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Advance Scouting Report

Filed by: Nick J. Faleris

Player Name: Joey Votto

Context: 12 Games; 9/9/13 to 9/22/13

PA

AB

H

1st P

K

BB

TB

Hard

AVE

OBP

SLG

OPS

TOTALS

55

43

16

18

9

13

24

15

.372

.491

.558

1.049

Sample vs. Season:

Average/on-base/slugging up from season lines; power showing to all fields; lots of hard contact; slugging on par with historical highs, with 2013 overall as a down year compared to past performance.

SCOUTING BREAKDOWN

Physical/Health:

No known injuries at present; strong, durable build; listed 6’2”, 220 pounds; strong core/trunk helps to create big leverage in swing; solid overall athleticism; moving well in field and on bases.

Hit Tool

Supremely comfortable in the box; has no fear hitting deep and behind in the count; balanced; utilizes compact swing with bat speed to handle velo, natural loft, and uncanny ability to center ball on barrel; bat stays in the zone a long time; swing path/pitch plane overlap allows for hard contact from pole to pole; can drive the gaps and produce loud line-drive contact across hit zone; excellent plate coverage and ability to square up pitches across the quadrants; will run behind in counts, leading to some swing-and-miss, but more than makes up for it with penchant for hard contact and on-base ability; top shelf understanding of strike zone; ability to formulate and implement game plan from at-bat to at-bat and across series; highest level hit tool with very limited chinks in armor. — Grade: High 7

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

Slightly less aggressive against same-side pitching, swinging at 17 percent first pitches as opposed to 37 percent of first pitches against RHP in sample; very comfortable taking the ball the other way with short swing path working middle-out; swung and missed at just two pitches (one FB one SL) in 12 PA vs. same-side pitching totaling 58 offerings.

Sees ball very well out of the hand of opposite-side arms; very comfortable going deep in counts and working for pitch to drive; likewise, comfortable attacking early; will open up swing a little more against RHP, looking to drive; unique talent dangerous in any count and game situation.

Notable At-bats

Date

Description

9/14/13

Five plate appearances resulting in four hard contact balls in play and one base on balls; first at-bat vs. Hellweg (RHP): worked ahead 3-1 before deep sac fly to center field; second at-bat vs. Hellweg (RHP): drove first pitch changeup for deep F8; third at-bat vs. Hellweg (RHP): first pitch CB low and away driven oppo for line drive single to left/center gap; first at-bat vs. Blazek (RHP): worked ahead 3-1 and turned on 95 mph FB up and in for deep home run down right field line (off top of foul pole); first at-bat vs. Gonzalez (LHP): worked seven-pitch walk with six offerings on outer corner – strong same-side pitch ID.

9/15/13

First at-bat vs. Gallardo (RHP): fell behind 1-2 and extended at-bat to nine pitches, ultimately taking FB (91) low-and-away and driving up the middle for single; Gallardo pounding inner and outer half effectively, but hitter was able to foul off offerings until FB left in spot to drive.

9/20/13

First at-bat vs. Liriano (LHP): first pitch FB (93) ball up and in; second pitch, FB (94) ball up and in; third pitch, SL (88) up and in for called strike; fourth pitch, SL (89) down and out, fouled; fifth pitch, SL (90) down and out, rolled over for 3 unassisted; worked ahead in count, looking FB, Liriano attacked with SL/CT in FB counts to make squared contact more difficult.

Power

Good raw power to all fields; ability to square ball across quadrants, can turn on offerings inside or let travel and drive opposite field; comfortable hitting deep in count and does not shorten up when behind; capable of driving mistakes and pitchers’ pitches; significant threat. – Grade: 6

vs. LHP

vs. RHP

Slightly shorter cut against same-side arm limits leverage some; still easy loud contact, but slightly less likely to produce over-the-fence pop.

