Joey Votto Passivity Index

Joey Votto is the major-league leader in walks, by counting and by rate. He’s always been a guy willing and happy to take a free base, and I should note that the very term “free base” is disrespectful to the base on balls, as if walks don’t require work. Anyway, Votto is also the National League leader in on-base percentage. The point: Votto doesn’t make many outs, relative to the rest of his peers, because he’s disciplined about when he swings, and his swing is productive on contact.

Nevertheless, Votto slugged 37 dingers once, driving in 113 runs, and as such some people are displeased with his current standard of patience. Some people with “Reds” on their paychecks think Votto should be more aggressive, especially with runners on, since he’s paid to be a run producer. He is a run producer, but not in a way that makes everyone happy. Votto, some people say, isn’t good enough, considering what he allegedly could be.

Monday against the Mets, Votto came to the plate five times. He reached first base five times, all on walks. He drew a walk in the first, a walk in the second, a walk in the fourth, a walk in the seventh, and a walk in the ninth. The last batter to draw five walks in five plate appearances was Mike Baxter in August 2012, but that game was started by Edinson Volquez so it hardly counts. In all, we have a record of 33 games in which a batter walked all five times he hit. This is an unusual and exceptional performance, and I thought it ought to be examined through the lens of the Joey Votto Passivity Index. Could Votto have put balls in play, or were pitchers just not giving him anything?

Below, you’ll see Gameday images of each of Votto’s plate appearances, in order. There will also be the occasional screenshot. Each plate appearance will be given a subjective Passivity Index score, where 0 is ultra aggressive, like a baby rattlesnake, and 10 is ultra passive, like a dead tree. The grades will be assigned on the fly, according to whatever I feel like, and it’s times like these Trinity College should be proud to have issued me a degree in a hard science. Joey Votto, New York Mets, Monday, September 23. Let’s look at some walks.



A game in which Joey Votto walked five times in five plate appearances began with a swinging strike at a curve in the dirt. In reality, Votto checked his swing, and it was determined he didn’t hold up in time. But anyway, Votto took two balls after that, and fouled off a 2-and-1 fastball. The next pitch was too low, and then with a full count, this happened:


Votto didn’t go, but he came close. He thought about it. Critics have said in the past that Votto should go up there looking to hit, not looking to walk. If Votto were looking to walk, he wouldn’t have checked his swing twice, in addition to the foul. Votto was in the mood to hit — Aaron Harang wasn’t in the mood to let him, really, at least on his terms. No good would’ve come of swinging at that last pitch. Note that there was a runner on first, who Votto moved into scoring position by not making an out.

  • Passivity Index: 5



What do the Reds want Joey Votto to do? The front office, presumably, wants Votto to just produce, but Dusty Baker more specifically wants Votto to drive in runs. In this plate appearance, Votto drove in a run by drawing a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk that moved everybody up 90 feet. This is the ultimate Votto/Baker compromise, where Votto simultaneously adds a walk and an RBI. None of the four pitches from Harang were all that close. The second one, maybe, could’ve been flared into left field, but there weren’t pitches to drive, here. There was maybe a pitch to hit for a single, that also could’ve been hit for an out. As it was, Votto didn’t even begin any swings, nor should he have. This is a difficult passivity index to score, because Votto was just given a walk.

  • Passivity Index: 5



The first pitch was a borderline strike, caught well. The second pitch wasn’t close. The third pitch wasn’t close. Votto swung at the fourth pitch, low in the zone, and fouled it off. The fifth pitch — the 2-and-2 pitch — was close to the zone, and Votto nearly offered:


Again, if Votto were just looking to walk, instead of looking to hit, he wouldn’t have attempted and then checked his swing. He wanted to get a hit, but he concluded that the pitch was a little above his zone and he didn’t want to pop it up. This is how Joey Votto manages to avoid pop-ups. He doesn’t swing at many pitches like these. The pitch was up at Votto’s belly button. It was taken for a ball, and the next pitch wasn’t close, sending Votto to first and sending the base-runner from first to second. Once again, Votto moved the runner up without making an out himself. You get the sense Baker would’ve been happier with a runner-advancing ground out. Maybe that’s an exaggeration on my part, but you feel it, too.

A swing and a checked swing. Three balls that weren’t close, meaning three balls that definitely shouldn’t have been swung at.

