Frazier Learning The Ropes Of College Ball

Adam Frazier is a member of what is proving to be an outstanding freshman class for Mississippi State baseball. He, along with several other members of that class, are either starters or part-times starters this season. But Frazier is learning no matter how talented you are, the college game is much tougher than high school ball.

"First of all you have to adjust to the speed of the game," said Frazier, who was an honorable mention Louisville Slugger High School All-American selection his senior season. "I guess that is the main thing when you first start out. Once you adjust to the speed of the game, it's just trying to get comfortable while playing in a new setting in front of a lot of people."

He provided an example of how he has tried to overcome that game speed.

"When I came in during the Sunday Vanderbilt game and tied the game up with my hit a couple of guys were talking to me after the game about tying the game up and I told them I didn't really know we were down two with the bases loaded," said Frazier. "I wasn't nervous at all, but due to the speed of the game I was just focused on getting the job done. It just felt like the whole game was in fast forward."

Another aspect of the college game is the talented pitching a hitter sees every weekend in the Southeastern Conference. It's not surprising to see a freshman hit the ball well for a series or two, then pitchers learn what he can hit and, more importantly, what he has trouble hitting. Frazier had the situation happen to him after his first few games. His first five games as a starter he was 6-for-14. Then over the course of his next seven games he was 5-for-27. And he followed that up with a 0-for-16 streak. Now he appears back on track hitting-wise (4-for-9 in last 2 games) after making some adjustments.

"The slump got me down a little bit but that's how it is for everybody," said Frazier, who hit .524 with 24 doubles and 39 RBI in 34 games his senior season of high school. "My approach probably got bad for a little while and I was getting myself out some due to swinging at bad pitches. But I settled down in the South Carolina series even though I went 0-for-10. I felt like my approach was better than it had been. And I wasn't necessarily getting myself out as much."

As for his hitting approach, it's very simple, you throw it in the strike zone and he's swinging.

"I don't like sitting in there waiting on (the pitchers) or letting it sit in the umpire's hand," said Frazier, who has struck out just 10 times in 73 at-bats while walking twice this season. "If you are going to throw it around the plate, then I'm going to swing unless it's a ways off the plate. I try not to strike out, put the ball in play and always try to put pressure on the defense."

One of his teammates, Brent Brownlee, had no doubt that Frazier was going to come out of the slump.

"Frazier, who is in my BP (batting practice) group, had been struggling and was getting frustrated," said Brownlee. "I told him he was hitting it great but that he was just hitting it right at people. We've all been through that. All he had to do was keep hitting it and it would eventually start to fall."

Frazier also switched bats, which seemed to help him regain his hitting stroke.

"The past three games I switched bats from a 33 down to a 32, which is what I used in high school," said Frazier. " felt like I wasn't getting the bat through the strike zone as well as I should have been. I think that was part of the reason why I was late on balls or getting sawed off some and grounding out to second base."

Speaking of second base, that's the position Frazier has played most of the games he's started for the Bulldogs. Although, with the injury to starting shortstop Jonathan Ogden, he's started at short a couple of games.

"I'm comfortable at both positions, but shortstop is kind of home because I have played there my entire life," said Frazier, who was selected Northeast Georgia and Region 8AAA Player of the Year as a senior shortstop at Oconee County High School in Watkinsville, Georgia. "I played second base my sophomore year in high school. That, and this past summer, were the only times that I have played second base. I also played shortstop all fall, but I made the transition to second base and it took a little while to get comfortable there. Once I did, I felt I was fine and I could settle in and play my game."

Brownlee believes Frazier would make a great shortstop if needed at that position.

"What I like about him is how smooth he is out there," said Brownlee. "He's a really good shortstop. He made an awesome play (against South Alabama). There was a man on first and the batter hit a ball up the middle and he kind of flipped it behind his back while going up the middle and got the runner out at second. (Nick) Vickerson stretched out at second, kind of like a first baseman, and got him out at second. It was a great play."

Frazier is not the only member of the freshman class that is doing well. Frazier himself has been impressed with all the freshmen. And it's not just their talent level but the effort he is seeing from them.

"I have really been impressed with how hard everybody works," he said. "Everybody works hard and keeps a positive attitude. Everybody is also really staying focused on what the job is and what we are trying to do. With the talent we have, I think we will be able to do whatever we want to do and win a lot of ballgames. Plus, I know we have another nice recruiting class coming in with a lot of strong arms. That will help us even more. I think we can finish out this year pretty strong and hopefully make a regional, a super regional and, hopefully, even Omaha. But I think next year we will have a really good core group with a lot of us getting a lot of good experience that will help us next year."

One player in particular has impressed him of late, Hunter Renfroe. While many Mississippi State fans wonder where the power is coming from next season, Frazier has seen it first-hand in batting practice every day from Renfroe.

"Renfroe has his stroke going for him right now," said Frazier. "(I know) you don't see BP every day but the dude has really been putting some balls way out in Left Field Lounge lately. He's been swinging the ball really well. I know he's gone 0 for his first 8 or something like that but his last four at-bats he has been hitting line drives. With the way his stroke is right now, hopefully he will get some more ABs (at bats) and get some hits to fall."

While Frazier has been impressed with the improvement in Renfroe, he also has some things he wants to do during the summer and into next fall to help him improve his game as well.

"I want to get bigger and stronger, probably put on 10 to 15 pounds," said the 5-10, 168-pounder, who will be playing for San Luis Obispo of the California Collegiate League this summer. "I also want to work on my approach at the plate and work on having better at-bats. With summer ball you don't have to worry about making the postseason so you are more relaxed and can focus more on your individual game, which will help you become a better overall player."


Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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