Are the Reds finally grooming a successor for Joey Votto at first base?
By Drew Koch
If there's been one constant complaint among Reds fans for the past several years it's been their frustrations with what appears to be a lack of planning on the part of the Cincinnati front office to find an eventual successor for Joey Votto.
It's a fair criticism, and carried a lot more weight prior to last season when Votto appeared to revive his career by hitting .266/.375/.563 while smashing 36 home runs and racking up 99 RBIs.
Votto has been sidelined of late with a back issue, but it does not appear to be serious. The Cincinnati Reds have used a combination of Brandon Drury and Mike Moustakas at first base while Votto is out of the lineup. But do the Reds have a long-term solution when the future Hall of Famer decides to hand up his cleats?
Will Reds prospect Alex McGarry be Joey Votto's eventual successor at first base?
Joey Votto is under contract through next season. The six-time All-Star will then be a bit of limbo as the Cincinnati Reds hold a $20M option for the 2024 season. If Cincinnati decides to part ways with the former MVP, they'll owe Votto $7M. So it's a bit premature to call next season Votto's last in the Queen City.
But it does appear that for the first time since Yonder Alonso was in the Reds organization that Cincinnati actually has a potential replacement for Joey Votto if the two sides go their separate ways after next season.
Alex McGarry might be the best Reds prospect you've never heard of. The 24-year-old is currently at Double-A Chattanooga and is absolutely crushing opposing pitching. McGarry is hitting .319/.367/.648 and has nine home runs in less than 100 plate appearances with the Lookouts.
McGarry began his 2022 season at High-A Dayton, but the Reds' brass quickly realized that the left-handed hitting slugger needed a bump up in competition after destroying pitches left and right and recording 11 round trippers 41 games. Of McGarry's 44 hits with the Dayton Dragons, 24 went for extra bases.
McGarry has even lowered his strikeout-rate after going from High-A Dayton to Double-A Chattanooga. The former Oregon State Beaver is seeing the ball extremely well this season and doesn't become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft until after the 2023 season.
Maybe, just maybe, the Cincinnati Reds have finally found their eventual successor for Joey Votto. Alex McGarry still has a long way to go before making his way to The Show, but his performance this season is certainly something to keep an eye on.