Funny how these things happen in baseball. In five starts and two relief appearances for the Los Angeles Angels this season, Chris Stratton was 0-2 with an ERA over 8.00. Traded to Pittsburgh on Saturday – and reunited with ex-Mississippi State teammate Adam Frazier – Stratton made his debut on Sunday, pitched a scoreless inning and got the win as the Pirates rallied past St. Louis 10-6. Frazier, pinch-hitting for Stratton in the seventh inning, knocked in the go-ahead run with a two-run double. Stratton and Frazier were a dynamic duo for the 2012 Bulldogs, who won the SEC Tournament. Frazier batted .371 that season and was MVP of the league tourney. Stratton went 11-2 with a 2.38 ERA, earned first-team All-America honors, the SEC pitcher of the year award and the Ferriss Trophy. He was drafted in the first round by San Francisco that June. The Tupelo native went 15-14, 4.63 over parts of three seasons with the Giants, who traded him to the Angels at the end of spring training. He was designated for assignment by L.A. on May 7. With the Pirates, he’ll reportedly work mainly out of the bullpen. … The Pirates’ rally on Sunday at Busch Stadium denied Dakota Hudson, another former Bulldogs ace and first-round pick, what would have been his third win of 2019. He left with a 6-3 lead after six innings. Hudson is 2-3, 4.61 in nine games, eight starts.
Pittsburgh faded from postseason contention in August, but don’t blame Adam Frazier. While the Pirates’ bats went quiet during a 10-17 month, former Mississippi State standout Frazier hit a team-best .338 and also led the club with four homers and 14 runs. With the calendar now flipped to September, Frazier remains locked in. He went 4-for-4 on Labor Day – his second career four-hit effort – and smacked his eighth homer of the year in a win over Cincinnati. “One at-bat at a time,” he said in a video interview on mlb.com. “I’m taking that approach and running with it.” Overall, Frazier is batting .288 (.358 on-base percentage) with 28 RBIs in 91 games; he did some remedial time in the minors in June and July. The Pirates (67-71) appear to be positioned to contend in 2019, and based on his recent showing, Frazier should be part of the plan. A lefty hitter, the third-year big leaguer has played second base and all three outfield positions this season and can also handle third and short.
Adam Frazier may have found his form, and his discovery comes at a good time. Former Mississippi State standout Frazier delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning Friday night for Pittsburgh, capping a three-hit game in the Pirates’ 7-6 win against St. Louis. Frazier’s clutch knock came on a 101 mph sinker from Cardinals gas-thrower Jordan Hicks. “It says a little bit that I’m where I need to be if I can do that on him,” Frazier told mlb.com. Frazier hit .301 in 66 games as a rookie in 2016 and followed that with a strong 2017: .276, six homers, 53 RBIs, 55 runs, six triples, nine steals. But he struggled out of the gate this season and was sent to the minors in June. He made a brief return to the Bucs, went back to Triple-A Indianapolis again and then got another call on July 25. He has 10 hits since, lifting his average to .269 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 66 games. Frazier is a lefty hitter who can play practically anywhere, which, if he continues to produce at the plate, makes him a valuable piece for Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. The old Jackson Mets skipper has guided this overachieving club to 17 wins in its last 22 games and into the thick of the playoff chase in the National League. P.S. Still searching for his form is ex-State star Chris Stratton, whose return to San Francisco’s rotation on Friday did not go well. The right-hander from Tupelo allowed five runs in the first inning and six all told in three innings of work as the Giants fell to Arizona 6-3. After a good start this season — he was 6-3 through May — Stratton wobbled and wound up back in the minors for a stint. He has been knocked around in both appearances since his return and is now 8-7 with a 5.52 ERA. His spot in the rotation may be in jeopardy.
