The second half of the season has seen Colton Frabasilio stay on the active roster for High-A Wilmington, though it hadn’t meant more playing time. Until now.
With the injury to catcher Chase Vallot, Frabasilio has seen his playing time increase. He caught his first game of the season on July 15th, when he entered as a defensive replacement. Since then, he has caught five more times (out of the last six games he has played) and has gotten better each time out.
“I haven’t caught too much this year,” Frabasilio said after Saturday night’s game. “But it’s natural for me, so it’s not too out of the ordinary when I get back there. I get a lot of reps in the ‘pen, so it stays fresh in my mind.”
On Saturday night, he threw out two base stealers and could have gotten a third if not for an error on the catch at second base.
“He blocked the ball well, threw two guys out, made another good throw that got away from [shortstop] Jecksson Flores, but I thought he did a very good job tonight behind the plate,” said Blue Rocks manager Jamie Quirk following Saturday night’s win.
“It’s mental toughness,” Quirk continued. “He knew the situation, he was active and not active. He was always the 25th, 26th guy and he had to mentally grind through it and wait for his shot. Now he is getting it and he is going to get more playing time with Vallot on the DL. Credit to him for hanging in there. Obviously this wasn’t the way it was drawn up for him, but you never know in this game when your shot is going to be and you have to be ready for it when you get.”
Quirk mentioned staying mentally tough, so what does Frabasilio due to stay mentally tough? “I try to keep everything simple, for just my peace of mind. If I get too caught up in results and stuff like that, which all of us do, it kind of wears on you. Just doing every day things like going out and getting some food with friends.”
Frabasilio has gotten the chance to catch in games more regularly of late, but he has also caught a ton of bullpen sessions this season. What has it been like to catch this Blue Rocks pitching staff that currently ranks third in the Carolina League in ERA (3.46)?
“It’s pretty cool because they’re good. We had [Richard] Lovelady, who is one of the best minor league relievers this year. We got new guys and they’re all falling into place and it’s fun to see how everyone is kind of transforming into what they could be. Catching you get to see firsthand because you’re right there catching the pitches. It’s fun to see those guys do well.”
Frabasilio is also coming up with some big at-bats, like in Saturday night’s win. The Blue Rocks won 3-1 and he drove in two runs with a double. He has just two doubles on the season and nine RBIs.
In the first half, Frabasilio was placed on the DL twice (though he was not hurt) and “sent” to extended spring training for a few weeks (though he never left Wilmington). He played in just 15 first half games, mostly as the DH or at first base.
“It has been rough, mentally for sure,” Frabasilio said about being the odd man out. “Going on the DL a couple of times wasn’t easy because you want to play so bad. But once you get your opportunity, you’ve got to take advantage of it, especially in professional baseball because those windows are a little short sometimes, especially for certain people. I’m just trying to do the most with mine.”
Hopefully Frabasilio continues to progress over the last month of the season because the Blue Rocks will need him for their playoff push.
You can watch the entire video with Frabasilio below: