Cincinnati Reds rely on Joey Votto to carry the offense

(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /

For the Cincinnati Reds to excel in 2018, first baseman Joey Votto must carry the team.

There is no secret who has to be the best player on the Cincinnati Reds in 2018.  For the past several seasons Votto has been the second best offensive player only to Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout.  For the Reds to succeed in 2018 Votto has to be the best player in the National League, but unfortunately, he is due for a regression.

It is easy to get seduced by the youth of Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler.  They both seem to be on a power upswing.  That though doesn’t mean much if players don’t get on base around them.

It is easy to get seduced by the power of the slightly older duo of Adam Duvall and Scooter Gennett.  Duvall is a true slugger, but has been one dimensional offensively for most of his time with the Reds.  Gennett, meanwhile, hit more home runs than his metrics suggest.

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Of course, there is also the pitching that has been a weak spot for the past few years.  The Reds cannot expect too much out of the pitching staff.  The starting rotation just needs to be decent to be much improved.

With so many players close to their ceiling, the Cincinnati Reds need Joey Votto to carry the load.

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Last year Votto lead MLB in OBP at .454.  He also led MLB with 134 walks.  He beat out Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins for the National League lead in OPS as well.

The rest of team should step up a little bit.  Duvall should continue to hit for power.  Suarez and Schebler should each be a little better.

Votto, though, must come close to doing what he did last year for the improvement of the rest of the team to mean anything.  Votto must lead MLB in OBP again.  That is the top priority.

Votto has to continue to show his power.  A top ten finish in the NL in slugging is another must.  A top five finish would be meaningful.

With Stanton gone to the New York Yankees, Votto must lead the NL in OPS.  There are not many players that will challenge him if he hits his OBP goal.  This is what Votto must do for the Reds to be competitive in 2018.

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If the Reds don’t compete, it likely won’t be Votto’s fault.  If he isn’t himself this season, though, they don’t stand a chance.  He earns the big bucks and needs to produce like it even if he doesn’t pay any attention to it.