The 2018 season saw TJ Friedl split his season between Advanced-A Daytona with the Tortugas and Double-A Pensacola with the Blue Wahoos. He hit .284/.381/.384 between the two stops with 30 stolen bases.
When the 2019 season began the Cincinnati Reds sent TJ Friedl back to Double-A, but this time in Chattanooga with their new affiliate the Lookouts. The season got out to a solid start in the first week. The outfielder went 8-26 (.308) with two extra-base hits. But over the next two weeks he went into an enormous slump, going 1-36 (.028) despite walking nine times and striking out just seven times in a 12-game stretch. Friedl would bounce back at the end of the month, closing out the final three games hitting .400 with a home run and seven RBI. With the big slump he finished the month with a .181/.302/.264 line that came with 10 walks and 11 strikeouts.
May began with TJ Friedl on the injured list, missing the first week with a shoulder injury. He returned on the 7th, and hit .350 with four extra-base hits in the first week back. Another prolonged slump followed as the left-handed hitter went 3-33 (.091). The final week of May saw a rebound for Friedl, though, going 10-24 (.417) with four doubles and a homer to round out the month. In 92 plate appearances he hit .260/.363/.429 with 10 extra-base hits and four steals.
The month of June began with hits in seven straight games, extending his hitting streak to eight. He hit .333 with an OPS over 1.000 in that stretch. But over the following four game he only had one hit – a home run. From June 13th through June 23rd Friedl played in nine games, going 8-34 (.235) with a .350 on-base percentage thanks to three walks and three more hit by pitches. But the month ended early as he would hit the injured list with an ankle injury. He returned on July 1st, going 2-3 with a walk. But he hit the injured list the next day with an ankle injury. That would be the last game of the year as he would undergo ankle surgery later in the month. In that final month he hit .260/.374/.455 over 91 plate appearances.
For all 2019 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
TJ Friedl Spray Chart
TJ Friedl Scouting Report
Position: OF | B/T: L/L
Height: 5′ 10″ | Weight: 180 lb | Acquired: Undrafted FA, 2016
Born: August 14, 1995
Hitting | He’s got an average hit tool, but one that could play up due to his speed and ability to beat out a few extra infield hits.
Power | He’s got below-average home run power. Double digit homers is there, but 20+ probably isn’t.
Speed | He has plus speed that he uses well in the field and on the bases.
Defense | He’s an above-average defender who can play center field without an issue.
Arm | He has an average arm that will play fine in center, left, or right field.
The slow start to the year combined with an early end to the year doomed his season stats. On April 25th he was hitting .145/.284/.194 thanks to an absurdly low .173 BABIP. The rest of his season, 47 games and 195 plate appearances, he hit .268/.371/.457 with a .322 BABIP – lower than his career rate. His walk rate, strikeout rate, and power output all improved in 2019 over his half-season in Double-A in 2018, but the low BABIP on the season made his season look a little worse on the surface despite the improvements.
Right now TJ Friedl would be a 4th outfielder in the Major Leagues. He’s got a good approach at the plate, so he could be used as a viable pinch hitter. There’s plenty of speed, so he could provide value on the bases as a pinch runner. And he’s got defense to cover you anywhere in the outfield, too. But that’s not the upside – that’s what he brings to the table right now.
The upside is that his bat continues to develop. And if it does, then you are looking at roughly an average hitter who can also play center field and provide value on the bases. The upside is that of a starting center fielder who helps you out in several ways. While the realistic floor here is that of a quality 4th outfielder.
As of the publish date of this article there’s a rather big question looming: Will TJ Friedl remain in the Cincinnati Reds organization. The Reds left him unprotected from the Rule 5 draft this year. Next week is the draft and with expanded rosters to 26 players in 2020 he feels like a player that most teams could certainly use. We’ll see how that goes soon enough.
Longest Home Run of the Year
406 feet on April 28th.
Interesting Stat on TJ Friedl
He was significantly better at home in 2019 than on the road. He posted a .790 OPS with 17 walks and 21 strikeouts at home. On the road he hit just .221/.318/.354 with 12 walks and 29 strikeouts on the road.
This article was first sent out to those who support the site over on Patreon. Early access is one of the perks that you could get be joining up as a Patron and supporting the work done here at RedsMinorLeagues.com.