Joey Votto is the best Cincinnati Reds hitter since at least Joe Morgan. You might argue he’s even better than that (as a hitter only). But either way, he’s one of the best hitters this franchise has ever seen. He currently has the highest OPS+ (which is adjusted for the league and years played) in franchise history at 155. Frank Robinson is second at 150.
With all of that said, the 2018 season was the lowest season when it comes to OPS+ of Joey Votto’s career. His 125 mark matched his rookie season, and his 2014 season when he played half of the season with a knee injury before shutting things down. He was still a well above-average hitter, but when compared to what he’s been, he wasn’t remotely close to that guy. And Joseph Daniel Votto wasn’t satisfied with that at all.
Joey Votto said he started hitting in December, he said he’d usually start when he got to spring training
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) February 17, 2019
If you’ve been a Reds fan with a pulse for more than a few years, you know that Joey Votto is a guy who works very hard on his swing and approach at the plate. If you have watched how he’s gone about spring training at times in the past, you’ve seen his methodical approach to getting ready for the season in action. Some years he’s taken pitches simply to see more of them and get his eye ready for the season. Other years he’s just flat out raked.
There’s a method to his madness. And it seems that after his 2018 season, he wanted to change up that method. The best hitter some of us have even seen while wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform began hitting two months before he normally does. He’s going to be a lot further along at the start of the spring than he usually is. Whether or not it’s going to work out, well, that’s unknown. But Joey Votto wasn’t happy with how things went last season. And hopefully that’s bad news for the National League in 2019.
It’s great that the Reds brought Puig and Kemp in to strengthen the offense. But if the Red are going to compete for the playoffs Joey has to be Joey.
The reds should bat joey second this year
Since the Puig acquisition, I’ve wondered why every lineup projection has Votto still batting third. Winker and Votto aren’t the fastest (/understatement), but I’d still feel pretty good letting them clog the bases for guys like Suarez, Puig, Gennett, Kemp and Senzel
Based on what I know of Joey Votto’s work ethic and the high standards he has established for himself this doesn’t surprise me at all. If Votto stays healthy I expect a big year from Joey at the plate. And if that inspires Suarez, Winker, Puig, Senzel and Gennett then this could be an excellent year for the Reds offense. I can’t wait.
Regression ultimately claims us all. JV will prove to be no exception to this…eventually. I too, am hopeful that he will prove to be, as Oldtimer says, the “Rose exception” and maintain his “work ethics and high standards.” Having other more potent bats around him certainly should help, and batting second seems like a normal progression for him at this point.
Hearing of his early hitting and eagerness to get started is encouraging also. We are all excited to see this season develop, perhaps even beyond our greatest anticipations! The projections for our pitching staff are well above the hot mess we have endured the last few seasons. Man oh man, Baseball is officially back! Not even the commissioner and his meddling can dampen the mounting excitement! Go Reds!