Rebound Candidate: Joey Votto

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Reds first baseman Joey Votto is little question one of the crucial profitable place gamers within the historical past of baseball. The 36-year-old is a six-time All-Star and a onetime Nationwide League Most Invaluable Participant who, since he made his main league debut in 2007, has amassed 56.2 fWAR and batted .307/.421/.519 in 7,372 plate appearances. Votto ranks 27th all-time in wRC+ (151), putting him inside placing distance of such luminaries as Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron and Joe DiMaggio, and a fair higher 17th total in on-base share (.421, the identical quantity as Mickey Mantle).

For those who’ve considerably slept on Votto’s profession up to now as a result of he doesn’t play in an enormous market or hasn’t been part of frequent postseason groups, you’re in all probability not alone. Votto could already be a Corridor of Famer, although, and with 4 assured seasons left on the franchise-record 10-year, $225MM contract he signed with the Reds 2012, loads of time stays for him to maintain making his Cooperstown case. Nonetheless, for that to occur, Votto could should carry out much better than he did final yr.
The 2019 season was stunningly subpar for Votto, who was practically a replacement-level participant (0.7 fWAR) over 608 journeys to the plate. Votto’s 101 wRC+ represented a 50-point drop-off from his lifetime determine and tied him for 91st amongst 135 certified hitters. As all the time, Votto obtained on base greater than the common participant, placing up a .357 OBP, however that’s an unimpressive quantity in comparison with how he usually fares. Votto has walked in 16.Zero p.c of plate appearances within the majors, however he solely did so at a 12.5 p.c clip a yr in the past. On the similar time, he struck out 20.2 p.c of the time (up about 2.5 p.c relative to his profession), posted a career-worst .261 batting common and managed his second-lowest slugging share ever (.411).
Generally underwhelming manufacturing generally is a symptom of dangerous luck. Sadly, that wasn’t actually the case for Votto final season. For those who take a look at his Statcast web page, he was usually close to the apex of the league in a single necessary class after one other from 2015-18. However he fell off to a notable diploma in all features in 2019. As an illustration, his .343 anticipated weighted on-base common was superior to most gamers, and it did outdo his .332 actual wOBA, nevertheless it paled compared to previous years through which he hovered across the .400 mark.
There are legitimate causes to consider that we’ve seen the final of the all-world model of Votto, however the Reds can solely hope that’s not the case. Not solely do they owe Votto $82MM over the subsequent few years (together with a $7MM buyout for 2024), nevertheless it might be a necessity for him to bounce again in the event that they’re going to earn their first playoff berth since 2013 this season. For his half, Votto is aware of he must rebound in 2020.
Relating to his output final yr, Votto advised Mark Sheldon of MLB.com: “It’s the worst season I’ve had in my profession, fairly clearly. I don’t suppose it’s shut. All the pieces went the fallacious approach.”
A lesser participant wouldn’t obligatory deserve the advantage of the doubt. Nonetheless, contemplating the brilliance Votto has normally displayed, it might be unwise to wager towards a renaissance.
Picture courtesy of USA At present Sports activities Photographs.

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