Things have changed dramatically for Adam Frazier in two weeks.
The Pittsburgh Pirates infielder/outfielder has gone from a being a super utility player to the regular left fielder and leadoff hitter. The 25-year-old has made such an impact during the Pirates’ stretch of eight wins in their last 12 games that he is drawing high praise from teammate David Freese.
“He’s just a big-league hitter,” said Freese, the veteran third baseman. “He hits the inside part of the ball. That’s huge. That’s how you sleep at night. You hit the inside part of the ball, you give yourself a chance. If you look at the best hitters in the league, that’s what they do.”
Freese then went on to say Frazier could win the National League batting title.
Frazier has been hitting the inside of the ball quite often since coming off the disabled list May 12 after missing nearly three weeks with a strained right hamstring. In 14 games, including 12 starts, he is hitting .417 (20-for-48) with two doubles, two home runs, 13 RBIs and nine walks.
Overall, Frazier’s batting average is .361 through 28 games. If he had enough plate appearance to qualify for the NL leaders, he would be third behind the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner (.379) and the Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman (.362).
“He’s painting his own picture, he’s telling his own story,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
“Short swing. Barrel to ball. Hits the ball all over the place. There’s not much give at the plate. The dependability plays as well. And there’s fight in the kid, man. There’s a lot of fight.”
Frazier has long been a hitting machine. At Mississippi State, he set the school single-season record with 107 hits in 2013 while leading the Bulldogs to the finals of the College World Series where they lost to UCLA.
The Pirates selected Frazier in the sixth round of the amateur draft that year. He hit .300 in 353 minor league games before reaching the major leagues last June 24.
Including his .301 average in 66 games as a rookie last season, Frazier’s career average in the big leagues is .325 through 94 games.
Having success in the major leagues hasn’t gone to Frazier’s head, though. He is extremely humble.
“Coming into the season, I prepared to be ready to play every day, even though there wasn’t a spot in the lineup for me,” Frazier said. “You never know what’s going to happen. Now, I’m just trying to do the same things that put me in this position.”
When Freese’s comment about being a potential batting champion was relayed, Frazier seemed almost flabbergasted.
“It means a lot. It shows his confidence in me and boosts my confidence,” Frazier said. “Obviously, that’s a goal of everybody’s. To put together a season like that would be pretty unbelievable.”