17 Sep

time to shine

At just the right time it would appear, Adam Frazier is heating up. The former Mississippi State star went 7-for-10 with three runs and two RBIs in San Diego’s last two games, big wins over San Francisco, the best team in the National League. The Padres, a half-game back of St. Louis in the battle for the second wild card, begin a three-game series with the Cardinals tonight at Busch Stadium. Frazier, who hit .324 as an All-Star with Pittsburgh to begin this season, started slowly with the Padres and even faded from regular playing time. In 42 games with the Padres, the lefty-hitting second baseman is batting .264 — but over his last 15, he’s at .349. Typically a leadoff batter in Pittsburgh, Frazier hit cleanup for the Padres on Thursday against Giants ace Kevin Gausman. He singled his first time up in the second inning and scored the game’s first run. He finished 3-for-5 with two runs as San Diego beat Gausman (14-6) and the Giants 7-4. The Padres are showing signs of life after a prolonged funk; they’ll meet a Cardinals team that has won five straight. … MSU product Dakota Hudson, coming back from Tommy John surgery, has an 0.66 ERA in four rehab appearances in the minors. He might be ready to help out in St. Louis’ bullpen. P.S. Cody Reed, the Northwest Mississippi Community College alum from Horn Lake, threw a scoreless inning Thursday in a rehab appearance for Tampa Bay’s Florida Complex League team. Reed, a lefty reliever, has been on the injured list since May and recently had shoulder surgery. There is speculation the Rays, top team in the American League, might activate Reed soon. He had a 3.72 ERA in 12 games before he went on the IL.

02 Jul

that’s pretty cool

Mississippi will be represented by at least one state college product in the MLB All-Star Game for the sixth straight time. Adam Frazier, the Mississippi State alumnus now with Pittsburgh, was the winner in fan balloting to start at second base for the National League. It’ll be his first trip to the Midsummer Classic, and he is very deserving of the honor. The lefty-hitting Frazier, in his sixth MLB season, is batting .326 with 101 hits, four homers, 28 RBIs and 50 runs. “I don’t really love the spotlight itself. I just try to go about my business and take care of what I need to take care of,” Frazier said in an mlb.com article. “It’s pretty cool to have the support, and I’m happy for that.” This is also pretty cool: The last Pirates second baseman to start an All-Star Game was Bill Mazeroski in 1967. More Mississippians could be headed for Colorado for the July 13 game when pitchers and reserves are announced Sunday. In 2019, the last time there was an All-Star Game, Brandon Woodruff, the ex-State standout from Wheeler, went as a replacement to the National League pitching staff. He followed Mitch Moreland (2018), Zack Cozart and Corey Dickerson (2017), Drew Pomeranz (2016) and Brian Dozier and Jonathan Papelbon (2015) as recent All-Stars out of Magnolia State schools. … Former Mississippi Braves Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna also were voted in, as announced by MLB on Thursday. P.S. The all-Mississippi home run chase in MLB is proving to be quite interesting. DeSoto Central product Austin Riley belted his 14th on Thursday (off Jacob deGrom, no less), moving two ahead of ex-MSU star Hunter Renfroe and Bulldogs alum Nate Lowe, who hit two on Thursday to get to 12. Gulfport’s Bobby Bradley, who has only been up since June 5, has eight. Still waiting for former State standout Moreland to get it going; he’s at six. … Down in the minors, Houlka’s Tyreque Reed hit two bombs for High-A Greenville (Boston) and has 12 on the season.

17 May

in the stars

The MLB All-Star Game is some two months away, but it’s not too early to start projecting that Adam Frazier will make the National League team. The former Mississippi State and current Pittsburgh Pirates standout leads the league in hits (51) and tops NL second basemen in batting average (.323) and OPS. Frazier, a lefty bat, had something of a down year in 2020 – like many others – but is a .277 career hitter with both pop and speed. In 2021, he has one homer, three triples, 13 doubles, three steals, 13 RBIs and 20 runs over 39 games. Oddly enough, the sixth-year big leaguer wasn’t assured a starting job entering spring training and was the subject of trade rumors. But after raking at a .488 clip in the Grapefruit League, he has been entrenched at second base since Day 1. His defense? He occasionally shifts to left field late in games because the Pirates are short-handed out there, not because he’s lacking at second base. He is a two-time Gold Glove finalist. “(H)e’s doing an unbelievable job at second. We’d prefer to keep him there and plan on keeping him there,” Bucs manager Derek Shelton told triblive.com. Don’t be surprised to see Frazier in Colorado with the other All-Stars in July.

