Cincinnati Reds’ first baseman Joey Votto is the best in the NL

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

After getting off to a slow start, Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto rebounded to have the best offensive year of any National League first baseman.

The Cincinnati Reds have the NL’s best offensive first baseman, regardless of the outcome of their season.  It’s a fun year to be a Joey Votto fan.  He has an outside chance at the MVP award.  Without a shadow of a doubt, Votto had the best offensive year of any NL first baseman.

The first surprising fact is that only eight players qualified for the batting title while playing first this season.  The only person who qualified from the NL East was Freddie Freeman of the lowly Atlanta Braves.  He probably had the third or fourth best season in the league, but that is a blog for another site.

Votto’s main competition comes from perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt.  Goldschmidt once again had over 30 steals and 20 home runs.  He’s a 20-20 player in an era when that feat is becoming more rare.  Of course, fellow NL West member, Wil Myers of the San Diego Padres also hit the 20-20 line.  Neither of them matched Votto’s hitting prowess, however.

Votto finished the season with a .434 OBP and a .985 OPS.  That’s good for first among first basemen in the NL and tied for first in the NL overall with his primary MVP competition, Washington Nationals’ second baseman, Daniel Murphy.  In fact the only two players than the NL duo are retiring Boston Red Sox DH, David Ortiz, and the face of baseball, Mike Trout.  Votto is that good.

More from Joey Votto

As good as his season was in 2016, it looks even better when just the second half is examined.

In the second half Votto beat out Freeman and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers for the best OPS in MLB.  He had an OPS of 1.1.58.  That is approaching the Barry Bonds range.  That solidly puts him in first place among first basemen.

He’s better than just that, too.  He led baseball with 107 hits after the All-Star break.  More impressively, he led MLB in OBP with a .490 pace.  That means he reached base 49% of the time he batted in the second half of the season.  Only the Mr. Subway himself, Mike Trout, joined Votto with an OBP number above .450 in the second half.

Next: Adam Duvall has breakout season for Cincinnati Reds

Want your voice heard? Join the Blog Red Machine team!

Write for us!

So Votto would be the best offensive player in the NL, save Daniel Murphy’s great first half.  As it is, Votto is among the top four best offensive players in baseball, despite playing for one of the worst teams in the game.  That’s something else he and Trout have in common.