Frazier was the Tigers 3rd round choice in the 2004 draft, out of Rutgers, where his brother is currently a standout and projected high draft choice this June. After capping a very impressive college career with a .382/.457/.657 line during his senior campaign, Frazier took his act to Oneonta of the New York-Penn League, where he promptly started driving the ball all over the yard. Through 20 games, Jeff had posted a .304/.387/.430 line, in a league dominated by pitching. Frazier was just establishing himself as a player to watch in the Tigers system, when an inside pitch broke a bone in his arm, cutting his professional debut short.
A promotion to West Michigan in 2005 challenged Jeff with his first taste of full-season ball. Jeff started off slow, but through the season's final 87 games, he posted a .313/.371/.504 line to help push the Whitecaps towards the playoffs. His second half efforts also helped him take home the TigsTown West Michigan Player of the Month Award for July, and a MiLB.com Midwest League Player of the Week Award as well. By season's end, Jeff had established himself as the ‘Caps offensive leader, and subsequently was named the team's Player of the Year by TigsTown.
The 2006 season picked up where 2005 left off, as Jeff posted a nifty .293/.333/.505 line through the season's first 24 games, and was named TigsTown's Lakeland Player of the Month. From there, it was all down hill, as he posted an inept .213/.266/.309 line through the remaining 111 games, leaving many to wonder what the future had in store for a player with such high hopes.
(Ed. Note: This scouting report was accurate as of the spring of 2007, Frazer's game has changed slightly as he's developed over time. Most notably, his athleticism has declined slightly as he's aged, and the power swing has developed more.)
Frazier has a long, lean body that appears all arms and legs. A lanky, well conditioned athlete, Frazier has exceptional coordination and surprising strength. He uses a short, compact swing to spray line drives to all fields, with some homerun power. With added strength, and improved technique, Frazier could add loft, subsequently driving the ball out of the park with more regularity. He understands the strike zone well, and is learning to find his pitch to drive, which could help take him to the next level offensively.
He has average speed and good instincts and puts them towards an overall average defensive rating. Along with his solid defensive skills, Frazier has a strong, accurate arm that could get better with added strength. His defensive package could play in either left or right field, and he could likely cover center in a pinch. His instincts are solid in all facets of the game, and he has a rare desire to learn that appears infectious amongst his teammates.
Baseball is in his blood, as his older brother is currently a prospect in the Florida system, and as mentioned, his younger brother Todd, is expected to be a premium pick this summer. Even with his struggles this season, Jeff profiles as a very good 4th outfielder and with a few breaks, he could have a run of a couple seasons where he is a solid everyday corner outfielder.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A+
An errant fastball cost Frazier a good portion of his rookie campaign after breaking a bone in his forearm. Jeff showed no lingering effects from the injury during the 2005 or 2006 seasons, and it should be on no concern moving forward.
The 2006 season was a lost campaign for Frazier, and he'd do well to forget it ever happened. Once he started to struggle in May, he pressed and tried to do too much. His swing got long, he became anxious at the plate, and basically every part of his game collapsed. Despite this, there is still potential for Frazier to turn it around and get to the Major Leagues.
The Mariners could opt to have Frazier repeat High-A in the California League, or they could push him to San Antonio to continue challenging him. Once considered a good bet to make a quick path to the bigs in some capacity, he has fallen behind that pace significantly. Don't be surprised to see Frazier rebound in a huge way this season, and he should re-establish himself on the prospect radar.
Mark Anderson covers the Tigers' minor league system and all of minor league baseball for TigsTown.com. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.