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.

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24 Responses

  1. another bob in nc

    You might have a weak farm system when your #11 prospect is left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft.

    • citizen54

      You look at the 40 man roster and there’s certainly some names that could have been dropped for Freidl. I mean R.J. Alaniz over Freidl? Not sure what the Reds FO was thinking.

    • Doug Gray

      Or you might just say that the front office made a mistake in not protecting him. That’s the one I’m going with.

      • victor vollhardt

        the Reds have an open spot on the 40 man now that they non- tendered Gausman. Can a prospect like Freidl bbe added now? *****On another point —shortstop–they let Peraza go (with 3 years of control left) and I kinda get that –his 2018 185 hit year went completely south in 2019 and he looked lost most of the time. But to go into 2020 with Galvis at shortstop and no real back up save some very promising minor leagues seems short sighted to me —especially when you think about Jose Iglesias’ season 145 hits (many big two out hits) .288 (life time .273) BA that I believe could be had at a very reasonable price (2yrs 5.5 to 6.5 mil ?) and add into that he was spectacular in the field —he made a lot of the pitchers better. Outside of power (based on last year) he is a better choice than Galvis and wouldn’t cost 5.5 mil for one year. As the off season wears on two other free agents, in my opinion should be looked at (for the right price of course)- Cory Dickerson and Tanner Roark. I think both would be good additions both on and off the field.

      • Doug Gray

        No, once the original date has passed you can not add someone to protect them.

    • Oldtimer

      Friedl is rated #20 among Top 30 prospects on Reds MLB site. Maybe that is why he was left unprotected. Hard to say.

      • victor vollhardt

        it is usually on the morning of the last day of the winter meetings. It is often by passed by many of the hot shot (young) number guys in the media. Lest us never forget Josh Hamilton and (just for OLD TIMER) Roberto Clemente and others who came from this source and contributed . Remember Jared Burton (2006 rule 5 draft by the Reds) some good years with the Reds and overall 8 years in the big leagues.

  2. Peter Powell

    With open spots on 40 man now, can he be added before the Rule V?

    • citizen54

      Nope, the deadline to add someone to the 40 man roster was November 26th.

      My guess is the Reds didn’t add him to the 40 man roster based upon his 2019 stats not taking into account the insanely low BABIP or else they just dun screwed up. Either way it doesn’t give me much faith in this front office. Gausman was an obvious non tender so the Reds should have know there was going to be an open spot on the 40 man.

      • Andrew

        Lets see if Friedl gets drafted before we assume the other 29 teams out there think he MLB ready.

        If he doesnt get drafted does it make the front office look smart? Seems it should go both ways

      • Doug Gray

        I can promise you the entire front office is aware of BABIP.

        I think they just felt there was a chance he’d go unselected.

      • citizen54

        Why would they even take the risk with an open slot available? Wouldn’t it be better to leave a 28 year old RH reliever off the 40 man roster and hope he slips through rather than take your chance on a 24 CF, whose floor is a fourth outfielder, falling through?

      • Bill

        There are a few reasons NOT to add him:

        1. FO doesn’t think he’ll get drafted
        2. If drafted, FO believes acquiring team will offer him back.
        3. Suppose the Reds added Friedl as some have suggested knowing full well they were likely going to nontender a couple players and go into the Rule 5 draft with an open spot. If the Reds later need that 40-man roster spot, and then DFA Friedl, any team can take him AND they can option him to a minor league affiliate. It’s much more likely that a team would take him in that scenario as they aren’t bound by all of the Rule 5 constraints.

  3. Optimist

    Sure there’s the 26th man argument for stashing a rule 5 pick, but it remains very difficult and costly for a team to do so. Without researching, I’d expect that less than three make it all the way thru a season.

    Also, much easier for a bad team to coddle a pitcher than a position player.

    He may soar, but I expect Friedl remains a Red a year hence.

  4. RedsKoolAidDrinker

    If your 40 man roster is full, can you draft a guy then DFA someone to open up a spot or do you have to go into the draft below 40?

  5. SaveTheFarm

    The rule 5 selected player has to stay on the MLB roster the entire year or be offered back to original club, right?

    I’m hoping that since he was in AA and coming off injury that he will remain a Red. Considering how much money they gave to sign him it seems crazy just to dangle him out there like that.

    Will we see you walking around at Redsfest Doug?

    • Oldtimer

      Yes. Or he can possibly be on the DL all year. He must stay on 40 man roster, I think.

      • Optimist

        IIRC, any time on the DL for a Rule 5 pick simply extends the time he must stay on the 40-man – IOW, the year on the 40-man can stretch into the next season to make up for DL time the prior year. Point being, between that and a grievance, a team cannot play DL games with Rule 5 picks like they can elsewhere. You really have to commit time to them, particularly if injured.

      • Oldtimer

        Stuart Turner spent of the the season on DL a couple years ago. He was Rule 5 draft pick. Reds kept him in 2019 but let him go after the season.

      • Bill

        If placed on the injured list, player still have to spend at least 90 days on the active (26-man) roster for the acquiring team to retain rights to the drafted player.