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Joey Votto and almost 18 miles of walks

It’s been quite the decade for Cincinnati’s star.

Oakland Athletics v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The optimist in me knows that it’s barely the start of April, and that Major League Baseball is going to do every last thing in its power and capability to roll out some sort of 2020 season at some point. The pessimist in me, though, has seen Wimbledon and the British Open already cancelled - the latter an event scheduled to take place in late July - and I have begun to openly wonder if the 2020 MLB season has any real shot of being played at all.

Whether this decade of baseball is kaput, or not, it’s already almost there. But it was the thought of ‘a decade of baseball’ that led me to today’s Joey Votto Stat of the Day.

If you take the last 10 seasons of baseball - from the start of 2010 through the end of 2019 - you’ll find Votto’s name scattered all over MLB leaderboards. He’s 7th in total PA, 9th in hits, 3rd in doubles, 18th in dingers, and 4th in runs scored over that span, his .403 wOBA and 153 wRC+ in that time second only to the inimitable Mike Trout. Quite the decade for ol’ Joe Dan.

But where Votto has long made his calling card is his simple unwillingness to bend to the laws of the strike zone, and the refusal to make outs that comes with it. His .428 OBP from 2010 onward is the single best in the game, as is his 17.0% walk rate. Pair that walk rate with his total PA, and you unsurprisingly find that Votto walked a ridiculous 1046 times during the last decade of baseball we’ve seen played.

That, in and of itself, is worth of a post. Covering 90 feet 1046 times means that the home plate umpire has ordered Votto to march 17.83 miles down the 1B line on his own volition in that time.

That’s farther than the distance from CVG to GABP (a mere 14.5 miles).

What also stands out about how often Votto walked is the sheer contrast between his total and those of his peers.

Carlos Santana, large walking machine that he is, checked in with the second highest total of the last decade, though his 944 walks is over a hundred fewer than Votto. And while that’s a gulf in its own right, that Jose Bautista sits third on the list with just 812 shows just how clearly Votto has been in his own stratosphere when it comes to taking 1B. In fact, only Trout joined that trio with more than 800 walks in that time, and only 8 MLB players walked as many as 700 times in that span.

Walker, Cincinnati Red.