Joey Votto hit a stunning .400 over the final 81 games of the 2016 season, a truly blistering rate for the Cincinnati Reds 1B. All he did in 2017 was back that with a ridiculous .340/.477/.581 (1.057) mark over the final 104 games of the 2017 season, with 90 walks against just 51 strikeouts during that stretch. That propelled him to a career-best 8.1 bWAR season, a mark that should have won him a 2nd NL MVP Award.
Little did we know at the time, but it wrapped a 10-year stretch in which Votto compiled a stirring 52 fWAR, the single best 10-year run of his career, to date. Votto himself probably knew that at the time, because he’s the kind of guy who just knows that stuff, and he likely knew exactly where that run ranked among his 1B peers over the course of MLB history. Thanks to FanGraphs’ Craig Edwards, today we got to see that stretch in that very context, getting visuals on how Votto’s offensive excellence and overall solid 1B defense places him in the annals of 1B history.
(Spoiler alert: it’s a pretty damn good spot.)
Votto, great as he is, still sees his best 10-year stretches pale in comparison to the likes of Albert Pujols and Lou Gehrig, but who the heck doesn’t, really? That said, his run ranks in a similar (if not better) vein as Hall of Famers like Eddie Murray, Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, and Willie McCovey at the position, and as Edwards notes, Votto has finished each of the last three seasons with the best rolling 10-year fWAR among all MLB 1Bs.
In other words, he’s simultaneously produced at a level that ranks as the best among his current peers while having those runs hold up against the best all-time at his position, and if ever there was a succinct way to answer the question of what is a Hall of Famer, I’d say that’s pretty much it.
Joey’s going to keep on bonking once baseball returns, too. I’ll be my hat on it.
In other news, the crew at CBS Sports discussed how one might view the eventual champions of the modified/shortened/truncated 2020 season, with more or less a consensus answer the end result. Hat tip to Matt Snyder for referencing the 1981 Reds, as well.
Over at MLB.com, they broke down the single best one-game hitting performances for each MLB franchise in history, and despite some 150+ years of baseballing in Cincinnati, the Reds representative comes from pretty recent history. Methinks you know of whom I speak.
As Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times noted yesterday, the Rays are opening up Tropicana Field to players on their 40-man roster within the week, the latest in the ongoing saga of getting the 2020 baseball season underway. Obviously, all 50 states have been pretty much fending for themselves through this all, with each having been delegated to set up their own virus containment and mitigation protocols, and that will directly impact which pro sports teams get to get back to business on different timelines. Still, that this is beginning to thaw suggests that the Reds, at some point very soon, might be getting the opportunity to ramp up for a 2020 return quite soon.
Finally, some unfortunate news, as it would appear cheesy-mac fans around the country will be out of luck for at least the next few days. 40,000 lbs of macaroni is no 30,000 lbs of bananas, mind you, but this wreck in particular caught my attention for its location. The stretch of combined interstate highway just outside downtown Nashville is perpetually a merging traffic disaster, and that’s precisely where this one took place - right where I-40 splits off from its cohort, I-24. Believe it or not, college-aged me once flipped a truck there, too, after being cut off by a merging Mazda Miata, of all freaking cars. A side-step and triple toe-loop later, I’d totaled the first ride I’d ever known and caused the single largest traffic backup in the United States of America on that given day. So, I feel for ya, mac driver.