Does Scott Rolen's Hall of Fame election signify a difficult road ahead for Joey Votto?
After six years on the ballot, former Cincinnati Reds third baseman Scott Rolen was finally elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Rolen received 76.3% of the vote, narrowly crossing the 75% threshold necessary for enshrinement in Cooperstown.
Former Reds pitcher and a teammate of Rolen, Bronson Arroyo, was also on the ballot. The first-timer received just one vote, and will no longer be eligible for a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Players must receive at least 5% in order to be part of the process again the following year.
The election of Rolen was warranted, as the 17-year veteran was part of the St. Louis Cardinals team that won the World Series in 2006. Rolen was also the NL Rookie of the Year in 1997 and has many other accolades to his Hall of Fame resumé. But if it took Rolen six times to finally receive the call, how long will Joey Votto have to wait?
How long will Joey Votto have to wait until being elected to the Hall of Fame?
There are some fans of the Cincinnati Reds who will find this question utterly absurd. There are also those throughout Reds Country who don't believe that Joey Votto is a Hall of Famer to begin with. Votto's Hall of Fame candidacy will certainly be something to watch once he finally hangs up his cleats.
Votto is in the final guaranteed year of his contract with the Reds. Cincinnati maintains a $20M team-option for 2024, but many are skeptical that the club will actually retain Votto beyond the 2023 season. At 39 years old, Votto is certainly in the twilight of his career.
One look at a comparison of offensive statistics between Rolen and Votto will see an obvious slant toward the current Reds first baseman. Rolen has a career slash line of .297/.412/.513 with 342 home runs and 1,106 RBIs. Rolen hit .281/.364/.490 throughout his career and posted 316 round trippers and recorded 1,287.
However, when it comes to individual awards, Votto falls a little short. Votto is a six-time All-Star and has one Gold Glove to his name, despite the fact he's been little more than an average defender throughout his career. Votto, of course, has the 2010 NL MVP to his name as well. Rolen went to the Midsummer Classic seven times and also has eight Gold Gloves in his trophy case.
The new school approach also looks at statistics like wins above replacement. Rolen's bWAR (70.1) is considerably higher than Votto's (64.3), but of course Votto still has at least one more season of baseball left to play.
Votto also led the league in walks on five separate occasions and was the league-leader in on-base percentage six times. Votto came in second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2008 and has five Top 6 finishes for the NL MVP Award.
In the end, Joey Votto is unlikely to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but if Scott Rolen's resumé was enough to earn a trip to Cooperstown on his sixth try, one can assume that Votto will get in as well.