3 Reds players who will surprisingly outperform Joey Votto in 2023
For the first time in long tenure with the Cincinnati Reds, Joey Votto will enter spring training with more questions than answers. The six-time All-Star underwent season-ending surgery in 2022 and his availability for Opening Day is still in question.
Votto, however, has always been one of the most driven and focused players in Major League Baseball. The odds are good that 2010 NL MVP will be back on the field for the first pitch when the Reds battle the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 30th at Great American Ball Park.
But at age 39 and coming off shoulder surgery, it's likely that Votto will not be himself in 2023. Outside of a renaissance season in 2021, Votto has played well below-average the past five seasons. Which three Reds players will surprisingly out perform Joey Votto in 2023?
Reds catcher Curt Casali will surprisingly outperform Joey Votto in 2023.
Surprised?! Yeah, me too. But let's dive into it. The Cincinnati Reds made a significant upgrade to their backup catcher heading into 2023. After watching the platoon of Austin Romine, Mark Kolozsvary, Chuckie Robinson, Aramis Garcia, and Chris Okey fill in for the oft-injured Tyler Stephenson last season, the Reds wisely added two veteran catchers to the 40-man roster.
Curt Casali returns to the Reds after a two-year absence saw the Vanderbilt alum hanging the signs for the San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners. Casali hit just .207/.315/.342 over the past two years and posted an OPS+ of 83. Joey Votto's OPS+ of 87 last season wasn't much better.
Will a return to the Queen City reignite Casali's bat? During his time with the Redlegs, Casali slashed .260/.345/.440 with an OPS+ of 103. During that span, Casali was splititng time behind the dish with Tucker Barnhart.
Heading into 2023, look for Curt Casali to be splitting time with Tyler Stephenson and Luke Maile. Don't be surprised to see Casali get several opportunities to start each week while Stephenson is occupying the DH role or playing first base on occasion. It's not crazy to think that Casali could outperform Votto in 2023.