Todd Frazier is the what-you-see-is-what-you-get player for the Cincinnati Reds. He admits he likes to talk, and he proved Saturday morning he can own the room.
At a small Reds Caravan pre-stop Saturday morning at Fifth Third Field, Frazier started by recalling something he said when he played for the Dayton Dragons.
“About four years ago I said for a million dollars I would play here every day,” he said. “That’s probably my dumbest quote ever.”
Everyone in the room laughed and a friendly, at-ease tone was set for the question-and-answer session with Frazier, manager Bryan Price and others associated with the Reds.
“You ask questions, I try to answer them, not sugarcoat anything when it comes to that stuff,” Frazier said afterward as he stood autographing a box of baseballs for the Dragons. “I don’t have the greatest words to say, I wasn’t good on the SATs or anything like that. But you say what you feel.”
The Reds’ contingent also made appearances in front of much larger groups of fans Saturday at the Air Force Museum and later in the day in Hamilton.
Frazier is coming off his finest season as the Reds’ regular third baseman. He was a first-time all-star and batted .273 with 29 home runs, 80 RBIs and 20 stolen bases.
As valuable as Frazier is on the field, he’s proving to be just as valuable in the dugout and the clubhouse with his nonstop energy.
“He’s just affable, fun to be around, the same way every day, not real moody and temperamental,” Price said. “That does a lot of good for us. There’s something about emotional consistency that people connect with — when you’re the same guy every day.”
Being the same every day has never changed for Frazier. Just like he owned the room Saturday morning by causing people to laugh several times, he says he’s that same person when the fans can’t see him.
“You ask anybody from 10 years old on and they’re going to say he was crazy, he had a lot energy and was focused too,” Frazier said. “And he took stuff seriously, but ultimately I like to have a lot of fun and talk a lot. I still chatter like a little kid all the time.”
Frazier has also learned what it means to work hard at improving to play consistently well at the major-league level.
He credits his hitting improvement to listening to those who suggested he lower his hands in his batting stance. That made him more ready to hit. And Frazier takes pride in becoming one of the National League’s best defensive third basemen.
“I played a lot of positions growing up including shortstop,” he said. “They finally said third base is yours to lose. I told myself let’s work my tail off.”
So Frazier has gone to work with coaches and former major leaguers Freddie Benavides and Jay Bell.
“We get after it in spring training and during the year,” Frazier said. “A Gold Glove would be awesome to win, and that would be a dream come true. That’s an individual goal I have every year.”
Frazier knows it is important to be a leader by example and with his play. But he wants to continue to grow as a vocal leader — not just one who can have commanding presence in the room — but as one who listens.
“I’m just hopefully a guy you can come talk to and express yourself,” he said. “When you’re with a family, a baseball team, you should be able to talk how you want.”
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