15 Mar

staying focused

If Adam Frazier is still a candidate for a trade, the ex-Mississippi State star has done nothing this spring but make himself more attractive. After a 2-for-3 effort in the Grapefruit League today, Frazier is 10-for-15 (.667) for Pittsburgh. The Pirates, regarded as one of the worst teams in MLB, likely could get a nice return for the lefty-hitting second baseman. Trade rumblings obviously haven’t affected Frazier. “I’ll be where my feet are and try to get better each day,” he told mlb.com at the start of spring training. “I’m in a position now to try to lead these guys, so I’ll do my best to do that.” Frazier, 29, has a .273 career average with 35 homers over five seasons and twice has been a Gold Glove finalist. He hit just .230 in 2020 but smacked seven homers in 58 games. … Frazier is one of three Mississippians, not including Ke’Bryan Hayes (Charlie’s son), in the Pirates’ camp this spring. Chris Stratton, a teammate of Frazier’s at MSU, has made three scoreless appearances this spring as he vies for a bullpen spot. He also has been rumored to be trade bait. Outfielder Anthony Alford, the oft-injured ex-Petal High standout, suffered a wrist contusion on Saturday but isn’t expected to be down long. Aiming to win the center field job, he is batting .385 with two homers. P.S. In the Pirates’ loss to Baltimore today, State product Jordan Westburg – a 2020 draftee recently invited to the Orioles’ camp – got his first hit in a big league uniform.

24 Sep

get it started

Though he doesn’t hit a lot of home runs, Mississippi State product Adam Frazier does have a knack for jump-starting his team’s attack. Frazier hit his ninth career leadoff homer for Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, propelling the Pirates to a 2-1 win against the Chicago Cubs and ace Kyle Hendricks. (Ke’Bryan Hayes – Hattiesburg native Charlie’s kid – followed Frazier’s homer with one of his own.) Frazier, who has 34 career homers over five MLB seasons, is third on the Pirates’ all-time chart for leadoff homers, trailing only Barry Bonds (20) and Al Martin (10). MLB’s all-time leader is Rickey Henderson with a ridiculous 81. Based on a little research in baseball-reference.com, Frazier ranks second – unofficially — among Mississippi-connected players in leadoff shots, trailing only Brian Dozier, who is sitting on the sideline at the moment with 28. Corey Dickerson, still active, has eight, same as Zack Cozart, who is not currently playing. At seven is a group that includes Seth Smith, Matt Lawton, Ellis Burks and Del Unser. Fred Lewis had five and Don Kessinger four. Jarrod Dyson and Billy Hamilton, both active, have three apiece, same as Frank White, Don Blasingame and Eric McNair.

25 Sep

spoiler alert

Chicago Cubs fans might look back on the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s game at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park as the inning that finally put the fork in their 2019 season. It wasn’t surprising that Adam Frazier, the ex-Mississippi State standout, played a lead role for the Pirates in that pivotal frame, starting the seven-run inning with a double and capping it with an RBI single. The Pirates, shut out by Kyle Hendricks to that point, rolled to a 9-2 victory that snapped their nine-game losing streak and extended the Cubs’ losing skid to seven. One more Cubs loss or one more Milwaukee win will officially eliminate Chicago from playoff contention. “It just went away, brother. It went away,” said Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who might be nearing the end of his tenure. Frazier, who took over as the Bucs’ regular second baseman this season, has been flourishing down the stretch for a team that long ago fell out of the playoff race. The lefty hitter, a sixth-round pick out of State by Pittsburgh in 2013, has batted .353 over his last 30 games with three homers, 16 RBIs and 18 runs. Frazier is batting .281 with 10 homers (matching his career-high) and 49 RBIs on the year. He has set career marks with 32 doubles, seven triples and 77 runs. He is eligible for arbitration after this season and should get a nice raise. P.S. Brian Dozier, the former Southern Miss standout, enjoyed a celebration Tuesday with the Washington Nationals, who swept two from Philadelphia to capture a National League wild card berth. Dozier, who went 1-for-3 in Game 1, will be in the postseason for the third straight year and with a third different team (Minnesota, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Nats). He is hitting .233 with 19 homers this year.

02 Jul

one for the book

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle put Adam Frazier in the leadoff spot on Monday for the first time since early June. It was a salient move by the former Jackson Mets skipper. Ex-Mississippi State standout Frazier went 5-for-6, scored three runs, drove in a pair and etched his name in the baseball record book with four doubles. And the Pirates, who also got three homers from Josh Bell, beat the first-place Chicago Cubs 18-5 at PNC Park. Frazier was in a 2-for-18 funk before Monday’s breakout, which might lead to more opportunities at the top of the order. He joins an impressive list of players with four two-baggers in a nine-inning game. Among the others to achieve the feat are Lou Boudreau, Joe Medwick, Orlando Cepeda, Billy Williams, Kirby Puckett, Albert Belle and Jeff Bagwell. Frazier has become the Pirates’ regular second baseman this season with the departure of Josh Harrison, and the lefty-hitting four-year veteran is batting .266 with three homers, 21 RBIs and 41 runs. The Pirates are hanging around in a crowded race in the National League Central.

13 May

dynamic duo

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.

04 Sep

locked in

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.

04 Aug

timing is everything

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.