  • Passivity Index: 6



Note that, in this situation, the bases were empty. Votto didn’t have anyone else to try to drive home, so his mission was just to try to get on for the next guy. He functioned as a temporary lead-off batter, and lead-off batters are supposed to get on however they can. The first pitch missed, down. The second pitch was good. The third pitch was bad. The fourth pitch maybe could’ve been swung at, since it tailed just off the plate, and Votto could’ve lined it into left, but it was still called a ball. Here’s what happened with the fifth pitch:


Votto was taking all the way, and he thought the pitch was ball four, since it just clipped a corner. The umpire called him back, and Votto didn’t protest, accepting a full count. That last pitch missed, and was well outside. Even if you figure a lefty like Votto can cover beyond the outer black, there are limits, and that’s a pitch you absolutely take with three balls and two strikes.

One does note that Votto took two called strikes, and a third pitch that almost got the zone. He looked particularly eager to walk, before he had walked. So I have no choice:

  • Passivity Index: 8



Ain’t nothing you can do about an intentional walk. The Mets put Votto on, specifically because they didn’t want to challenge him with the winning run 90 feet away. In a sense, this makes Votto’s game a little less fun, since it would’ve been more exceptional for Votto to pick up five unintentional walks. But the game log still shows five advances to first, and this is a walk Votto earned by being who he is. Incidentally, Votto was batting third, and he reached all five times, leaving zero runners on base. Ryan Ludwick was batting fourth, and he went 0-for-5, leaving ten runners on base. Frustration with Joey Votto is really frustration with Ryan Ludwick, sometimes.

  • Passivity Index: N/A? 5? whatever

It’s tempting to say that Votto had a classic Joey Votto game on Monday. He didn’t. Not only was it the first time he’d ever walked five times; it was the first time he’d ever walked four times. Votto had never done that before, but then, if you heard that a guy drew five walks in five plate appearances, you’d probably suspect it was Votto, because that just makes sense. Votto, or his teammate, Shin-Soo Choo. 0-for-0 with five walks feels like Votto turned up to 11, meaning Baker irritation turned up to 11. You’d think you don’t get there without taking a bunch of would-be hittable strikes.

But Votto didn’t actually see that many hittable pitches. He took one pitch that was obviously in the zone. The other two called strikes were debatable. The rest of the pitches were balls, a few of which got Votto to check his swing. Here’s the thing about balls: many of them can be hit, but few of them can be hit well. The further you get from the ~middle of the zone, the worse the results on balls put in play, because those pitches are harder to barrel up. Absolutely, Votto has singled and even homered while swinging at pitches out of the zone. More often, though, he’s hit those pitches for outs, if he’s hit them at all, and it’s specifically Votto’s ability to not swing at many of those pitches that sets him apart and makes him valuable. All players have better in-zone results than out-of-zone results. Votto makes sure not to generate many of the latter.

Fun fact: this year, Votto has a league-average rate of swings at pitches in the strike zone. He isn’t looking to walk. He’s looking to hit. He’s just looking to hit what he can hit hard, and his critics should be thankful he doesn’t pay them any attention. The best thing Joey Votto can do for the Reds is just be himself, and Monday night, he was himself to the letter.

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

85 Responses to “Joey Votto Passivity Index”

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  1. Eminor3rd says:

    Yes! This!

    “Fun fact: this year, Votto has a league-average rate of swings at pitches in the strike zone. He isn’t looking to walk. He’s looking to hit. He’s just looking to hit what he can hit hard, and his critics should be thankful he doesn’t pay them any attention. The best thing Joey Votto can do for the Reds is just be himself, and Monday night, he was himself to the letter.”

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    • Hitler But Sadder says:

      Votto should be a true baseball fans wet dream to watch hit. Given his selectivity you know when he swings it should be a hard hit ball. Good comment– you are a fine American.

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  2. Bip says:

    I hope for Reds’ fans sake that Votto completely ignores all this crap and continues to do what makes him one of the best players in baseball. If he changed his approach for the sake of a crusty old coach and lost much of his value, it would be a tragedy.

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  3. AJT says:

    Excellent. That’s just about all I can say.

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  4. BSLJeffLong says:

    I wonder how Walt Jocketty feels? I mean he did hand Votto a massive contract. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s had 1-on-1 meetings with Votto telling him to ignore Dusty…

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  5. Cory says:

    This is awesome, but to analyze the skill of batting with reason and contrast it with Dusty Baker’s nonsense is shooting fish in a barrel.

    I hope Dusty gets the Reds to trade Votto to the Nats. We could use his “baseclogging” ability.

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    • Oppo Taco says:

      Woo! In that case, go Dusty Go!

