Three players have recently received enough votes to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Once his career is finished, will Cincinnati Reds first baseman, Joey Votto be enshrined along side the games’ greats?
Joey Votto has been a constant staple for the Cincinnati Reds since he made his debut against the New York Mets on September 4, 2007. Votto played in just 24 games in the 2007 season but took over the role of the everyday first baseman in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced the three newest members of the illustrious award last week. Ivan Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell, and Tim Raines will be enshrined in the festivities held on July 30th. With the newest class announced, it got me thinking of current Cincinnati Reds who could possibly be Inducted into the Hall of Fame one day. Joey Votto makes the best case, as a perennial MVP candidate.
Numbers Never Lie
Joey Votto has been a major leaguer for 10 seasons. The Reds have signed Votto to a 10 Year/$225 Million contract, putting him under contract until 2023 with a 2024 team option. Votto is set to turn 34 this year. If he plays out his contract, he will become a free agent at the age of 40 years old. Votto is playing out his golden years right now. With a .313 career batting average to this point, as well as a career OBP of .425, Votto has established himself as a threat to get on base while at the plate. The Canadian was a four time consecutive MLB All-Star from 2010-2013. Adding an NL MVP in 2010 as well as a Gold Glove Award in 2011, Votto has had his fair share of accomplishments.
In Comparison to Other Hall of Famers
Let’s compare Joey Votto to recent Hall of Fame Inductee and fellow first baseman, Jeff Bagwell. When you compare hitting statistics, Bagwell’s 15 years of professional baseball are pretty impressive. With a career batting average of .297 and 449 career home runs, Jeff Bagwell was a feared hitter. Bagwell notched 488 doubles in his career as compared to Votto’s 310. Votto has also only managed to hit 221 balls out of the park so far in his career.
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Bagwell adds a Rookie of the Year award in 1991, as well as 4 All-Star appearances. He also earned an NL MVP award in 1994. Along with one Gold Glove award and 3 Silver Slugger awards, Jeff Bagwell had built himself a great Hall of Fame resume.
Joey Votto has been great for the Cincinnati Reds in his career. Unfortunately, the Reds in his tenure have not been a very good team. Sometimes, playing on a mediocre team, can be a hinderance to a great player’s statistics. MVP awards do not go to players on teams finishing 5th in their division. Votto at this point in his career has bested Jeff Bagwell in a couple of offensive categories. The Reds’ first baseman’s OBP (.425) is higher than Bagwell’s career OBP of .408. The Houston Astros’ great also posted a career batting average that is 16 points lower than Votto’s. On the other hand, Bagwell also had 2314 hits in his 15 years. Votto, so far, has managed 1404 hits.
Baseball writers voted Jeff Bagwell into the Hall of Fame with 86.2% of the vote. Bagwell’s percentage bested each of his two fellow inductees. If the voters believe that Jeff Bagwell is worthy of a Hall of Fame spot, Joey Votto has a great chance to make it to Cooperstown.
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A few things need to happen in order for Joey to feel more confident in his chances. Votto needs to keep hitting the ball with power. I look for the Canadian to hit anywhere from 120-150 more homers in his career possibly putting him over the 350 mark. Votto also needs to keep hitting for average. Joey needs an impressive career batting average to boost his value due to the lack of total home runs. His OBP is tremendous and Votto has shown great patience at the plate. This needs to continue for the next 5-7 seasons or so. Hall of Famer Frank Thomas’ career OBP was .419 and his batting average was .301. Both of those numbers are lower than Joey Votto’s current totals.
For Joey Votto to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, there cannot be a drop in production. He cannot afford an injury plagued season from now until retirement. Keep doing what you do best Joey, and hit the ball in the gap. Rack up the RBI’s and snag a few extra over there at first, earning you another Gold Glove or two. Get 180 hits each season the rest of your career and play until you’re 42 to show you can still produce.
Votto has already done enough to be a Hall of Famer
If his career ended after last season, I don’t think anyone would object to calling Votto a Hall of Famer. But if Votto can maintain his current productivity, plus add a little more to his resume in terms of All-Star bids and extra individual awards, the Reds will add another Hall of Famer to their list.