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Votto Chasing Reds History?

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Not a single person can deny that as of late, Joey Votto is the owner of one hot bat. You could say he’s been carrying not just that hot bat, but the Reds. I’m sure he would completely dismiss that last statement, but we are witnessing something that could ultimately provide a season of historical proportions…but you probably are well aware of that fact.

In case you’re not, I present the following

So far this season, Votto holds the highest WAR among NL position players at 3.7. He also currently leads all of baseball in walks (48), doubles (26), on-base percentage (.484), OPS (1.127), OPS+ (199), and IBB (9). He also leads the NL in SLG (.643). His BA of .362 is currently the NL’s best as well as David Wright of the Mets is hitless so far today.

Here is where things get crazy, and yes, I’m aware that Votto would be hard pressed to keep up the pace in which he is currently performing. Let’s assume Votto-matic can maintain that pace. Too big an assumption? Probably, but play along here. Here’s what we’re looking at for an entire 162 game season with 650 plate appearances. And, yes, the same averages and pace must be maintained.

Split PA AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG TB IBB BAbip
2012 Totals 698 555 106 201 72 27 106 11 134 134 .362 .484 .643 357 25 .434
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2012.

Yes, this is as spectacular as it looks. If Votto ends the season with these projected numbers, we are looking at MLB history. Those 72 doubles would be a new record for that category. Also, in using a simple WAR calculator, this projects out to an insane WAR of 10.4. This also takes into consideration that Votto continues to provide top-notch defense as well. Here’s the Reds historical perspective on this.

That 10.4 WAR would be the highest WAR for a Reds player in a single season since Joe Morgan (yes, Joe Morgan) posted a WAR of 10.8 in 1975. It would rank as the second highest single-season WAR for all Reds players that have amassed at least 1,500 plate appearances. Morgan’s 1975 season is the leader in the clubhouse. It would take something special to surpass that. But, it is possible.

So you think a 10.4 WAR seems a little unrealistic. On some fronts, you are correct. To illustrate that, a WAR of 10.4 would put Votto’s season into the realms of Ted Williams and his 1941 season. Williams had a WAR of 10.1 that year, the last season anyone hit over .400 when the Splendid Splinter hit .406. Actually, we don’t have to go too far back to see a position player post a WAR over 10.0. Barry Bonds posted a WAR over 10.0 in three of the four years in which he won four consecutive NL MVPs. Prior to the Bonds “explosion”, Cal Ripken, Jr. was the last position player to have a WAR over 10.0 when he posted an 11.3 in 1991.

We’ll tone it down and use Votto’s career averages, again, projected to 162 games and 650 plate appearances. Here’s what you get.

Year PA AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG TB IBB
162 Game Avg. 681 582 98 184 43 31 105 10 92 126 .317 .412 .558 324 12
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/10/2012.

Not included in this table which is in the previous one is that Votto’s career BAbip is .358. Even that is crazy.

Even with these numbers and all the other variables brought into play from the first example, Votto’s 2012 WAR projects to 7.2. That would be a career high for him. His highest was in his MVP year of 2010 when his WAR was 6.7.

Even with that potential 7.2 in mind, it would be the highest single-season WAR by a Reds player since Jose Rijo owned a WAR of 9.8 back in 1993. You have to go back even more to find a position player with a WAR that high. Eric Davis did such in 1987 when his WAR was 7.7.

In looking at the projections at the current pace and comparing them to Votto’s career averages, you have to believe that he will finish 2012 with a WAR higher than 7.2.

Surely even Votto can’t keep up this pace for the rest of the season. Or can he?

Many other factors will come into play to see if Votto can can approach and even surpass his 2012 season. He is taking us on one whale of a ride.

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Tags: Baseball Cincinnati Reds Joey Votto MLB

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