reds' brass decides to play him over the rest of 2010 and into 2011, he should eventually earn a crack at some big league time as long as he keeps his batting average near the .300 mark it has been since the beginning of his career.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.