Redleg Nation, you can all breathe a major sigh of relief. Joseph Daniel Votto will be returning to the Reds lineup tomorrow. It will be Votto’s first appearance in a game since July 5th, 2014. This will be the first time Votto has stepped on the field for a game in 244 days, but who’s counting?

Also worth noting, Votto will be batting in second in the Reds lineup. That may or may not mean anything for the regular season, but as you probably already know, we here at Redleg Nation are major advocates for Votto batting first or second. Votto will also be playing first base (he could have debuted at DH).

The news was first broke by Mark Sheldon. Here is a picture from Sheldon of tomorrow’s lineup:

votto

C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer had more on Votto’s return. The Reds take on the Cubs today at 3:05. Votto will make his debut tomorrow against the Royals at 3:05. The game is on 700 WLW tomorrow.

 

 

32 Responses

  1. Steve Mancuso

    Great news. Especially that he’s batting second. It’s worth remembering that Bryan Price did move Votto to #2 in the order last year before the injury took it’s toll.

    And (not saying this is part of Price’s motivation) if Price is thinking of batting Votto second, it helps sell that Brandon Phillips would bat seventh.

    • Nick Kirby

      I personally think that Votto will hit second on Opening Day. I think if Price was set on batting Votto third, he would have put him there in his first game of Spring Training. That means the opening day lineup will probably look like this:

      Hamitlon
      Votto
      Frazier
      Mesoraco
      Bruce
      Byrd
      Phillips
      Cozart
      Cueto

      • droomac

        This is the correct lineup. It will provide a strategic advantage in the later innings, as any LOOGY brought in for Votto would have to be left in for Frazier and Mesoraco before facing Bruce. Or, of course, the other manager could just burn through three arms instead.

      • Nick Carrington

        Yes to Mr. Kirby’s lineup! Health is key (as it always is), but that is a solid lineup. If Mesoraco, Votto, Bruce, and Frazier stay healthy, the Reds are contenders.

      • Frogger

        This is a good lineup. I would not leave anyone in a slump behind Votto, as Fraz and Mes are pretty interchangeable. Like Mez ceiling more tho..

  2. Craig

    I would think that Votto batting second would have a positive impact on Hamilton’s ability to steal bases. I don’t know if there’s any merit to this, but it seems like having a batter taking more pitches would give the the runner a better change to time the pitchers pickoff move and just give the runner more opportunities to steal. More balls could possibly mean that it would be more difficult for the catcher to throw out the runner. I am also wondering if runners can get a better lead off of 1st with a left handed batter standing in the box. Is there data on any of this?

    • UglyStrike

      Not sure if it is true are not, but I always believed that a runner like Hamilton on base, means the batter is going to see a lot more fastballs and fewer breaking pitches. This makes a good batter even better. IMHO

    • OCRed

      Craig –
      You are correct in all your assessments. If Hamilton is on base with a strong OBP hitter like Votto at the plate, Hamilton will see more opportunities (pitches). Plus, it is more difficult for a catcher to throw out a runner stealing second with a left-handed hitter at the plate. And the best part – the pitcher will be more willing to throw Votto a fastball since it increases their opportunity to throw out the runner. Perhaps someone has some specific stats that reflect the actual data in each scenario.

      • lwblogger2

        It doesn’t happen often but a LH batter in the box also made it less likely for me to throw behind the runner at 1B in a pick-off attempt when I was catching.

    • WVRedlegs

      Billy Hamilton stealing second base will be the opponent’s best way to take the bat out of Votto’s hands. I don’t think it will have that much of a positive impact on BHam’s stealing. It may give Votto more chances of seeing fastballs. But as soon as BHam steals second base, Votto will be issued an intentional walk. Then Frazier will follow and he does hit into more GIDP’s than Votto. Votto was never fleet afoot and neither is Frazier. That leaves BHam on third base with 2 outs. The Reds have not been very good at getting that runner on third base to score over the last few seasons in that situation. I’d hate to see deja-vu all over again, all over again in 2015.
      Votto batting second may have to go into the Be Careful What You Wish For file.

      • sultanofswaff

        Careful WV, you’re treading very close to ‘clogging the bases’ territory!

        I’ll take first and second with my 3 and 4 hitters up any day of the week. It’s a fact that the guys who lead the league in GIDP are the best hitters overall. It’s a crime of opportunity stat like RBI.

