Joey Votto is the target of some wrong-headed abuse. Here, we are going to take the time to set it right. Here are 22 reasons, one for every million dollars Marty thinks he doesn’t deserve. These reasons are why you, a Reds fan, should love having Joey Votto play for your favorite team.
1: We’re glad we don’t have to do 37 reasons
Joey Votto is underpaid. If you assume about $5 million per win above replacement (WAR) on the open market (in 2015, teams averaged $5.3M per win), Joey has to play at a little more than 4 WAR to be worth the money he’ll get in 2017. Joey hasn’t had a healthy season with less than 4.6 fWAR since his rookie year of 2008.
2: Joey Votto is a winner
The Reds have gone to the playoffs three times in Votto’s career. That is the same number of times the Reds have gone to the playoffs between the end of the Big Red Machine and the beginning of Votto’s career.
The Reds finished five games above St. Louis in 2010, when Votto was worth 7 WAR. Cincinnati finished nine games above STL in 2012, when Votto was worth 6 WAR. Cinti was four games up in the Wild Card in 2013, when Votto was good for 6 WAR.
Without Joey, the Reds need to make up two games in two of their only good seasons this decade.
3: Joey Votto is the best at the most important thing
Baseball doesn’t have a clock. The only way you keep time is with outs. The more outs you make, the less time you have. Joey Votto has made fewer outs per plate appearance (i.e., has the highest On-Base Percentage) in the game since he entered the league.
4: Joey Votto is an inspiration
So personal story here: my father died in early 2010. It was a weird, scary, time. I was 22 years old and had no idea what I was supposed to do next. So I mostly felt bad.
A few months earlier, Joey Votto was honest about needing therapy, needing time off, and needing to be himself after the death of his father. I was still a wreck – I arguably only got serious about getting the help I needed in the past year – but knowing that Votto could do it made me feel like I could do something, too.
I probably have watched this video 100 times, more or less.
5: Joey Votto is the best first baseman in Reds history
He already has a better career than Tony Perez. And it is not terribly close.
If Joey Votto went 0-for-1300 from here out to finish his career, he'd finish with a higher career OBP than Tony Perez.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) January 4, 2017
6: Joey Votto is bald-positive
When he told a kid at the Kids Only Press Conference that he has Tucker Barnhart’s haircut because “I’m like...balding, dude,” Joey Votto spoke for all of us differently hair-abled folks who feel like we need to defend ourselves in our everyday lives.
7: Joey Votto is hairiness-positive
Despite the current baldness, he once showed up to the Arizona Fall League looking like this:
8: Joey Votto cares about the kids
He routinely gives long, detailed, answers at the Kids Only Press Conference. Even when the question is something like “what is your favorite color?”
9: Joey Votto hits with power
He has slugged .546 in the past two years, tied with Bryce Harper for 7th in all of baseball and second in the NL. This puts him ahead of such dudes as Edwin Encarnacion and Yoenis Cespedes, not to mention all of those damned Cubs. Votto is not a singles-and-walks dude.
10: Joey Votto hits when it counts
Votto is a career .313/.425/.536 hitter, good for a .961 OPS. He has, in his career, been a better hitter in July (.330/.429/.549), August (.320/.446/.557) and September/October (.320/.431/.558) than the first half of the year.
He goes .332/.480/.584 with runners in scoring position, throughout his career. In “Late & Close” situations, as judged by BBRef, he is at .306/.442/.524. Dude can always hit, but he especially hits when the Reds need him to hit.
11: And I mean hit when it counts, not just walk
I found this stat interesting from his BBRef splits: Votto hits .310/.432/.518 when the Reds are ahead, .310/.416/.559 when behind. He hits with more power when the Reds need him to, despite having the same average.
Clutch is generally meaningless, but Votto is enough of a situational hitter to bring meaning to that particular void.
12: Joey Votto wants you to get a good night’s sleep
He slugs over .600 in the 9th inning (.330/.466/.613), which is astounding when you think that he is often facing the opponents’ closer or otherwise high-ranking bullpen arm in the 9th.
Votto goes .305/.452/.552 in extras, to boot. He wants the game to be over and you to be sound asleep in bed, or at least the couch.
13: Votto’s clutchiness stats allow me to pad this list, which is in and of itself clutch
His .335/.458/.615 in high-leverage situations is pretty unparalleled. Again, that’s in late innings against the best pitchers. He hits 23% better than his “normal” in high-leverage situations, and his “normal” is pretty danged good.
What’s more, Votto is 2-3 with a run and an RBI in “unknown leverage” situations. He man hates uncertainty.
14: Joey Votto saved Homer Bailey’s no-hitter
Y’all remember this? Votto had a heads-up play to nab a Giant at third and get Homer Bailey well on his way to his second no-no.
15: Joey Votto isn’t done yet
In that video, Homer has a quote where he says Votto asked if Homer could get another no-hitter. Bailey said “sure, if you can win another MVP.”
Homer held up his end of the bargain. Votto will hold up his end, as well. He will.
16: Joey Votto is greatness – nay, perfection – live on your screen
Votto has already bested Tony Perez in every statistical category besides “ number of Hall-of-Fame caliber teammates.” He’ll pass Joe Morgan, Bid McPhee, and Vada Pinson within the next 2-3 years.
After that, it’s a conversation of Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin and Frank Robinson. Do you really want to tell your grandkids you spent your days pissing and moaning about the likes of Barry Larkin and Frank Robinson?
17: Before all this, Joey Votto was a kind of adorable prep prospect
Give yourself 150 seconds to watch “Third Base Prospect Joey Daniel Votto, 6’2”” from 2001.
He is gangly and awkward and his jump-throw is tsk-tsk-worthy. But even scrawny Joey could hit.
18: Joey Votto hits better than Rose, slugs more than Dunn, and gets on base better than...anyone in Reds history
Votto’s career .313 average is 5th in Reds history and best since integration. He has a higher OBP than anyone in Reds history. The only person who slugged higher than him was Frank Robinson.
19: There is a gosh-dang treasure trove of Votto videos out there, folks
I don’t mean just the highlight packages. I mean Votto talking about his dog, being a jerk to Phillies fans, paper airplanes, umpires. There is Joey Votto – in a linen suit in Canada in November – getting inducted into a regional Ottawa hall of fame.
He seems to hate one-word answers as much as he hates poorly-called strikes.
20: Joey Votto works hard
You probably know that story where, in high school, Votto’s coach thought Joey was reselling batting gloves because he was going through them so quickly. There’s also this:
21: That time Joey Votto signed a monster extension
Here’s Repoet Laureate Charlie Scrabbles on the deal:
He's a Red, and he will be a Red for a long time. And I look forward to showing my future kids his statue on Crosley Terrace. WAR just can't measure the value of that.
Of course, the WAR can measure a lot of dope stuff, as we mentioned above. Votto signed his extension just after bank-busting deals for: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Ryan Zimmerman. When you think of it that way, holy heck, what a deal!
22.: Joey Votto is a Red
He is ours, for no other reason than an accident of history. But what is history but a series of accidents? We are his, because Joey Votto might be the best example of what Cincinnati is in the 21st century. This is all good. This is all very, very, good.