Press No. 2 Sports Story of 2011: Frenzel goes from cacti to Cyclones
Editor's Note: The Dickinson Press' Top 10 sports stories of 2011 countdown continues through Dec. 31. Each story in the countdown will be presented as a column with the reporter's take on why the story was impactful this year.
Cole Frenzel is living the dream he always wanted.
After a successful high school career, Frenzel spent the next two years honing his craft at the University of Arizona, playing in the Pac-10 against some of the best college baseball players in the country.
On June 8, Frenzel learned he would be playing against the best players in the world. He joined the New York Mets organization after the team drafted him in the seventh round. Frenzel's whirlwind year is The Dickinson Press' No. 2 Sports Story of 2011.
One month after he was drafted, Frenzel signed with Mets. The 2009 Dickinson High School graduate left the Arizona Wildcats where he finished with a .346 batting average, which ranked second in the Pac-10.
Frenzel posted 48 RBI, 48 runs scored, 15 doubles and three home runs, while starting all 60 games as a sophomore. The Wildcats went on a postseason run, reaching the NCAA tournament regionals, but lost to Texas A&M in their regional finals.
"It's hard to go away from school like that, especially with how great Arizona was," Frenzel said in a July 8 article in The Press. "It was nothing but a great experience for me."
From Arizona, Frenzel traveled to St. Lucie, Fla., the home of the Mets spring training facility and the advanced Class A Port St. Lucie Mets.
After arriving in St. Lucie, it didn't take long for Frenzel to meet some of the New York Mets' top players. Frenzel met Johan Santana, all-star starting pitcher and ace of the staff, all-star third baseman David Wright and all-star shortstop Jose Reyes.
"The minute you learn they aren't that different from you, they are the same way, they've just mastered their skills," Frenzel said in a Nov. 25 article in The Press. "He (Wright) is a really nice guy. Same with Jose Reyes and Johan Santana, who gave me rides home from the park all the time."
Once Frenzel was done with a crash course on what it takes to be a major league baseball player, he was sent to New York.
Brooklyn, to be specific.
The 6-foot-2, 208-pound first baseman's professional career started with the Class A short season Brooklyn Cyclones. It didn't take long from him to learn the daily grind.
"It's fun," Frenzel said in an Aug. 21 article in The Press. "All you have to do is play baseball. It's pretty much like college, except you play every single day."
Frenzel finished his first professional season with a .238 batting average, 20 RBI and one home run in 43 games. Though, the numbers weren't quite as flashy as the numbers he put up during the college season, it doesn't seem to bother him.
"A lot people say, 'Don't even look at your stats,'" Frenzel said in a Nov. 25 article in the Press. "For me personally, I learned a lot and I developed as a player. That first year coming in is just getting your feet wet and learning the system."
Not only was Frenzel able to get his first professional season under his belt, but his team reached the playoffs. The Cyclones made a run at the end of the season to make the playoffs, but lost to the eventual New York-Penn League champions Staten Island Yankees in the first round.
Though Frenzel's professional baseball career has just started, he is proud to have the support of Dickinson behind him.
"The support this town has given me is unbelievable," Frenzel said in a Nov. 25 article in the Press. "It makes a difference too, knowing that your whole town is rooting for you. It makes you want to work that much harder. At the same time, you have to stay humble and work hard."
McGregor is a sports reporter for The Dickinson Press. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/SirRoyal.