In the category of Best Performance by a Mississippian in the Majors, it’s hard to top a three-homer game. But Adam Frazier did it. The former Mississippi State standout hit his first career walk-off homer for Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, effectively stealing the thunder from former Bulldogs teammate Hunter Renfroe, who belted three homers for San Diego in a losing cause. Frazier’s two-run blast, with two outs in the ninth in a tie game, came off Milwaukee bullpen ace Corey Knebel and delivered a stern punch to the gut of a Brewers team seeking to tie Colorado for the second wild card spot in the National League. Frazier also had a two-run triple in the Pirates’ 6-4 victory. He is batting .282 with six homers in his second big league campaign. Renfroe, also in his second MLB tour, now has 24 homers this season. Both ex-Bulldogs were drafted in 2013, Renfroe in the first round, Frazier in the sixth.
As he took his place in the batter’s box in the ninth inning on Sunday at PNC Park, Adam Frazier had 392 big league at-bats, 109 hits and 39 RBIs under his belt. The former Mississippi State star then did something he had not done in his previous 135 MLB games: He delivered a walk-off hit. Pittsburgh beat St. Louis 4-3 on Frazier’s single off Brett Cecil. Frazier, who was batting .361 in late May, had been scuffling mightily heading into the All-Star break. During the time off, he did nothing baseball-related. “Everybody needs a mental break,” he told mlb.com, “to get away and live life like normal people for a few days.” It appears to have helped. The Pirates’ super utility player is 6-for-13 in the three games since the break, helping the Pirates take two of three from the Cardinals in the weekend series. For the season, the second-year big leaguer is batting .267 with three homers, 29 RBIs, 36 runs and seven stolen bases in 70 games. The Pirates (44-48) are 7 games back of first-place Milwaukee in the National League Central heading into a four-game home series against the Brewers.
Adam Frazier is showing some staying power with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Mississippi State alum was never a highly rated prospect in the Pirates’ system — No. 27 by both mlb.com and Baseball America entering 2016 — but here he is batting .333 with six runs and three RBIs in 18 games since getting his first big league call-up last month. Frazier, playing second base, hit leadoff for the first time on Thursday and went 1-for-4 with an RBI in the Pirates’ 5-3 win over Milwaukee. Drafted in the sixth round out of State in 2013, Frazier batted .299 with a .363 on-base percentage in the minors. At 5 feet 10, 175 pounds, the lefty-hitting Frazier doesn’t hit for a lot of power or steal a ton of bases, but he brings versatility and a bulldog (Bulldog?) mentality to the park everyday. He might prove a valuable piece the rest of the way as Clint Hurdle’s Pirates, currently 49-46 and third in the National League Central, battle for a playoff berth.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, who are in a free fall, have called up ex-Mississippi State star Adam Frazier. The versatile Frazier, batting .333 at Triple-A Indianapolis, isn’t likely to be a difference-maker but could provide a lift to a club that has lost eight of nine and 20 of its last 26. Frazier has played mostly left field this season but also has seen time in center and at second base and shortstop, where he played at State. Pittsburgh drafted him in the sixth round in 2013. Frazier is a .299 career hitter in the minors. At 5 feet, 11 inches and 175 pounds, he doesn’t hit for power but has some speed (17 steals, four triples this year). The Pirates, managed by former Jackson Mets skipper Clint Hurdle, are 34-39, 14 games back of the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central. They host the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight at PNC Park. P.S. Eight Mississippi players were selected to the 2016 Louisville Slugger High School All-America teams, four of them from Class 5A power Oxford. Jason Barber – the two-time Gatorade player of the year – Houston Roth and Thomas Dillard were first-team picks from the Chargers, and Grae Kessinger was a second-teamer. Also on the (rather large) first team, as picked by Collegiate Baseball magazine, were Magnolia Heights products Riley Self and Dustin Skelton. Oak Grove’s Drew Boyd and Houston’s sophomore sensation Luke Hancock made the second team. … Dillard, who hit a remarkable 16 home runs this season, was pegged by Baseball America as a second-team All-America.