Fraga ready to continue chasing dream in Florence

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Former Polk County baseball standout Danny Fraga will rejoin the Florence Freedom this season. (Photo by Andy Rhinehart)

Former Polk County baseball standout Danny Fraga will rejoin the Florence Freedom this season. (Photo by Andy Rhinehart)

Danny Fraga always enjoys being back in Polk County. The wide smile he wore while working out a few days ago with the current Wolverine baseball squad bore testament to that fact.

But Fraga is just as eager to return to the pursuit of his dream of a professional baseball career, to make his way back to Florence, Ky., and a third season in the independent Frontier League with the Florence Freedom.

“It’s a great place. They’re very welcoming and they take care of us really well,” Fraga said. “The last three years, it has been home. Going back there this year and knowing that the nerves don’t really hit you.”

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Florence has been good to Fraga, but the former Polk County standout has been good for the Freedom as well. A Frontier League All-Star in his rookie season, Fraga was a mainstay in 2016 in the Freedom infield at second base, playing in 92 games.

While Fraga’s batting average dipped to .239, his power and speed numbers remained largely the same as in 2015, including his 28 steals that were good for fifth in the league. He also finished in the top five among league second baseman in putouts and assists.

“If anything was really down last year, it was my batting average,” Fraga said. “When you look at all my numbers, extra-base hits and so on, they pretty much match up with my first season.

“I hit a slump, I did. But I worked my way back up. I made a couple of adjustments, and that’s what it takes. You make those adjustments and you put them into action.”

Grinding through that early-season slump also reminded Fraga of the importance of not just the physical aspect of the game, especially when playing 90-plus games in the seven states that field Frontier League teams in three and a half months.

“It’s more about the mental aspect and being consistent,” Fraga said. “It’s putting two and two together and being mentally strong.

“I feel good about going this season. It helps a lot going back to the same team. I know what to expect.”

Fraga will head back to Kentucky in April, with the Frontier League season slated to begin in mid-May.

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