      It’s hilarious that Votto can provide so much fantasy value (including an RBI!) and basically leave his bat at the hotel.

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    • Thinking Man says:

      The Nats would have to take up his whole deal probably, if you just traded 1b. Obviously there are various other more practical options, but whoever the Reds get (ie the Nats are willing to give up), they aren’t eating a lot of salary and have plenty of room to resign Choo long term and attract new pieces. Which is very bad for Washington, even an offensively strengthened Washington.

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    • Big Nerd says:

      Alternatively, the Reds could solve the problem by trading Dusty to the Nats.

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  6. Trotter76 says:

    The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants.

    “The pitch was up at Votto’s belly button. It was taken for a ball.”

    Maybe Votto would walk less if the strike zone hasn’t been shrunk down to just the crushable zone. That pitch at the belly button should be a strike, as most human belly buttons are south of the midpoint of the torso. The de facto upper limit of the strike zone has been changed to the belt.

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    • Bryz says:

      It’s hardly scientific, but I just did a quick test on myself. The midpoint between my shoulders and top of my pants is about 1-2 inches above my belly button. As far as I’m concerned, the ump may have shrunk the zone but it doesn’t sound as egregious as you were insinuating.

      Also, I could have sworn the top of the zone was at the letters. The more you know.

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    • Dave S says:

      Of course, this “issue” is instantly fixable. Robo umps… coming soon to a MLB park near you… just not soon enough.

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    • Anthony says:

      It’s interesting that you’re complaining that the strike zone has shrunk, given that walks per game have declined or held steady since 2009 and runs scored in baseball have declined or held relatively steady each year since 2006 per the baseball-reference yearly league averages. The hittable zone decreases in size as pitchers gain velocity, and if you’re looking for a way to increase aggressiveness on offense, taking away one of their few advantages over pitchers won’t help with that.

      Also isolated slugging has been steadier than league runs scored per game, although there is a slight decline since 2006, so I’m not sure that hitters are gaining an advantage from a “crushable zone”, just that it helps mitigate the impact of the faster pitchers.

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  7. Baltar says:

    I’m a Tampa fan, but Joey Votto is my favorite player. I’m willing to bet that never before in the history of baseball has an MVP asked himself, “How can I help the team more?” and decided to get on base more by walking.
    Frak Dusty Baker.

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  8. Billy says:

    Normally, I think we as fans should not criticize our favorite teams’ managers and presume we know better than they do. For every anti-saber-y move they make that blows up in their faces, there are probably dozens of things they do to help win ballgames based on their knowledge of the game that we never would have thought to do.

    That said, Dusty Baker is my exception, as his foolishness is exemplary. Plenty of other old baseball men have pooped on statistical analysis and I’ve forgiven them and figure if they truly understood, they’d be more positive. But I think it was when Dusty encouraged the players to fight (the whole Cueto, Garza incident) that he lost me. He both frowns upon intelligent efforts and encourages violence. At that point, you’re just a barbarian.

    I’m probably being too harsh on him. He may be a good man. I don’t know him. But sometimes he’s so ridiculous, I just don’t care.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      He had Brandon Phillips bunt (probably the 4th time he had his team bunt that game and killed their chances of winning, same game as the Matt Adams 2 HR game, the worst managed game I’ve ever seen), so no, he deserves every bit of hatred.

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  9. Cory says:

    He has JD Drew syndrome.

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  10. CubsOfTheNorth says:

    It was funny to hear the SNY guys mention that people have criticized Votto for acting like Ted Williams when runners are on base…we should all be so lucky to get such “criticism” in life.

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    • Ryan says:

      Loved watching the game with the SNY broadcasters. One of their other great comments was ‘There’s not a law against batting Jay Bruce 4th.”

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  11. Randy W says:

    If Baker keeps batting Ludwick behind Votto, he may walk in every plate appearance for the rest of the season.

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  12. KDL says:

    I’m too lazy to figure it out…but i wonder how Phillips’ and Bruce’s RBI totals would be effected if we took out all the times Votto walked and was driven in by one of those “run producers”.

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  13. Scrap Irony says:

    Is there a story I’ve missed in which Baker questions Votto’s patience at the plate?

    I’ve looked for it and can’t seem to find one.

    In fact, I haven’t seen any Red official say anything bad about Joey Votto’s approach at the plate other than a couple throwaway lines from one interview a month ago. And let’s look at those lines, shall we?

