Don't let Joey Votto's batting average distract you from other key statistics

Joey Votto may not have an impressive batting average, but that doesn't tell the entire story.

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto
Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages

Upon his return from the 60-day IL following shoulder and biceps surgery last August, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto began his 2023 season with three home runs in his first four games.

And just as looked like the notoriously slow-starting Votto was about to silence all the doubters, the six-time All-Star went 20 at-bats without recording a hit.

His batting average dropped all the way down to .154 on the season. and there were calls from Reds fans to bench Votto in favor of the up-and-coming youngsters. While still a valuable tool for evaluating performance, batting average doesn't tell the whole story.

Don't let Joey Votto's batting average distract you from other key statistics.

Joey Votto's batting average, which jumped to .205 after his three-hit night versus the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, may cause his this season's outlook to appear grim, but his slugging percentage, OPS, and a few advanced statistics show otherwise.

The Reds first baseman has slugged five home runs in less than 60 at-bats. This has led to a gaudy .545 slugging percentage through his first 13 games. His OPS is closing in on .900 which would come close to matching his career-average.

Votto has seen a ton of hard-hit balls driven directly to an opposing defender. His barrel-rate is sitting above 20% according to Baseball Savant, which would be career-best if he can maintain that through the 2023 season.

If Votto had enough qualifying ABs, with his current barrel-rate, the former NL MVP would rank fifth in the majors, trailing only Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo, Matt Olson and Patrick Wisdom.

While lower in the batting order, the Cincinnati Reds are continuing to trust in Joey Votto. His production is bound to improve as time goes on, but don't get too caught up in those numbers.

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