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April 25, 2013

Skewed Left

The New, Just-as-Good Joey Votto

by Zachary Levine


Something is amiss with Joey Votto. Sure, he’s getting his walks, but as the Big Bat in the lineup paid to drive in runs, he’s struggling tremendously. He has just eight runs batted in—fewer than hardly noted run producers like Yuniesky Betancourt, Brett Gardner, Marlon Byrd and notoriously light-hitting teammate Zack Cozart. Clearly, with the overly passive Votto, there’s trouble in River City.

That’s one way to look at the first 22 games of the best player on the National League Central favorite Cincinnati Reds. Maybe how we would have evaluated him in 1980.

The other—and frankly preferred—way to look at the April of Votto is that he’s been better than his MVP season of 2010, and that’s probably a good place to start the story.

That was the last year in which he swung at more pitches than the average hitter, and it’s been downhill (though not necessarily in the bad connotation of that word) ever since. While baseball as a whole takes the bat off its collective shoulder roughly 45 percent of the time, Votto’s number dropped almost five percentage points the following year, from 47.4 percent to 42.6 percent. Then last year, an equal drop to 37.8 percent, and he’s down again this year, finishing Tuesday’s game against the Cubs at 36.0 percent—among the lowest in the sport.

Here’s a look at his rates over the years.

Year

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Related Content:  Patience,  Joey Votto,  Power,  Offense,  Reds

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Overthinking It: Why J... (04/25)
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Premium Article Skewed Left: Staying A... (04/23)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Skewed Left: Explainin... (04/30)
Next Article >>
Premium Article On the Beat: Up, Up, U... (04/25)

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