Joey Votto returned to the Cincinnati Reds lineup a week ago after having been sideline with a busted thumb, and has done nothing since then but swing the bat like he generationally pissed at the baseballs thrown his way.
He’s socked a trio of dingers and driven in a full dozen runs in seven games since returning. adding yet another formidable bat to a Reds lineup that - if it stays healthy - could end up being quite the damn force for the rest of the 2021 season. Votto, of course, has long been the toughest out of his generation, but this year is being asked to serve a bit of a different role, a thumper in the heart of the lineup tasked with bashing in the guys constantly on-base in front of him, something he’s not had the good fortune of having around him in lineups for most of his career.
That said, it’s not like it’s been a full eon since he was the single toughest out in the game, and today’s Periodic Stat to Remind You That Joey Votto is Awesome is cherry-picked to reference just how recent that was.
Since the start of the 2017 MLB season, there have been 164 MLB players who have logged at least 1500 PA in the bigs. Not all of them have truly excelled, mind you - it’s worth pointing out here in a non-Votto way that Billy Hamilton’s .292 OBP in that span is actually better than the .290 posted by Albert Pujols, with Pujols’ being the fourth worst among that 164. Anyway, out of those 164 players, Mike Trout predictably leads the way in having been toughest to retire, his staggering .442 OBP far and away atop that leaderboard. Unsurprisingly, Juan Soto and his .413 clip in that time ranks second, as the comparisons between he and Ted Williams continue to persist.
Third on that list? Joseph Daniel Votto, whose .401 OBP since the start of the 2017 season is better than award-winners in that time like Freddie Freeman, Christian Yelich, Aaron Judge, Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Joey Votto is awesome, folks. We love Joey Votto.