Offseason Awards: Matt Fraizer is Pirates Minor League Position Player of the Year
|Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Pirates|
It was an exciting year to follow the minor league teams for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the process of their current rebuild, General Manager Ben Cherington has done a fantastic job of infusing a hurting farm system with talent all around.
Not only has that made watching throughout the minors exciting again, the talent has really started to show through and there was several players who had great seasons worth recognition.
There was one player that, despite the countless to make their own case, rose above the rest and gets this year's honor as Pirates 2021 Position Player of the Year.
Matt Fraizer: Pirates 2021 Minor League Position Player of the Year
Losing out on an entire season was a huge blow to a lot of prospects when it comes to their development. Due to that, we saw some players maybe hang on at levels that they may have moved on sooner in the season.
We also saw players who took the year off to really make the adjustments needed to be successful, and the former third round pick in 2019 may be the most notable name to do so.
Fraizer went from relatively unknown coming out of Arizona, to leading the entire Pirates organization in hits, average, and home runs and did so across two levels.
Starting the season with Greensboro in High-A, Frazier came out of the gate hot and never slowed down as a member of the Grasshoppers.
In 350 plate appearances, Fraizer slashed .314/.401/.578 while hammering 20 home runs, driving in 50 and slugging a total of 37 extra base hits. That's a pretty good season for most players, Fraizer was just getting started.
He was called up at the beginning of August, playing in his first Double-A game on the sixth. Playing in both parts of a doubleheader, Fraizer went a combined 2 for 6 with a double. Over his first five games with the Altoona Curve, Fraizer still showed that newfound power, hitting five extra base hits.
The home runs wasn't as prevalent, hitting just three in 149 plate appearances, but he was hitting for power at a higher rate in Double-A (18 extra base hits in 149 PA with Altoona, compared to 37 in 350 PA in Greensboro).
Here it is!!! Matt Fraizer’s 13th homer of the season. This time it was a walk off 2 run shot in the 9th.— jacob fraizer ⚾️ (@jayspanks) July 7, 2021
Please excuse my dad and I going crazy😂 pic.twitter.com/DB2DG2CdVO
Fraizer slashed .288/.356/.492 in his time with the Curve, erasing doubts that he was beating up on lesser competition and taking advantage of a hitter friendly home stadium back in Greensboro.
While he entered the season as a relative unknown in the Pirates system, he quickly garnered attention around the baseball world. Unranked in just about every major prospect publications, Fraizer has broken into the top 30 for a deep Pirates system by both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America.
The managers in the High-A East recognized him by voting him the 'Best Hitting Prospect' on Baseball America.
While there was no shortage of players to choose from, Fraizer took his game to another level and the hard work and dedication he put in during the canceled season paid immediate dividends with his play in 2021. It also made him the easy choice to be recognized as the Player of the Year in the Pirates system.
Fan Voting: Did Fraizer Sweep?
Did something fun on Twitter, and opened it up to everyone to also recognize who they thought was the best position player in the Pirates' system this year.
After tallying the votes, Fraizer also earned the top spot among the fans. It wasn't unanimous as Endy Rodriguez finished a close second and Nick Gonzales coming in third.
What was your favorite Fraizer moment this season? Let us know in the comment section below, subscribe to the site with the link at the top of the page and follow us on Twitter @__Murphy88 and @SportBlogMurphy.