The 2021 season has been a special one for No. 19. Joey Votto recorded his 2,000th hit last night as the Cincinnati Reds pummeled the Chicago Cubs by a final score of 14-5. Votto, 37, has been the best player in Major League Baseball since the All-Star break, and frankly, it’s not even close.
Votto hadn’t seen much success at the plate over the past few seasons. After nearly winning his second NL MVP in 2017, Votto went to his sixth All-Star Game in 2018, but finished with his lowest OPS (.837) since 2014 when he played in only 62 games.
That was, until 2019 when Votto’s career appeared to be on the decline. In his age 35 season, Votto hit just .261, drew the fewest number of walks (76) since his injury-shortened season of 2014, and posted a career-worst 94 OPS+.
Last season, one that can easily be dismissed since the schedule only allowed for 60 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Votto hit .226/.354/.446 with 11 home runs and 22 RBIs. This season, however, we’ve seen Joey Votto show that age is only a number, and the former MVP is squarely in the hunt for his second NL MVP trophy.
No player has been hotter than the Reds’ Joey Votto since the All-Star break.
We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves. Since the All-Star break, no player in Major League Baseball can hold a candle to Joey Votto. The six-time All-Star is hitting .339/.434/.798 since the Midsummer Classic. Only Juan Soto, who’s posted a 1.219 OPS since the All-Star break, is even within earshot of Votto.
Surprisingly, Votto’s slugging percentage (.798) since the All-Star is better than Soto, Bryce Harper, Randy Arozarena, and Jorge Polanco. His 15 home runs since the break outpace every single player in Major League Baseball by a wide margin. Austin Riley is second with 11 round trippers.
Not only is Votto racking up base hits and hitting the ball with power, but he’s also driving in runs. Votto’s 36 RBIs since the All-Star break lead all of MLB with Teoscar Hernandez of the Toronto Blue Jays occupying second-place with 33 RBIs.
You want more crazy stats that speak to the ridiculous nature of Joey Votto’s second-half surge? Check out Baseball Savant where Votto is in the Top 5% in MLB in average exit velocity, xwOBA, barrel-rate, and xSLG. About the only blemish on Votto’s resumé this season is his defense, where he scores -2 outs above average. Though that’s an improvement over last seasons -4 OAA.
No player, since Barry Larkin retired in 2004, has brought more to the city of Cincinnati than Joey Votto. One of the more polarizing players in Cincinnati Reds history, the 37-year-old has fans flocking to Great American Ball Park and his play on the field combined with his leadership in the clubhouse have the Cincinnati Reds in search of back-to-back postseason berths.