Will Joey Votto surpass Johnny Bench for the most HRs in Reds history?

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 04: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds on the field. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 04: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds on the field. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Joey Votto, on his 38th birthday, hit his 30th home run of the season and passed Frank Robinson for the second-most round trippers in Cincinnati Reds history. Could Votto break Johnny Bench’s team record of 389 career home runs?

As we sit here today on September 11, 2021, Votto trails Bench by 64 home runs. The former MVP has two more guaranteed years on his contract and a $20M team-option for the 2024 season with a $7M buyout.

If Votto, who missed a month of the season with a broken thumb, is able to stay healthy for the next two seasons, there’s an outside chance that the six-time All-Star could break Bench’s team record.

Reds first baseman Joey Votto has found renewed power this season.

Votto still bangs! That’s what his Baseball Savant page indicates this season, anyway. Votto ranks among the best in the league in average exit velocity, max exit velocity, hard-hit percentage, xSLG, and barrel percentage. The bottom line, if you want to clear the fences, you’ve got to hit the ball hard. Joey Votto has done that this season.

The question is, can he keep doing that over the next two seasons? Honestly, he’s given no indication that he can’t. After two subpar seasons in 2018 and 2019, glimpses of the old Joey Votto began to emerge over the second-half of the abbreviated 2020 season.

After being nowhere the best in the league in average exit velocity, Votto ranked among the Top 8% in the league last season. This season, with an average exit velocity of 114.1 MPH, Votto’s in the Top 8% once again.

Votto is hitting .269/.369/.553 with 30 home runs and 87 RBIs. Votto’s slugging percentage is his personal best since he was robbed of his second NL MVP during the 2017 season. The Reds first baseman is a serious contender for the NL MVP. Though it’s doubtful he’ll take home the trophy for a second-time, Votto will likely finish among the Top 5.

Joey Votto could become the Reds all-time leader in HRs.

Joey Votto’s had a renaissance season of sorts in 2021. Can he keep it up? That will ultimately determine whether or not the Cincinnati Reds’ first baseman will top Johnny Bench for most career home runs in team history.

If Votto can stay healthy and maintain his level of production, it’s quite probable that he could surpass Bench for most round trippers in Reds’ history. Perhaps the biggest advantage Votto could have in the coming seasons may be the likely inclusion of the designated hitter in the NL.

Votto has shown that he can still pick it at first base. But, if over the next couple of seasons the Reds decide to find the future Hall of Famer’s replacement, Votto could become the team’s designated hitter.

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While it may seem a bit premature to speak about Joey Votto becoming the Cincinnati Reds all-time leader in home runs, after what we’ve seen from the former MVP this season, it’s a very real possibility.