    “Maybe I’m a little different than the new sabermetrics guys, but it’s the chicken and the egg. Which one is more important? Getting on base or driving in runs? The name of the game is, ‘He who crosses home plate the most wins.’ So you’ve got to have somebody to cross home plate, and you’ve got to have somebody help him cross home plate.”

    Seems to me that Baker indicates Votto is the guy who’s getting on base, and that, while he’s been the guy driving others in before, in this instance, he’s doing the other thing.

    Castrovince might have another quote beyond that. However, all he wrote was his own summary of Baker’s next words, suggesting that he [Baker] isn’t happy with Votto’s patience.

    I question Baker’s moves– his insistence on sacrifice bunts and penchant for finding poor number two hitters among them– as much as the next guy. However, this seems to be more a case of tilting at a windmill that isn’t there or finding mountains among molehills.

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    • rebel.lion says:

      Listen to any of the Reds’ television broadcasts.

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard them mention their desire for Votto to “swing more” and that “he’s getting paid to hit.”

      Those specific instances and a couple more happened during a few minute long live look-in on MLB network. God knows how many times things like that were mentioned during last night’s broadcast.

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      • Scrap Irony says:

        Those commentators aren’t paid by the Reds.

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        • chuckb says:

          Don’t be naive. While every team’s announcers are technically paid by the network covering the team, the team always has input in to who announces the games and will force the network to fire the announcers if they say or do something the team doesn’t approve of.

          Brennamen in particular is little more than a shill for the Reds organization. He absolutely reflects the views of at least some in the Reds organization and is probably deliberately used by those people to put public pressure on Votto.

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  14. Big Nerd says:

    The passivity index should be “the most aggressive you can imagine a guy being and still doing what he did.” In the vernacular, what would Vladimir Guerrero or Pete Rose have done?

    The intentional walk would then be a “baby rattlesnake.” Pete only swung at those one time in his career.

    All in all, given that Votto got maybe 3 strikes in 5 PAs, means he could be a very aggressive hitter indeed and still end up with the same outcome.

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    • Dave S says:

      You understand that Pete Rose is #14 on the all-time MLB walk list, right?

      Pete Rose was certainly “aggressive” as a ballplayer. Part of that aggression was he was AT WAR with the pitcher in every single at bat. And he understood that a walk was win for him in that at bat. He was outstanding at pitch recognition. He worked counts relentlessly, and was never above taking a walk.

      I could easily envision Pete taking a walk in every one of the Votto situations described above.

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      • E-Dub says:

        Interestingly, it has come out this year that Votto and Rose have forged a friendship, and discuss approaches to situational hitting fairly regularly. I have a hard time believing that Rose would argue for being more aggressive for exactly the reasons Dave S cites.

        Votto has made it clear that his mission this year is to avoid making outs. Will he be above expanding the strike zone a bit in a post-season situation that demands it? I doubt it. We’re talking about a very methodical, disciplined, thoughtful individual here, and the Reds are paying as much for those attributes as they are his actual production.

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  15. LongTimeFan says:

    This is the problem with doling out these enormous contracts, in Votto’s case an obscene 10 year 225 mil deal for a player who insists on doing his own thing. What we have here is a lifetime .315 hitter who at 30, hasn’t even reached the 1,000 hit plateau. What Votto is, is an overpaid high K, high BB player who is being paid the mega bucks of a traditional middle of the order power hitter to walk and strikeout. Consider that as of September 23rd, his 707 plate appearances have netted 57 extra base hits. The rest of his reaching base, involves getting no further than first base on his own. That’s a lot of money for that kind of dependency on others to advance him around the bases.

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    • bdhudson says:

      There are so many things to argue with here that it hurts a little bit. He’s played roughly five full seasons, has racked up 33 WAR, has a career .963 OPS (3rd in the majors since 2007, fwiw), and a career wRC+ of 156 (also 3rd in the majors since 2007 behind Miggy and two years of Trout). If he had 2,000 singles and no walks in his career, it would be the same, would it not? So who gives a damn about the hit plateau?

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      • LongTimeFan says:

        But a player with his ability has a lot more in that bat besides singles. And much of that .438 OBP lands him on first base where the onus is then on his teammates to get him home and/or drive in runners already on base that Votto passes off to his teammates.

        Look what happened Monday – 5 walks for Votto and mega numbers opportunity left stranded by Ludwick behind him time and time again. The Reds were very fortunate to win that game in the 10th. Had it been against an experienced, better offensive team, chances are Reds would have lost in regulation.

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        • bdhudson says:

          So it’s Votto’s fault that Ludwick sucks?

