Amateur scouting director Chad MacDonald predicts the best has yet to come from seventh-round pick Cole Frenzel, a first baseman from the University of Arizona.
Several factors, MacDonald suggests, point to that conclusion.
The 21-year-old Frenzel hails from Dickinson, N.D., a climate that limited his ability to play year-round. Frenzel also missed much of his freshman season in college after breaking the hamate bone at the base of his right hand while fouling off a fastball against Long Beach State in his second collegiate game, limiting his development time.Courtesy of Brooklyn Cyclones
Of course, it also was attractive to the organization that Frenzel had a .461 on-base percentage in the Pacific-10 Conference this season -- 35 points better than No. 2-ranked Danny Pulfer of Oregon, who became a 19th-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“We thought he was trending upward,” MacDonald said.
Frenzel, who bats left-handed and throws right-handed, is hitting .297 (11-for-37) with seven RBIs through 10 professional games as a Brooklyn Cyclone.
As is the case with still-unsigned first-round pick Brandon Nimmo, who hails from Wyoming, climate certainly restricted Frenzel from playing baseball year-round in North Dakota.
“Obviously you couldn’t go outside pretty much from the fall all the way until the spring,” Frenzel said. “I would hit indoors. We had a college baseball team there (NAIA Dickinson State), and they would have cages in the gymnasium. I’d go hit there with my dad all the time -- twice a week in my off-time -- play catch, take groundballs. I didn’t do much baseball throughout the winter and fall because I played football and hockey. But I’d still make time to hit just to stay in shape a little bit. We used wood bats in high school, too. So that helped out.
“The weather, I mean, winters get cold up there. You get 30-below-zero like nothing.”
Frenzel played inside linebacker and fullback/tailback in football and forward in hockey during high school. He had opportunities to play junior hockey and was also recruited by Division II college programs, but his father Doug and brother Tyler played college baseball -- Tyler at the University of North Dakota. Baseball seemed like the most promising path.
“Once I got into eighth grade, freshman year of high school, that’s when I realized I’m going to do hockey all summer or I’m going to play baseball,” Frenzel said. “Hockey would have turned into year-round. My dad played college baseball. My brother did too. I still loved baseball. And I was a little better at baseball. It was my best chance in athletics.”
Frenzel, because of his date of birth, actually was eligible for the draft this year, after his sophomore season at Arizona. Typically, a player at a four-year program is not eligible until after his junior season. Armed with the leverage of being able to be drafted for two more years, Frenzel received a $200,000 signing bonus, according to Baseball America -- the highest for that round this year.
MacDonald said he believes Frenzel will grow into power, too.
“I try to keep it simple and put the barrel on the ball,” Frenzel said. “I try to hit for average. Power usually comes.”
Average: Juan Lagares, St. Lucie, .337; Julio Concepcion, Kingsport, .333; Josh Satin, Binghamton, .322; Richard Lucas, Brooklyn, .317; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, .316; Brandon Brown, Brooklyn, .310; Cam Maron, Kingsport, .304; Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, .299; Cory Vaughn, St. Lucie, .292; Jeff Glenn, Kingsport, .292.
Homers: Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 15; Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 13.
RBI: Valentino Pascucci, Buffalo, 61; Wilmer Flores, St. Lucie, 60; Josh Satin, Binghamton, 59; Aderlin Rodriguez, Savannah, 58; Brahiam Maldonado, Binghamton, 47.
Steals: Jordany Valdespin, Binghamton, 29; Pedro Zapata, St. Lucie, 27; Matt den Dekker, Binghamton, 16; Rafael Fernandez, Savannah, 14.
ERA: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 2.03; Carlos Vazquez, Brooklyn, 2.43; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 2.63; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 2.71; Eduardo Aldama, Brooklyn, 2.81; Gabriel Ynoa, GCL Mets, 3.00; Todd Weldon, Brooklyn, 3.09; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 3.18; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 3.21; Ryan Fraser, Savannah, 3.26.
Wins: Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 10; Greg Peavey, St. Lucie, 9; Angel Cuan, Savannah, 8; Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 8; Brandon Moore, Binghamton, 7.
Saves: Josh Edgin, St. Lucie, 20; Jeffrey Kaplan, St. Lucie, 10; Dale Thayer, Buffalo, 9.
Strikeouts: Matt Harvey, Binghamton, 115; Darin Gorski, St. Lucie, 107; Jeurys Familia, Binghamton, 100; Chris Schwinden, Buffalo, 93; Taylor Whitenton, Savannah, 87.
• Right-hander Chris Schwinden tossed a perfect inning at Salt Lake City, requiring only seven pitches, in the Triple-A All-Star Game as Buffalo’s lone representative last Wednesday. Schwinden retired Albuquerque’s Trayvon Robinson, Reno’s Collin Cowgill and Sacramento’s Anthony Recker on groundouts. It marked the fourth straight year a Bison has tossed a scoreless relief inning in the All-Star Game, with Schwinden joining Rich Rundles (2008), Nelson Figueroa (2009) and Pat Misch (2010) in continuing that streak. Schwinden (6-4, 3.31 ERA) then opened the second half by suffering his first loss in eight starts. He allowed four runs while lasting a season-low 4 1/3 innings at Rochester.
