Position Review: First Was the Best

Starting with this post, I will be looking back at each of the separate positions and their performance from 2011. On some aspects, I will be a little more on the stern side compared to last year.

To start things off, we’ll look at first base and the 2010 MVP Joey Votto.

The reason only Votto is listed is that he started all but two games. Sometimes, the overwork did show and manager Dusty Baker did try to give him a day off. I’m thinking that plan wasn’t as successful as Baker would have liked. If you look at his numbers from the first half and the last month as Votto struggled to a .236 batting average.

Like in 2010, Votto led the National League in a couple of categories. This past season, he led the NL in doubles (40), walks (110), and on-base percentage (.416). Votto also ranked in the top 10 in a few other stats:

  • 5th in batting average (.309)
  • 6th in RBI (103)
  • 9th in slugging (.531)
  • 5th in OPS (.947)
  • 5th in runs scored (101)
  • 4th in total bases (318)

A nice follow-up season to his 2010 NL MVP campaign. It might be a bit of a surprise that Votto ranked so high in slugging and OPS considering the fall off in home runs. But here’s why Votto’s 2011 might be even better than his 2010.

Most people think of GABP as a launching pad, right? Well, Votto posted better numbers away from the home of the Reds…

These splits are pretty much in line to what Votto posted in 2010.

While it’s a given that Votto will not be in the running for the 2011 NL MVP or the Hank Aaron Award, there’s a shot we see him snag his first Gold Glove. Some feel he should have won it last year. Defensive stats are not as honed in as offensive stats are, but they are progressing. If you are one that does put stock into some of those, here’s a peek at Votto’s.

  • Putouts: 1,341 (1st in NL)
  • Assists for 1B: 173 (1st in NL)
  • Fielding %: .996 (3rd in NL)
  • RF/9: 9.54 (5th in NL)
  • RF/G: 9.46 (2nd in NL)
  • *RF represents range factor

A couple of items in heading to 2012. One is that we are already hearing the rumblings about trading Votto. “Get excellent value while we can” talk. While one Seattle Mariners blog loves a potential deal (with Michael Pineda as the centerpiece), Redleg Nation doesn’t. I’m not in favor of a deal…for now. I do reserve the right to change my mind (as I am subject to do).

We also heard about Votto being involved in a position switch. Votto is a Gold Glove caliber first baseman. If he switches positions (to either 3B or LF), there’s a chance (a chance now) that the Reds actually are worse off defensively at two positions instead of one. Votto may not be the LF all the others are. He may actually be better, but the Reds will not be better defensively at first. To me, that’s a given.

Getting a bat into the lineup (aka Yonder Alonso) is one thing. Moving a potential GG guy is foolish. Albert Pujols played two different positions before “settling in” at first. How did that work out for the Cards?

2011 grade: A-. Why the “-“, you ask? Two reasons. I know I stated my grading was tougher than last year (I gave the Reds 1B an A last season). Votto’s last month of the season. The other: super-sub Miguel Cairo. He’s not figured in this year’s grade.