The season got out to a nice start for TJ Friedl. The Cincinnati Reds sent him to Dayton and over the first three days he racked up six hits, including two triples and a double. That clearly wasn’t going to continue for the season, or the month. With that said, he continued to hit well the rest of the month. The outfielder closed out April on a high note, going 4-8 with three doubles and five RBI int he final two games of the month. In 94 plate appearances he would hit .298/.362/.500 with seven walks and 15 strikeouts. That also included 12 extra-base hits and five stolen bases.
After a strong April, May began with a slump. TJ Friedl hit just .156 through the 10th of the month, but he did steal four bases during that span. He broke out over the next week, though. In six games he would hit .429 with four extra-base hits and four walks. After going 0-2 with 2 walks on the 18th, ending his 6-game hitting streak, Friedl went 13-45 (.289) with three home runs in the next ten games. The month would end with back-to-back 0-4’s. Despite the slow start he would finish May with a .250/.354/.435 line in 128 plate appearances. He had 12 extra-base hits and 12 walks during the month with 22 strikeouts.
June began with an 8-game hitting streak for TJ Friedl. He went 12-31 (.387) in that span with seven extra-base hits, and more walks, five, than strikeouts, two. Things slowed down over the next week, but after the game on the 16th, the Reds promoted the outfielder to Advanced-A Daytona. Friedl didn’t waste time getting into the groove for the Tortugas. He went 7-17 in his first four games. He would finish out the month with a .313/.409/.414 line between his two stops. Over his 115 plate appearances he had 13 walks and 20 strikeouts.
Things got out to a rough start for TJ Friedl in July. He would hit just .156 over the first nine games of the month. The following week he got things turned around, going 8-21 with three walks and just one strikeout. However, he only had one hit over the next four games from the 20th through the 24th. Friedl would finish the month out strong, though. In the final week he would hit .333 over seven games. The cold stretches were much worse than the hot stretches were good in July. Over 108 plate appearances the outfielder hit just .242/.305/.337 with six walks and 20 strikeouts.
TJ Friedl began August slowly, going just 1-20 in the first five games. His one hit in that stretch was a solo home run, his 7th of the year. The next five games were about as opposite as they could be from the first five of the month. Friedl went 10-23 (.435) with four doubles. On the 12th, in the 3rd inning, he would attempt to make a play in center and injure his thumb. The next day he was placed on the disabled list and would miss the remainder of the season. In the 11 games he played in August he would hit .256/.289/.419 with one walk and eight strikeouts.
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TJ Friedl Spray Chart
TJ Friedl Scouting Report
Hitting | TJ Friedl’s hit tool may be slightly below-average, but it could play up because of his ability to bunt and the speed to leg out some extra infield hits along the way. He doesn’t use the opposite field much, showing a pull-centric approach.
Power | He shows below-average power potential, but 10-12 home runs isn’t out of the question. All of the power he does have, though, is to the pull side.
Running | Friedl is an above-average to plus runner, though he needs to improve his stolen base abilities to match up to his pure speed.
Arm | His arm is solid-average.
Defense | He’s capable of handling center field just fine. He’s got enough speed to show good range and has solid routes and reads.
Offensively a few things stick out for TJ Frield. Some are good, and some are not. On the good side, he’s got a quick bat and despite his size, when he pulls the ball he can show solid pop. There’s plenty of speed to his game, too. He utilizes that well with his bunting ability. He had 18 base hits on 34 bunt attempts (this does include “sac bunts” – which I always struggle with crediting for fast guys, who clearly are never just dropping it down and trotting gingerly to the bag in a true “sacrifice” manner).
On the flip side of that, he really struggled against left handed pitching in 2017. He hit just .230/.296/.344 against lefties (.823 OPS against righties). His strikeout-to-walk ratio was significantly worse against leftes as well (31-to-7 versus 54-to-32). TJ Friedl will have to improve against lefties as he continues to develop if he’s going to compete for a job as a starter. The more advanced pitching in the Florida State League was a problem compared to the pitching in the Midwest League. Friedl saw his strikeout-to-walk ratio take a big turn downward as did the rest of his offensive numbers.
The raw tools are there for TJ Friedl to possibly push for a starters role with continued development. He’ll need to improve against lefties for that to happen, and he’ll also need to get his strikeout-to-walk ratio back towards what he showed with Dayton over what he showed in Daytona. Things will likely need to come close to maxing out for Friedl to be an every day player, though. His profile looks more like that of a 4th outfielder who can cover you in all three spots defensively, pinch run for you and be a solid bench bat.