Per reader request, a look at Giants prospect Kevin Frandsen
Kevin Frandsen was a 12th round pick in 2004, out of San Jose State University. A second baseman, he was successful in college, hitting .317, .332, and .321 in three seasons as a regular, but most teams saw him as an organization-type player. He hit .296/.369/.439 in 25 games for Salem-Keizer in the Northwest League after signing, credible performance yes, but college guys playing well in the Northwest League are not unusual. He needed to prove he could do this in full season ball.
This he did. Frandsen started off the season with San Jose in the California League, and he dominated the first half, hitting .351/.429/.467 in 75 games. Promoted to Double-A Norwich at mid-season, he hit .287/.336/.395 in 33 games. His walk rate dropped way off however, with just four free passes. His strikeout rate remained pleasantly low, with 14 whiffs in 129 at-bats.
Moved up to Triple-A, he hit .351/.378/.543 in 20 games for Fresno, drawing only two walks but striking out only five times in 94 at-bats.
In 153 career games, Frandsen is a career .328 hitter, with 45 doubles and nine homers in 612 at-bats.
Those numbers look good, obviously, and Frandsen certainly has gone from fringy organization player to legitimate prospect in his first full season. Looking at his record sabermetrically, he is a high-batting-average contact hitter with gap power. His walk rate is below average, but his strikeout rate is also below average. I think there is a good chance he will continue to hit for average, at least at the Triple-A level. I think he'll continue to hit .290+ at that level. I would compare him to Mets prospect Jeff Keppinger.
But what we don't know is if he'll be able to do that at the major league level. If he's a .260-.270 hitter in the Show, that will be inadequate, since he doesn't draw enough walks to keep his OPB at acceptable levels without a higher batting average. If he can be a .280+ hitter in the majors, he could play regularly if his defense is up to par.
Scouting-wise, I have not seen Frandsen in person. I'm told that he has a "level swing," and that he's adept at making contact against most pitching. The numbers agree with that assessment. His power is not regarded particularly highly, though he's hit plenty of doubles so far as a pro. His work ethic and love for the game are rated very highly. His defense is described as "decent,", but that's all the detail I have about it at this point.
By all reports, Frandsen fits into the "scrappy second baseman" mold, the same mold that produced guys like Keppinger, Frankie Menechino, Joe McEwing, Lou Merloni, etc. There is a chance he could get beyond that. . .perhaps developing into another Michael Young, if Giants fans have their dreams come true. Either way, I'd like to see what Frandsen can do in a full season of Triple-A.