Compare & Contrast: A superficial glance at First Base

Sky's the limit.

Position: First Base

2010 Innings breakdown: Joey Votto - 88%

                                            Miguel Cairo - 7%

                                            Yonder Alonso - 2%

                                            Ramon Hernandez - 2%

                                            Jim Edmonds - 1%

2010 Composite batting line (over 650 PA):

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

554

103

175

36

2

35

109

15

4

86

124

.316

.412

.575

.988

BABIP

Contact Rate

Walk Rate

Batting Eye

SBO

RC/G

.356

77.5%

13.2%

0.69

10.3%

7.86

2010 Composite NL average first baseman batting line (over 650 PA):

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

SB

CS

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

566

81

152

32

1

23

87

4

1

71

128

.269

.354

.459

.813

BABIP

Contact Rate

Walk Rate

Batting Eye

SBO

RC/G

.311

77.4%

10.9%

0.55

3.0%

5.44

2011 Contract status:

Votto - arbitration eligible (1st arb year)

Cairo - free agent

Alonso - not yet arbitration eligible

Hernandez - $3.25M team option

Edmonds - free agent

Advanced minor league depth:

Yonder Alonso - age 23, 820 OPS at AA, AAA

Daniel Dorn - age 25, 944 OPS at AAA

Eric Eymann - age 26, 689 OPS at AA, AAA

Relative win increase, 2010 vs. 2009: +2

Brief summary of 2010: The great Joey Votto break-out of 2010 actually happened in 2009, with the league's presumptive MVP posting slash rates very similar to the prior year, plus the benefit of not missing nearly a month to the DL.  Votto improved from .322/.414/.567 to .324/.424/.600, which is short-hand for trade some of your doubles for home runs.  Add in an extra dozen stolen bases, and improved defense and out comes an SI cover boy. 

Way too early knee-jerk outlook for 2011: More of the same, if it doesn't get even better.  Votto is approaching the mythical and magical age-7 season, which ought to mean good things.  A 40 home run season is not out of the question.  I know we don't really talk about these things, but how many runs might Votto drive in if he had some guys on base in front of him?  Players with 75 extra base hits for division-winning teams should have more than 113 RBI.  At some point, through the machinations of luck and fate, Votto will have a bona fide lead-off man setting the table, and if it happens in the next year or three, 140 RBI may be reachable.  Wunderkind Yonder Alonso lurks, but if he sees any kind of appreciable playing time in 2011, we will all spit and curse upon any future reference to that wretched year.  For now, it's all about Votto, who will enter the year (and finish it) on the MVP short-list.

Bottom line: It's so much more fun to write about great ball players than mediocre ones.  I'm looking forward to getting the added reps that Votto's career will bring.  He's not quite Pujolsian, but he's the best first baseman in the division.   This is blue-chip stock designed to serve as a foundation for your well rounded portfolio.  Hold what you have, and Buy some more when your Christmas bonus comes in.

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