Knights Under Lights: Todd Frazier
In Knights Under Lights, The Daily Targum looks at how players who distinguished themselves during their time on the Banks are currently performing in their respective professional leagues.
Todd Frazier played for the Rutgers baseball team for three years, leading the program to a Big East Tournament championship in 2007 and becoming one of its greatest players of all time. Frazier continued that success during his time in Major League Baseball (MLB), setting the standard for class and consistency throughout his 11-year professional career.
In 2005, the Scarlet Knights were attempting to right the ship after failing to qualify for postseason play for the first time in nearly 20 years the season prior.
As a freshman, Frazier, who hails from Toms River, New Jersey, had a .295 batting average, hit 9 home runs and had 36 runs batted in (RBI). His successful season earned him All-American honors from Baseball America.
But despite his stellar play and a 32-21 record, Rutgers missed the postseason for a second straight year.
Frazier took a massive step forward in his sophomore season, during which he improved his batting average to .366, hit 11 home runs and totaled 51 RBIs. With his improved play, the Knights qualified for the Big East Tournament as the sixth seed.
In the 2006 Big East Tournament, Rutgers initially fell to Louisville but rebounded with wins over Cincinnati and Connecticut to advance to the Big East Tournament semifinals. In the semifinals, the Knights fell to the Cardinals again. Frazier was selected to the All-Big East first team for his efforts that season.
Frazier had his finest season on the Banks as a junior in 2007, when he had a .377 batting average, hit 22 home runs and drove in 65 RBIs. For Frazier’s fantastic play, he was named First Team All-Big East again and named a consensus First-Team All-American.
He also won Big East Player of the Year unanimously. Frazier lifted Rutgers to a 42-21 record, tying the school record in wins at that time.
Frazier continued his stellar play in the Big East Tournament, batting .520 with three homers and seven RBIs. Frazier led the Knights to a 2007 Big East Tournament championship and won the Jack Kaiser MVP Award. Rutgers' win qualified them for the College World Series Charlottesville Regional, where it fell in the second round to Oregon State.
Frazier concluded his career on the Banks as the program’s most prolific hitter, hitting a program-record 42 home runs and scoring a program-record 210 runs. Frazier was also third all-time with 241 hits and fifth all-time with 152 RBIs.
Frazier was drafted 34th overall by the Cincinnati Reds in the first round of the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft. He spent four years in the minors before debuting with the Reds in 2011.
Frazier played in only 41 games in 2011, hitting for a .232 batting average with 6 home runs.
In 2012, the player had his breakout year, hitting 19 home runs with 67 RBIs and a .273 batting average. He finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting, behind Wade Miley and first-place Bryce Harper.
Over the next three years, Frazier would excel with the Reds, hitting for a .255 batting average with 83 home runs and 242 RBIs. He made the All-Star game in 2014 and 2015 and won the Home Run Derby in dramatic fashion in 2015.
Prior to the 2016 season, Frazier was traded to the Chicago White Sox as a part of a three-team trade involving the White Sox, Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Frazier hit a career-high 40-home runs with 98 RBIs in the 2016 season, but the White Sox failed to make the playoffs.
In the middle of the 2017 season, Frazier was traded to the New York Yankees. He quickly became a fan-favorite for the Yankees due to his thumbs-down celebration and New Jersey roots.
He stayed in New York in the 2018 season, signing with the New York Mets. Frazier hit 39 homer runs with 126 RBIs through two seasons in Flushing.
From 2020 to 2021, Frazier played just 58 games combined with the Texas Rangers, the Mets and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Frazier announced his retirement from the MLB in 2022 after 11 seasons with six teams. As one of the Knights' and the major league's best power hitters during his prime, Frazier made his name known not only for his statistics but also as a positive clubhouse presence and fan-favorite.
Frazier was inducted into the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.
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