In August of 2022, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto underwent season-ending surgery. After a 10-month rehab, Votto made his return on in mid-June. After missing 72 games, many wondered if Votto would even fit in with this year's Reds team.
The Reds were coming off an eight-game winning streak and had just swept the defending champion Houston Astros. These Reds were young, full of energy, and winning baseball games.
At 39 years old and in his 17th season in the majors, would Votto even contribute? Some fans even as went as far as to suggest he would ruin the team chemistry.
Could Joey Votto actually lead the Reds in home runs this season?
But in his first game back, Joey Votto homered and hit a go-ahead, two-run single helping the Cincinnati Reds to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies. Could Votto actually lead the Reds in home runs this season?
In only 36 games this season, Votto already has 11 home runs. That's good enough for fifth on the team, and everyone ahead of him has at least double the number of plate appearances. Votto had just 11 home runs all of last season before landing on the IL in August.
Votto's .504 slugging percentage trails only Matt McLain and Will Benson for the team lead. The first baseman's power surge has been a welcome surprise for the Cincinnati Reds this season and is eerily reminiscent of the 2021 season in which the six-time All-Star led the team with 36 round trippers.
Many Reds fans questioned Joey Votto's role on this year's club. Soon to be 40 years old, Votto seems to have pushed those thoughts aside and the former MVP looks healthy and is helping the Reds win ball games in what could be his final season in Cincinnati.