Joey Votto socked a homer on Saturday. Then, he socked another on Sunday. The week changed, you peeled off another page of your Far Side calendar, and he swatted a dinger on Monday, too.
It’s not completely turning back the clock for Votto these days, since he is doing things a bit differently than he once did. That’s a question of semantics over means and ends, though, since the ends right now sure as heck look like the good ol’ days.
Monday’s thunder brought his season slugging percentage up to an even .500, the highest it’s been in I cannot remember how long. His season OPS+ is up to 119, his wRC+ up to 130, and he’s again a serious purveyor of thump in the middle of the Reds order.
At 37 and inching just weeks closer to 38, there are admittedly some flaws in his overall game that didn’t used to be there. Frankly, though, we’re going to breeze right by those for the time being and instead focus on what he’s been able to do at an elite level, since that’s pretty much indicative of his latest evolution as a ballplayer - stop trying to be the hitter who can do it all and just focus on mauling the meatballs when they present themselves.
Joey, a lefty, has made a career out of absolutely obliterating right-handed pitching. He used to do other things, too, but that’s been a constant for him since back in his not-robbed-of-a-2nd-MVP days. Much to the joy of the Reds and their fans everywhere, he’s once again doing that at an elite level once again.
So far this season, 166 MLB players have logged at least 200 PA against RHP, and Joey is one of them. He’s logged an overall .292/.396/.567 line against him in his 202 PA, socking 13 dingers and posting a 154 wRC+. Said wRC+ is tied with Ronald Acuña Jr for 13th best among those 166, with notables such as JD Martinez, Kyle Schwarber from Middletown, and Bryce Harper ranking just behind him on that list.
For the record, there are a pair of familiar names on that leaderboard that sit just ahead of Joey, too - Jesse Winker (173 wRC+, 2nd) and Nick Castellanos (159 wRC+, 7th). You might remember them from such telethons as ‘Out With Gout ‘88’ and ‘Let’s Save Tony Orlando’s House,’ as well as from their lead performance as Reds reps and starters in this summer’s MLB All Star Game.
It’s officially official again, folks: Joey Votto still bangs.