Ed: Please welcome Chase Howell to the Redleg Nation family. Chase will be posting occasionally here over the next few months (and maybe more), and we’re glad to have him.
The last hope for Cincinnati, the one silver lining the city has hung on to for over a month, is no longer within grasp.
Todd Frazier, you did what you could.
No World Series. No Cy Young, not even a Gold Glove for Brandon Phillips. But at least there was this, the NL Rookie of the Year. The Reds had a true, likable hero, a rising star who could show the media hype that Cincy had been left in the dark.
With one last swift kick while we’re down, the NL Rookie of the Year is gone, landing somewhere between Maryland and Virginia, with a cocky outfielder whose name ESPN sang from day one of the season.
Frazier, we’re still proud of you.
And for good reason.
Let’s compare the Toddfather’s numbers to “The Chosen One,” Bryce Harper. First off, Harper recorded 132 more plate appearances than Frazier as a regular starter. In that time, he put 22 over the fence–Frazier hit 19 home runs, again in 132 less at-bats. RBIs? Frazier posted 67 to Harper’s 57 in, may I remind you once again, 132 less plate-appearances.
To be fair, Harper recorded 98 runs to Frazier’s 55–on a team that drove in runs on a much more consistent basis than the LOB kings in Cincinnati. And, Harper recorded 18 steals to Frazier’s three.
Other categories in which Frazier ousted Harper include, but are not limited to: batting average (.273 vs. .270), slugging percentage (.498 vs. .477), BABIP (.316 vs. .310), wOBA (.354 vs. .352), and ISO (.255 vs. .206). Also, let us not forget that Frazier played first, third, and outfield at various times when needed for injury purposes.
Categories where Frazier fell just shy of Harper? On-base percentage (.331 vs. .340), walk percentage (7.7% to 9.4%), strikeout percentage (22.2% vs. 20.1%), and wRC+ (120 vs. 121).
To many, the all-inclusive WAR proved to tip the scales, with Harper securing 4.9 wins for the Nationals to Frazier’s 2.8 for the Reds.
Oh, and one more category where Bryce crushed Todd: media attention. This is a rough estimate, my own observation you might say. Harper’s name was basically mentioned on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight every single day.
Frazier? Frazier who?
Doesn’t a 19-year-old phenom make for a better RoY story than a 26-year-old Brooklyn guy?
Unfortunately, it does, whether the stats disagree or not.
But cheer up, Cincinnati. Look at the bright side. Next year, the Reds will have Frazier playing third, and if he wins NL MVP, maybe, just maybe, the nation will recognize his name.
Blame Chad for creating this mess.
Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.
You can email Chad at email@example.com.