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The Kevin Frandsen Dilemma

Quick preamble to what I’m about to write: I know that it’s a little bit cowardly to write about this when Manny Burriss is in an 0-for-27 slump, and not when he was on fire last month. That’s just how I roll, though.

It’s a little underwhelming to list off the young players who’ve been hosed by the Giants. Todd Linden? Never got a shot, but was never any good above AAA for anyone else. The same description would apply to Damon Minor, Dan Ortmeier, and Armando Rios, too. Yorvit Torrealbanever got a fair shot but that didn’t work out poorly for the Giants. Unless you consider that the perceived need for a catcher led to a trade that sent the entire franchise spiraling down a crotch-kneeing abyss, that is. But that’s a discussion for another time.

So it’s kind of funny to think how indignant a lot of Giants fans were that some of these guys didn’t get a chance to start. Maybe the front office had them pegged all along as fringe major leaguers, and maybe they deserve some credit for scouting their own players.

But Kevin Frandsen is getting absolutely hosed. A quick chronology:

  • Drafted in ‘04
  • Moved up three levels all the way to AAA in ’05, hitting well at every minor league stop
  • Split time between AAA and the majors in ’06, hitting well in AAA
  • Spent most of the year as a reserve player for the Giants in ’07, hitting miserably until getting hot when he received regular at-bats toward the end of the season
  • Done busted his achilles’ tendon in ‘08
  • Vanished from the organizational picture as if Marty McFly didn’t do something in the past to prevent this

And Frandsen didn’t disappear because a better option came along, mind you. He disappeared because the front office decided to freebase speed and defense, which led them to call up a slap-hitter with little experience above A-ball, who’s surprising everybody by hitting like a slap-hitter with little experience above A-ball. Frandsen’s defense is so bad, the Giants have to hide him at shortstop in AAA, so you can only imagine what it would be like if he had to play second. He might lead the NL in errors instead of just being tied, like Burriss. (And, no, errors aren’t the best way to measure defense, but the abacus twiddlers don’t like Burriss either.)

Meanwhile, Frandsen’s raking in AAA again. He's hitting .330/.381/.475, which is close to his career minor league line of .327/.390/.460. Note that more than half of his career minor league at-bats came in AAA, so it isn't as if his numbers are inflated by a monster year in rookie ball. That performance isn’t just going to translate right over to the majors, of course. The projection systems differ a bit, but most have Frandsen as a kind of .270/.330/.380 hitter, which reads like a cleanup option to this team. It certainly would clobber the snot out of the .238/.292/.267 the Giants have received from second this year.

Frandsen isn’t likely to ever be an All-Star. His ceiling might be as a decent utility option for a good team. It might make sense to trade for a second baseman instead of making a Burriss/Frandsen swap, which in the grand scheme of things, might only be worth an extra win over the remainder of the season. But Frandsen is getting hosed, and I just felt like pointing it out. He’s been vocal about his displeasure, and he was visibly upset when Edgar Renteria pinch-hit for him in a close-and-late situation. Good. He should be.