Highly aggressive with ability to drive ball to all parts of the park; can attack early in count or wear down arm through at-bat until hitter finds mistake or driveable offering; combination top tier hit tool and plus power create dangerous bat in all scenarios.

Notable At-bats

Date

Description

9/14/13

First at-bat vs. Blazek (RHP): first pitch, FB (90) outside for ball; second pitch, FB (95) up and in for swinging strike; third pitch, FB (94) up and in for ball; fourth pitch, FB (92) up and out for ball; fifth, pitch FB (95) up and in, turned on for deep home run off right field foul pole; good velo, hitter worked ahead and had no issue turning on elevated heat deep in count.

9/20/13

First at-bat vs. Farnsworth (RHP): took two outside offerings for balls; third pitch two-seam FB (92) down and out, let travel and drove oppo over left field wall for go-ahead HR; no issue lifting heavy offering down and deep; highest level showing of barrel control, bat speed, and strength.

Speed/ Baserunning

No clockable home-to-first times; generally observed as below-average home-to-first runner; generally makes solid decisions on bases, but not a threat to test outfielders; not a threat to steal.

Conclusions and Means of Attack

Most dangerous bat in lineup; no clear point of attack; only slight weakness is some trouble with in/out sequencing when paired with change in speeds; working ahead, best hope is to get deep in count and follow hard stuff in with soft stuff down and away, and vice versa; will work arms to find pitches to drive, but capable of hitting well executed pitches, too; best to pitch around in important situations, and take chances with Bruce/Ludwick; will work a walk, but just as content to foul off close pitches to seek out pitches to drive; cannot rely on attacking strike zone early because hitter is successful in early-count aggression, as well; tread lightly from start to finish.

Late innings utilize same-side arms if available to limit home run risk (Reds will at times stack Votto/Bruce in the lineup, so mark late innings where they are due to come up and have lefty ready); ability to hit spots paramount; need to move ball around and change speeds; no discernable sequencing was effective in observed sampling; good luck.

Matchup Stats at a Glance

First Pitch Swing

18/55; 32.7 percent

Bunt Threat (Sac, Push, Drag)

No threat to bunt.

Defensive Positioning

Straight up; hits it everywhere.

Outfield

Straight up; shade deep; will drive the ball pole-to-pole – occasional bloop in front of outfielder is acceptable.

Splits

vs. LHP

.333/.500/.333

vs. RHP

.382/.535/.618

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bobbygrace
10/01
"No threat to bunt" (insert Dusty Baker joke). This series is so ambitious and richly informative. Thank you.
nschneider
10/01
This is for Votto, right? The name and link are for Jay Bruce.
NickFaleris
10/01
Here's the Bruce link, nschneider: tinyurl.com/BruceAdvance Thanks for checking it out!
maphal
10/01
Votto is a bit of a "guesser" at the plate sometimes. It leads to half swings or check swings that can make him look foolish. He's still not driving the ball as he did before he jammed his knee last summer in SF. That's what made him one of the top five hitters in baseball (if he isn't currently.) Despite his numbers, he's had a very frustrating year. By his incredible standards, at least.
NickFaleris
10/01
I actually got depressed digging into Votto vid and watching so many of his at bats in a row -- it made me realize I've been underappreciating him for some time. The over-the-fence pop is down from where I've seen in the past -- in particular to the opposite field -- but the contact and ability to find the ball with the barrel is really incredible. Granted, the span I watched he was locked in and had very few bad at-bats. But he looks like he's poised to have a loud post season if he carries over what I saw into a series (provided they get past Pittsburgh).
Shankly
10/01
These are great articles. I've always wanted to know how current players stacked up on the power, steal and hit scale.
rawagman
10/01
The spray charts look to me to feature way more opposite field balls in play than pull side. Is that correct?
NickFaleris
10/01
For the observed games, I found that to be the case. This was a product of Votto being pitched primarily away and being content to make hard contact oppo. Lots of low-and-away stuff turned into line-drives to left field or between 5/6 hole.