Joey Votto is in the midst of his fifth consecutive excellent season, and his play is starting to generate conversation about his place in the history of the game. I'm sure that some Cincinnati media members' blood is boiling at the thought of Votto having a plaque in Cooperstown, but his peak places him amongst the best players of this generation. Personally, I believe that Votto has several obstacles facing him over the next ten years. For one, his skill-set is historically undervalued by sportswriters. Votto's power leads to more doubles than home runs while his incredible patience leads to high walk totals and depresses his number of hits. Many writers from the old guard continue to overlook the importance of walks. Second, Votto's career comes at the end of an era with a collection of incredible first basemen: Albert Pujols, Jeff Bagwell, Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Miguel Cabrera, Fred McGriff, and more. While I think that Votto is a better player than peers such as Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder, I'm not sure that many see it that way. Finally, Votto's relatively late start will limit his counting stats. In order to rack up milestone numbers such as 3000 hits and 1500 RBI, a player needs to start at a very young age. Votto didn't have his first full-time season until he was 24. In contrast, Miguel Cabrera was an established player at age 20.
Tyler Grote breaks down the suddenly excellent pitching in the NL Central. He concludes that Pittsburgh's depth insulates the Pirates from a breakdown on the mound. I'm not sure that the Buccos' bullpen will hold up to heavy usage, but that staff is much changed from the smoke and mirrors success of James McDonald and Charlie Morton in previous years.
"[B]etter than ever" is a bit of a stretch as Bronson Arroyo was really damned good in 2006, but the crafty righty is in the midst of his best season in several years.
CSG takes Pirates fans to task for treating the Reds as a rival. In his opinion, two teams need "year-in and year-out competitive play" to generate a rivalry.
Amanda also sounds off on the Reds' recent back-and-forth with the Pirates.
OMG Reds shares a YouTube video of highlights from the 1919 World Series.
Mark Sheldon reports that Cincinnati will get some more outfield help when Chris Heisey rejoins the team next week.
Cincinnati signed left-handed pitcher and former two-sport star, Chad Jones, after selecting him in the ninth round of the draft. The signing bonus is reportedly six figures.
Baseball is better with Manny Ramirez. Hopefully, he latches on with a Japanese team.