      • WVRedlegs

        I get the argument to bat Votto second, it gets him more AB’s over the course of the season. He’ll see more fastballs when BHam is on base. I go back and forth on it. I see benefits in Votto batting second as opposed to third, and third as oposed to second. I try to stay away from this argument on where Votto should bat in the lineup. Its above my pay grade.
        I just wonder if BHam/Frazier/Votto order could be just a little more productive than a BHam/Votto/Frazier order before Mesoraco comes up. The more runners on base in front of Votto is always key. No matter how meaningless RBI’s are perceived by some, I still like seeing Votto score 100 runs and knock in 100 runs. Votto hasn’t had a 75+ RBI season, let alone a 100+ RBi season, since 2011. I miss seeing Votto knocking in a couple of runs when he laces a double in the gaps.

      • Steve Mancuso

        If Votto bats second, more than 70 percent of his AB will occur without Billy Hamilton at first base.

      • VaRedsFan

        OR, with improvement (as he’s generally shown) 68 percent or less of the time. Also, weather there’s a man on or not Votto will make an out 60-65 percent of the time.

      • Steve Mancuso

        My point wasn’t really about Billy Hamilton (and I was giving him credit for improvement, taking into account that on doubles, triples etc. he wouldn’t be at first base).

        My point was broader. That even the BEST lead-off hitters get on first base about 40% of the time. So why choose a #2 hitter (good bunter, good at hitting behind runner, patient at taking pitches) based on the #1 hitter being on base, when the vast majority of time that won’t be the case. The #2 hitter should be chosen for his ability to generate offense, by getting on base himself and hitting with power.

        Votto’s career OBP is .417, so he makes an out 58 percent of the time, not 60-65 percent.

      • cfd3000

        Solution: Have Hamilton steal third early in Frazier’s at bat. Or steal second with Votto up, and take third when the rushed throw skitters into center. And even if Hamilton somehow wasn’t at leadoff Votto is going to walk 100+ times anyway. This is not a problem I’m worried about.

      • OCRed

        WV – remember too that having Hamilton on first keeps the 1B holding him on. This opens up the right side of the field for Votto. And seeing more fastballs is even more of a factor in that situation. Therefore, Hamilton doesn’t even need to steal until after he sees what Votto does at the plate.

      • Will H

        With that in mind, would it benefit Jay Bruce to have Billy Hamilton on first for some of his at-bats? That could lessen the shift and Billy will do Billy things like go to third on a groundout or when the throw goes into center on a steal attempt he’ll be at third since no one’s covering it. Just a thought. Anything to squeeze a few more runs out of this lineup over 162 games should be on the table!

  3. Tom Reed

    Votto in the second spot and Phillips batting seventh could help revive the offense this season.

  4. ColoREDo

    Mancuso makes a great point. The success of Votto in the 2 spot relies heavily on Billy’s OBP. We will just have to wait and see.

  5. redmountain

    My question is, and always has been, does this interfere with Votto’s concentration.

  6. unc reds fan

    I don’t see how this would interfere with Votto’s concentration…this is a great move especially if Hamilton can get on base…and if they want to walk Votto after Billy swipes second, what team wouldn’t want two men on with no outs? besides if todd really is so inclined to knock into a double play he can learn to bunt and really set us up for Mes to be a RBI machine

    • redmountain

      If you have read the book on the 1975 Reds, you will know that Griffey Sr. was not allowed to steal in front of Morgan. Morgan thought that a guy stealing, or threatening to steal, ruined his ability to hit. I am not in favor of that kind of selectivity, but I am not a HOF manager either. Maybe it is a non-issue, I don’t know.
      Just like you “I’m a Tar Heel born…..”

      • Tom Gray

        If 2015 Reds are anything like 1975 team, I’ll take it regardless of any Votto and Hamilton drama.

        Morgan is among the best 2B of all time in MLB. Votto is among the best 1B of the past 5 seasons. I see a big gap between them.

  7. Redgoggles

    I just hope we argue about where JV bats in the lineup in about 155 games this year.

  8. VaRedsFan

    Votto said several times last year that he loved batting when Hamilton was on base, so we don’t need to guess if he likes it or not.

  9. Kevin J. Brown (@ZebtheRed)

    Bill James in 2006 pointed out that the #3 batter comes up with men on base 5% more than the #2 hitter does. I prefer the increased chance of JV coming up with men on base which maximizes the possibility of a crooked number inning.