Baseball players go through slumps and have down years. The best of those players bounce back and some even thrive. Joey Votto is primed for a “bounce back” season with the Cincinnati Reds.
Many hitters in Major League Baseball strive for a slash line of .287/.417/.419 and some might even consider that a career-year. Those players don’t have the same measuring stick as Cincinnati Reds‘ first baseman Joey Votto. Votto’s career slash line of .311/.427/.530 puts players into the Hall of Fame discussion.
All across baseball you’ve heard rumblings, and several media outlets and personalities have talked about Joey Votto’s decline and whether he could ever regain the form that landed him an MVP crown in 2010. Wait, are we talking about the same guy who was second in the NL MVP voting as recently as 2017 and probably should’ve won the award that year? Yes, we are talking about that guy.
For a number of years now, Votto has been the perennial All-Star and MVP-caliber rock in the Cincinnati Reds lineup while the team bounced in and out of rebuild mode. There were struggles with on-base percentage at the top of the lineup, lack of consistent power options behind him, and young or developing players in the lineup.
At some point, any player could tire from being “the guy” on a bad team. You’ve seen it across baseball, basketball, football, and other sports over the years. However, Votto continues to put up .300-plus batting averages, 25-plus home runs, 100-plus RBIs, garner MVP votes, and do his job every day.
Fast forward to Spring Training this year. The lineup has been revamped with a mixture of returning youth and veteran talent. I’ve even seen speculation that the Cincinnati Reds may be one of the best offenses in the National League. There are certainly still question marks about the acquisitions and how they’ll acclimate to the team, how the lineup will be set, and how the new staff will handle the mix of youth and veterans.
One thing new manager David Bell doesn’t have to worry about, however, is Joey Votto’s production. He’ll be Joey again, getting on base, making clutch hits, and delivering RBIs. Will he rebound with an MVP-caliber season? I think he will. Nothing can invigorate a veteran player who’s been in bad lineups like major league talent from top to bottom in the batting order.
As for Joey Votto, I anticipate he’ll be back to slashing around .300/.420/.500 this season. He won’t lead the team in home runs (Yasiel Puig and Eugenio Suárez will likely battle that one out), but Votto will be on base all the time, enjoying being in a talented lineup and driving pitchers crazy with his ability to put the bat on even their best pitches. The Cincinnati Reds, with an MVP-level Joey Votto, will be a dangerous team in 2019.