Joey Votto’s Stats Put Him in Elite Company


If you follow the Reds on a daily basis (and if you’re reading this blog, you likely do), you know that virtually no one can get first baseman Joey Votto out right now. But it seems like many Reds fans still don’t know just how good Votto has been since the All-Star break. Well, I’m here to show you. I’m not a huge stats geek, but when it comes to his MVP-caliber numbers in the second half of the season, it’s hard not to be amazed.

Votto’s hitting .316/.457/.567 on the season with 27 home runs, 70 RBI and an OPS of 1.025. He’s reached base in 22 consecutive games. He’s on pace for his highest batting average and OBP since 2012, a year in which he probably would’ve won MVP if he hadn’t hurt his knee. In the month of August alone, Votto hit .314 and walked 38 times in 124 plate appearances despite the Reds winning only eight games. During their nine-game losing streak, he continued to hit, batting .379/.550/.862 with five doubles and three home runs.

His stats for the entire season are largely because in the 45 games since the All-Star break, his average is .399. Even more impressive is that his on-base percentage in those 45 games is an astounding .576, 123 points better than the next hitter in all of baseball. This is due to the fact that he leads Major League Baseball in walks with 116. Most of those walks have come in the second half. Pre-All-Star break, Votto had 57 walks in 85 games. Post-All-Star break, he’s already walked 59 times.

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It’s rare that players get on base more than 50 percent of the time, but that’s exactly what Votto is doing in the second half. Currently, Votto is seventh all-time in OBP by a player in either the first or second half of the season. The only two players ahead of Votto are Barry Bonds and Ted Williams. That’s some selective company.

I could go on and on about Votto’s advanced stats, based on what I saw on Baseball Reference and Fangraphs, but I won’t do that. I’ll just give you an example from this past week that shows how well Votto has been hitting. This past Monday against the Chicago Cubs, Joe Maddon intentionally walked him to load the bases with only one out. The only other players I can remember getting that treatment are Bonds and Albert Pujols. Of course, Maddon’s plan backfired as Brandon Phillips came through with a two-run single. Then, in Wednesday’s game, Maddon was faced with the same situation in the ninth, only with two outs. He decided to have his closer pitch to Votto. Joey promptly hit a bomb to left center field for a three-run home run. However an opposing manager pitches to Votto right now, it’s probably not going to work.

Earlier this season, Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman said on air that Votto was not an elite player, a statement that seemed asinine then and seems even more asinine now. Sorry, Marty, you were wrong then and now those comments just make you look more wrong. According to Fangraphs, Votto’s WAR of 6.5 is second among all NL hitters, behind only Bryce Harper. Votto is a legitimate MVP candidate and he’ll probably be one of the top three vote-getters when it’s all said and done. Unfortunately, he won’t win MVP, but with his numbers, he should win NL Comeback Player of the Year.

So, if you’re thinking about turning all your attention to football over this last month of the season, don’t do it completely. Joseph Daniel Votto is worth watching, even when he plays for a team that isn’t going anywhere.

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