Cincinnati Reds: Five players to be thankful for heading into next season

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 05: Jose Peraza #9 of the Cincinnati Reds is greeted at home plate by Joey Votto #19 and Scooter Gennett #3 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 5, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 05: Jose Peraza #9 of the Cincinnati Reds is greeted at home plate by Joey Votto #19 and Scooter Gennett #3 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 5, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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ST. LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 2: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds bats in a run with a sacrifice fly ball against the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning at Busch Stadium on September 2, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

3. Joey Votto, First baseman

Even during a down year, Joey Votto finds a way to lead the National League in on-base percentage. Votto is a tactician at the plate and fans of the Cincinnati Reds should be thankful every day they get to see one of the greatest hitters of his generation step into the batter’s box.

Votto did not play up to his standards last season and he’d be the first one to tell you that. The power numbers were not there, as he hit only 12 home runs in 2018 after sending 36 out of the yard in 2017. Votto slashed .284/.417/.419 in 2018. Not too bad for the 35-year old.

But, not too bad is not good enough for Votto. Reds fans expect Votto to lead the NL in on-base percentage, as he’s now done it seven times. Reds fans also expect Votto to be in the MVP conversation, as he has been during 6 of his 12 seasons in Cincinnati.

Read. Top 5 Reds MVP seasons

An injury to his right knee did not help his struggles during the 2018 season. After being intentionally hit in the knee by Nationals pitcher Ryan Madson, Votto tried to gut out a handful of games before eventually landing on the DL for several games.

I for one fully expect Votto to return to form in 2019. Votto was in contention for the MVP in 2017 and arguably should’ve won the award. That kind of talent doesn’t just disappear over a winter. Reds fans should expect Votto return to his normal self in 2019.

With a .400-plus OBP, I’d love to see new manager David Bell bat Votto in the No. 2 hole. With the power bats of Eugenio Suárez, Scooter Gennett, and Jesse Winker hitting behind him, Votto could lead the club in runs scored next year.

Votto’s contract has been questioned over the years, but his talent never has. Reds fans have had the pleasure to watch Votto’s mastery at the plate over the past 12 seasons and 2019 will be no different. Every Cincinnati Reds fan should count their blessings each time they get to watch Votto at the plate.