Evan Frey won the
FutureBacks.com Position Player of the Year Award before he completed some
of his best work of the 2008 season. Sure, his .288 batting average, .350
on-base percentage, and .384 slugging average were all lower marks than the
speedy centerfielder achieved either at Low-A South Bend or Hi-A Visalia this
year. But in the Arizona Fall League, Frey mostly faced the best pitching that
Double-A had to offer during the season; each organization is only allowed to
send one sub-AA player to the AFL, and Frey was the Diamondbacks' choice.
That choice paid off for the Desert Dogs throughout the season, but especially
on Saturday. Frey, normally the sparkplug centerfielder leading off for
Phoenix, batted eighth and manned right field for the championship game.
This allowed Rockies prospect Eric Young Jr. - who enjoyed a ridiculously
productive fall (.430 BA 5 HR 37 R 20 SB 1 CS) - to lead off the game.
would fail to produce a run in the championship game, but Frey drove in a run in
three consecutive innings, including both the first and the last that the Desert
Dogs would score. A groundout, sharp grounder up the middle, and bloop
double to left accounted for Frey's three RBI in a role that he's not accustomed
"I think that's going to be my main goal throughout my career, to set the
table," Frey told FutureBacks earlier in the season. "My main goal is to get on base, make the defense think about me a
little bit, and score a lot of runs for our team."
Once Frey got to Visalia, it became evident that this little table-setter
could put a charge into the ball when necessary. After beginning his time
there 6-for-36, he belted three home runs in his next 17 games and hit .321 for
the remainder of the summer.
"Whenever I moved up to the Cal League, it took me a bit to get adjusted,"
Frey admitted in a recent interview with Will Carroll. "The
pitching was different; I saw a lot of offspeed. But once I got adjusted,
I liked hitting out there with the light air and the parks that jumped a little
Indeed, Frey had worked hard this past offseason on increasing his strength,
so that now he is more of a gap-to-gap hitter than a strictly singles hitter.
He'll begin a similar regimen this winter, but not before taking some
well-deserved time off.
"I played a lot of ball this year, so I'll probably take it easy," said Frey,
who played 165 games and stole 44 bases total between South Bend, Visalia, and
Phoenix in 2008. "Then
I'll get back in the weight room, try to get a little stronger, a little faster,
then start hitting again January 1st."
It will be difficult for Frey to top his '08 performance next year. For
now, he has raised his game to become one of the top prospects in the
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