In a recent game, Joey Votto had what many would consider a usual night for the Cincinnati Red star. Votto was 1 for 3, had three walks and reached base on four occasions.
Cincinnati is going through a complete rebuild with many pundits in the game predicting the Reds would be poor at best. They lived up to that and have become worse late in the season after dealing star hitter Jay Bruce to add young new talent to the club.
Since the team is very bad, the hitting genius displayed by Votto is often overlooked with this season being no exception.
Currently, Votto is batting .309, with 21 home runs, 76 RBIs and an OBP of .432.
He makes outs at rates lower than any other player and leads the National League in OBP for the fifth time in the past six years.
Last season Votto was third in the voting for NL MVP thanks to being dominant during the second half of the season where he hit .362 with 14 homers, 86 walks and 65 strikeouts in just 73 games. Votto consistently studies video and scouting reports more than most players.
His critics quickly point out that he has a relatively low total for RBIs. He has not knocked in over 80 runs any season since 2011.
Votto may not be knocking in the runs like others with players on base, but has an OBP of more than .493 during that situation.
When all is said and done, the best thing any hitter can ever do is not make an out. Votto is the best in the league at that. His disciplined style at the plate sets him far apart from others.
Votto is one of just a few left-handed batters that can hit the ball almost anywhere he wants to. He can hit for power to every field and many of his balls that are not home runs but in play are hit to left.
Since he came into the big leagues in 2007, the Reds slugger has a .311 batting average. During that same period, Miguel Cabrera, considered one of the best hitter in baseball, hit just .324. Albert Pujols during that same span (10 years) hit .331.
Votto’s power is not the same as Pujols and Cabrera but overall his performance on offense is very close to them.
Amongst Reds players with a minimum of 1,500 plate appearances, Votto is No. 1 in OPS with .957 and in OPS+ at 156.
Votto’s excellent play could be overlooked due to the Reds as a team being very poor. They are in a rebuilding phase at this point. That means people play less attention to the teams and its players.