If you’re reading this, odds are you’re not the kind of person who’ll need much convincing when it comes to considering Joey Votto’s Hall of Fame resume. This is Red Reporter, after all, and we’ve been hyping that slam-dunk of a concept for a decade now.
Votto has finished in the Top 7 of NL MVP voting 7 times in his illustrious career, with a win in 2010 and a shafting by the smallest of margins in 2017 on his ledger. That’s not the nitty-gritty of his overall numbers I’m speaking to, either - that’s simply how his production has been viewed by the voters of the BBWAA during his time on the field, an indication that despite him not being a slugger in the 1970s sense, he’s been greatly appreciated by body that’s in charge of Hall of Fame voting, too.
The fact is, Joey Votto is the epitome of the modern offensive ballplayer. He’s a man who recognized early on that there are only 27 outs for each side in a game, and if the other team cannot get you out, it’s physically impossible for the other team to win. His ability to reach base and avoid being retired ranks among the all-time elites who have ever played the game, and has far and away outpaced his peers in his time as a professional. That he’s now managed to slug over 300 homers, drive in over 1,000 runners, and log over 2,000 hits along the way now give him the sort of round, historical numbers to ice that Hall of Fame ability to rarely let opposing pitchers get the best of him.
It’s a concept revisited by C. Trent Rosecrans and Jayson Stark of The Athletic this week in the wake of Votto crossing his third round-number threshold of the season, his 2,000th career hit coming against the Chicago Cubs in GABP on Monday. Their work revisits where Votto ranks among his soon-to-be peers in Cooperstown, comparing just how much his traditional stats now stack up against them even if you’re still unwilling to look at him through the more advanced metrics that have always ranked him among the best to ever pick up the bat.
And as Trent and Jayson mention, he’s by no means done just yet, either. We’ve still got at least two more years (and whatever other magic he unfurls in these next six weeks) to look forward to.
In other news, MLB Pipeline updated their Top 100 overall prospects yesterday, and the Cincinnati Reds are quite well represented. Each of Jose Barrero (33) and Hunter Greene (27) rocketed up the list, with both joining Nick Lodolo (32) in a tightly-packed group in the top half of the rankings. Matt McLain, the Reds 1st round pick from this year’s draft, also joined them on the list at #99, and when you pair that foursome with recent graduate rookies like Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, and Vlad Gutierrez, you can see just how bright the future is for these Reds.
Speaking of Barrero, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com relayed yesterday that the star shortstop prospect has been getting in some work before games in the outfield, too. That appears to be very much just in the developmental stage, for now, though it does at least highlight the willingness of this current Reds regime to get more positional flexibility onto their roster. Mike Moustakas, Eugenio Suarez, Kyle Farmer, and Jonathan India all have positional flexibility in their quivers as infielders right now, as does Nick Senzel when he ever returns, so for the future of the entirety of the roster it sure wouldn’t hurt if Barrero had some, too. When you add-in that Reds CF production this year has collectively ranked as the next-to-least valuable among all 30 franchises, well, it never hurts to see if you’ve got an undiscovered gem sitting around, either.
The Reds 2022 Spring Training schedule is out, complete with a Cactus League slate that I believe looks like a relatively normal, non-pandemic one. I just hope that when the time comes to consider heading down there for some games again, I’ll feel comfortable that unvaccinated holdouts aren’t still torpedoing all chance of us returning to something akin to normalcy. Get your shots, folks.
To hijack this post real quick, my buddy George and I climbed Mount Sneffels (14,150 feet) via the Class 3 southwest ridge route on Tuesday, basecamping on Monday in Yankee Boy Basin outside Ouray, Colorado. It was pretty damn awesome, even if it meant I missed seeing Joey sock hit #2,000 live. My whole body is still sore.
Over at FanGraphs, Kevin Goldstein assessed the strengths and weaknesses of each National League playoff contender, and the Reds seemingly walked away sounding pretty damn solid, all told. We know the bullpen has been the bugaboo of this club all season, but the fact is that if it’s even just mediocre from here on, the starting pitching and potency of the offense could still carry this club a long, long way - if they can just figure out the occasional Adrian Sampsons of the world.
Speaking of FanGraphs, Goldstein’s assessment of the San Diego Padres at the moment wasn’t exactly glowing given their recent spate of injuries, specifically the ones that decimated their starting rotation. Ben Clemens detailed how that has significantly altered the Padres chances at making the postseason, particularly given how the Reds are just 1.5 games back of them for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. I’ll admit, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve actively scoreboard-watched in a full MLB season, so I’m a little rusty, but I think - I think that’s what we’re about to get to do for a month and a half around here, folks.
Finally, there’s this from the Louisville Bats, who confirm that the Reds are inching closer to getting a major, major piece back for their playoff push: