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Cincinnati Reds links, 6/1/15 - Todd Frazier isn't just good, he's a star

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Monday links!

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Off days are the worst.  I thought that's what Winter was for.

Since the beginning of the 2014 season, Todd Frazier has been the 6th most valuable position player in all of baseball, according to FanGraphs.  His 45 dingers in that time are the 5th most in the game, and his 122 runs scored over that period rank 8th in the game.  In fact, since the start of the 2012 season - Frazier's rookie year - Todd's 13.6 fWAR ranks just marginally behind Joey Votto's 14.2 for the most among Reds players in that span.  Only Josh Donaldson (9.7 fWAR) has been more valuable in the last two seasons at the hot corner than Todd (7.8 fWAR), and that comes in the midst of a 3B renaissance that features the likes of Matt Carpenter, Nolan Arenado, Pablo Sandoval, Adrian Beltre, Kyle Seager, and Anthony Rendon, among others.  What I'm getting at, I guess, is that it's high time to concede that the Reds don't just have a really good 3B in Todd Frazier, they have a legitimate star in Todd Frazier.  How they choose to handle him and his contract during this near unavoidable rebuild/retool may be the single biggest thing worth watching for Reds fans over the next 2+ seasons.

Ken Rosenthal took a look at the current status of the bevy of big-name pitchers slated to reach free agency after the 2015 season, and current (and former) Cincinnati Reds hurlers Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Mat Latos each get a mention.  Bowtie McFunnypants noted that each of those three have seen their stock drop in recent weeks - Cueto due to his elbow issue, Latos due to his knee-driven DL stint, and Leake due to a horrible case of dingeritis - but they account for just a fraction of the big name hurlers set to hit the market this fall.  Walt Jocketty has made a habit of doling out large contracts to homegrown Reds and rarely entering the upper-tiers of the free agent market, but one does have to wonder if he may explore other pitching options this off-season if neither Leake nor Cueto get extensions.  There will certainly be ample options out there to augment a young rotation in 2016 should he choose to pursue that route.

In other national scribe news, Yahoo's Jeff Passan broke down the top names that currently profile as mid-2015 trade bait, and both Cueto and Aroldis Chapman make the list.  It's nothing we haven't yapped about at Red Reporter time and time again as the two talented arms barrel ever closer to being on the market, but it's one more clear sign that the rest of the baseball world is well aware of their availability, too.  Sweeping the Washington Nationals was nice, but it'll take a hoo-ha lot more winning before Chapman and Cueto don't headline nearly every trade bait piece nationwide for the next two months.

Old friend of the blog JinAZ tracked down former Reds farmhand Ben Lively's statistics with his new parent club, the Philadelphia Phillies, and couldn't help but notice his 2015 slide.  Lively, of course, was flipped for Marlon Byrd last off-season, and that came on the heels of a breakout 2014 across two levels.  At the time, it seemed like the Reds were bailing on one of their more talented young arms, but Lively's struggle to replicate last season paired with the trio of exciting rookies currently in the Reds' big league rotation has certainly quelled those fears of late.

Over at The Enquirer, C. Trent Rosecrans broke down the Reds pitching numbers in the recently completed May slate of games.  It's an interesting breakdown of one of the more disappointing months of the last few years.

And finally, Joey Votto doesn't just walk often, he walks early, too.  So early, in fact, that he doesn't even sit around and wait for ball four.