Joey Votto Player Projection No. 14

Key Stats: Joey Votto joined Miguel Cabrera and Jose Bautista as the only players in baseball to score, drive in, and walk more than 100 times. In other words in OBP leagues, this is a top ten pick and maybe a top five pick. Votto has now driven in and scored more than 100 runs in two straight seasons.

Skeptics Say: Votto’s numbers dropped off across the board last year. The number that is most concerning to me is the steals. Votto finished with 8 steals a season after stealing 16. At a position where he truly could separate himself by running, perhaps the Reds were more cautious last year or perhaps Votto didn’t sneak up on teams as a base runner last year (his success rate went down).

Peer Comparison: NL Only leagues that have Votto have arguably the most valuable player in the league. With the departures of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, and the injury to Ryan Howard Votto is now the best first basemen in the NL by a mile. Every other position has at least some competition at the best spot. Here’s what I mean:

Position

Difference in ADP of #1 versus #2

Catcher

Brian McCann (#44) Buster Posey (#58)

1st Base

Joey Votto (#9) Michael Morse (#79)

2nd Base

Dan Uggla (#48) Brandon Phillips (#50)

Shortstop

Troy Tulowitzki (#6) Hanley Ramirez (#16)

3rd Base

David Wright (#26) Ryan Zimmerman (#34)

Outfielder

Matt Kemp (#2) Justin Upton (#11)

The 28 spots between Morse and Freddie Freeman, the next best first baseman, is the biggest gap between the number two and three first basemen.

Lineup Outlook: The Reds have one of the best 10 offenses in baseball and Votto is obviously the biggest reason for that. Not including the runs he scored off of home runs since that accounts for RBI too, Votto’s 175 runs scored or driven in account for 24% of the Reds total offense. By comparison the NL MVP Ryan Braun accounted for 24.5% of his team’s runs by the same metric.

What They’re Saying: CBS Sportsline: #3 First Baseman; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #3 First Baseman & #6 Overall; Yahoo: #3 First Baseman & #7 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #3 First Baseman & #7 Overall; RotoChamp: #5 Overall

Projection: Votto has improved his strikeout to walk rate every year of his career. Given that his strikeouts were trimmed last year, I think it’s likely his average gets a 10 to 15 point boost this season versus 2011.
99 R 30 HR 112 RBI 9 SB .319 AVG .965 OPS in 665 plate appearances