• St. Lucie left-hander Darin Gorski improved to 10-0 on Monday against Clearwater. That win total is more impressive because Gorski did not enter the Florida State League team’s rotation until April 27, after making five relief appearances. Gorski’s 10 wins are tied for third in minor league baseball, trailing only the 11 victories by Julio Rodriguez (Class A Clearwater/Phillies) and Craig Westcott (Class A San Jose/Giants).
• Buffalo center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder to repair the labrum.
• Third-base prospect Zach Lutz’s hard-luck season injury-wise continued Tuesday when he was hit with a fastball in the head by Syracuse’s Chien-Ming Wang in the first inning and later experienced concussion symptoms that sent him to the hospital. Lutz remained in the game until Michael Fisher replaced him in the bottom of the third. Lutz already has suffered a concussion this season after getting hit with a curveball in the head on June 24 against Norfolk.
• Left-hander Gustavo Chacin is scheduled to make his Buffalo debut Wednesday, with fellow newcomer Miguel Batista starting the other game of a doubleheader at Syracuse. Chacin, 30, was released by the Houston Astros after going 3-6 with a 5.13 ERA in 18 relief appearances at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He allowed 81 hits and 24 walks in 66 2/3 innings. The right-handed Batista, 40, was released by the St. Louis Cardinals after a June 21 appearance against Philadelphia in which he walked consecutive batters with the bases loaded to force in runs. After two relief appearances with the Bisons, Batista made his first minor league start in 11 years on Thursday, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings while building his pitch count to 64. Jack Egbert, returning from Tommy John surgery this season, will move to the Double-A rotation to clear room with the Bisons.
• The Mets signed a pair of position players for the upper levels of the organization. Outfielder Fernando Perez, a Columbia University product and published poet, was assigned to Buffalo. Infielder Niuman Romero joined Binghamton. Perez, 28, hit .238 with three homers and 20 RBIs and had 17 steals in 19 attempts in 76 games with Triple-A Iowa in the Chicago Cubs organization. Perez once scored the game-winning run by tagging up on a shallow fly ball in Game 2 in the 2008 American League Championship Series for Tampa Bay against Boston. Romero, 26, hit .239 in 34 games in the Eastern League with Reading in the Phillies organization. He also appeared briefly in the Blue Jays minor league system this season.
• Romero has started his first three games at shortstop with the B-Mets, prompting middle infielder Jordany Valdespin to man second base. Valdespin, who has 27 errors this season, should return to shortstop, however, with 2008 first-round pick Reese Havens activated from the disabled list following a back injury that has sidelined the second baseman since June 23.
• A pair of the Mets’ more highly regarded prospects found themselves on the disabled list. Outfielder Fernando Martinez was placed on the Buffalo DL with a left hip flexor injury, while right-hander Jeurys Familia had been shut down with the B-Mets with a shoulder impingement, but has resumed throwing. Familia had been given more than two weeks off between starts before returning to the rotation July 4. Familia is 2-2 with a 3.38 ERA in Double-A this season. B-Mets left-hander Roy Merritt also landed on the DL with a bruised shin.
• Familia had been one of three B-Mets selections to last Wednesday’s Eastern League All-Star Game in Manchester, N.H., but was unable to attend. Josh Satin (0-for-1, walk) and Valdespin (0-for-2) started for the East, which lost, 8-3.
• Satin has now reached base in 43 straight games with the B-Mets. His .322 average ranks fifth in the Eastern League, while his .421 on-base percentage trails only Portland’s Alex Hassan (.430).
• Buffalo designated hitter/first baseman Valentino Pascucci was named the International League hitter of the week. In five games since the All-Star break, Pascucci is hitting .381 with three homers and 11 RBIs.
• Jose De La Torre made his first Buffalo appearance since May 3 on Tuesday, recording four outs but issuing three walks. The right-handed reliever had been out with a shoulder strain.
• St. Lucie, and rehabbing David Wright, faced Tim Teufel’s son Shawn on Saturday. The 25-year-old southpaw, a 25th-round pick last year out of Liberty University by the Detroit Tigers, suffered his first career Florida State League loss. He allowed three runs on five hits and a walk in five innings and now sports a 2.50 ERA in the league in 36 innings (14 appearances/two starts).
• Right-hander Brad Holt, the 33rd overall pick in 2008, who was bounced from the rotation to bullpen because of wildness, had a recent run of success out of the B-Mets pen. Holt retired 16 straight batters until the streak ended Monday when he allowed three runs in an inning. Still, Holt has not allowed a walk in his past four appearances spanning six innings. He had walked 50 through 67 innings this season.
• 2010 first-round pick Matt Harvey allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out nine in five innings Monday at Portland. He is 0-2 with a 7.64 ERA through four Double-A starts.
• Thirteenth-round pick Robert Gsellman, a high school right-hander from California, made his professional debut Monday with a scoreless inning, with two strikeouts and two walks, in the Gulf Coast League. The Mets also signed ninth-round pick from Alex Panteliodis, a left-hander from the University of Florida. Panteliodis arrived with a hip injury the organization was aware of and will not pitch until next season.
Adam Rubin’s farm report appears Wednesdays during the regular season