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        • bdhudson says:

          And regardless, he’s been the third best offensive player in baseball by several metrics since 2007. Why should he change that approach?

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        • E-Dub says:

          “the onus is then on his teammates to get him home and/or drive in runners already on base that Votto passes off to his teammates.”

          Gah. Yes, it’s his fault when hitters behind him in the order don’t drive him in because part of his responsibility is to set. Little known fact, Votto sets the lineup each game. lol

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      • LongTimeFan says:

        Bhudson – I might also add that a single can drive in as many as two baserunners and set up first and third whereas a walk drives in no one unless obtained with bases juiced.

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      • ReuschelCakes says:

        his comment is asinine and you are spot on… except that singles > walks… i 100% agree that Votto’s approach > Dusty’s suggestion… but 1 single > 1 walk

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  16. LongTimeFan says:

    Not Votto’s fault but one must consider situational baseball and be flexible to adjust accordingly. Votto will adjust as he says for tie in the 9th, but for much of the game will stick to his ways regardless of situation. I think that’s a problem.

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    • bdhudson says:

      It appears you didn’t read this, so I leave it here for you.

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      • LongTimeFan says:

        Thank you.

        There are different ways to produce runs. I just think he has the talent to produce more with runners on if he would opt to walk less and swing the bat more.

        To that end, perhaps he also wouldn’t strikeout as much if he developed greater proficiency to make contact on strikes that aren’t quite where he wants them …that he won’t swing outside his desired zone, unless it’s potential strike three. 135 K’s is a lot and I think that the potential exists for teams to really exploit his game plan should they stop fearing his mega plate discipline and reputation.

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        • Izzy says:

          Well, they certainly haven’t figured out how to exploit him yet. You know what types of hitters are easy to exploit? The kinds that constantly chase pitches out of the strike zone.

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        • E-Dub says:

          “I think that the potential exists for teams to really exploit his game plan”

          Yes, because teams don’t exploit glaring flaws quickly at the highest levels of the game, and they haven’t had many years to do so in this case. Considering the site you’re posting this to, this is perilously close to trolling.

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  17. Interesting says:

    Dusty Baker 9/28/80; 0-0 with 5 walks

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  18. LongTimeFan says:

    Dusty Baker was a feared hitter, I remember him well.

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  19. Ctownboy says:

    Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals has 25 more hits than Votto, 25 more doubles, about half as many home runs and walks and bats lead off for a team that plays in a hitter neutral ball park. Yet he has scored 25 more runs and has four more rbi. Should he get a 10 year, $225 million dollar contract?

    Daniel Murphy of the Mets has eight more hits, six more doubles 14 more stolen bases, 11 fewer home runs and 101 fewer walks than Votto. he also plays his home games in a neutral to pitcher friendly park yet he has eight fewer runs and three more rbi than Votto. Should he be given a 10 year, $225 million dollar contract extension?

    The problem with Votto and why people are complaining is that he is a better hitter than Adam Dunn yet is turning into Dunn by taking so many walks. Dunn wouldn’t swing at outside pitches and hit the ball to the opposite field. Votto can and does do those things yet because he is sooooo selective he doesn’t take advantage of what is being given to him.

    Votto plays in a hitter friendly ball park and bats third in the order. He was given the big contract extension in 2012 after hitting .324 with a .600 slugging percentage, 37 home runs and 113 rbi’s in 2010 and .309 with a .531 slugging percentage, 29 home runs and 103 rbi’s in 2011.

    Since ball players’ peak years (non-steroid era) are either between 26 and 29 or 27 and 30, Votto was just at the start of those years when he was given the extension. The money, no doubt, was given to him with the idea being that he would hit between .310 to .330 with 30 to 40 home runs and 120+ rbis for the next few years and thus be more productive than what he was getting paid.

    Of course, the downside of the extension was that he was going to be OVERPAID for the backside of the contract. But the feeling was, that was six or so years away before the slide was going to occur.

    However, if Votto keeps this obsession with not swinging at marginal pitches and not hitting the ball, his peak power years are going to be gone and that overpay for the latter years is going to be bigger than what was originally expected.

    I GUARANTEE in four or five years, when Votto’s hand eye coordination isn’t as good, his bat speed has slowed (or he is getting injured and spending more time on the DL) and he isn’t producing very well, the same fans and writers that are fellating him now will be griping that he is overpaid, isn’t worth the money and is costing the Reds wins and the chance to get better because they can’t afford to pay other players. They will also be wishing that he could be traded or that he would have hit for more power and driven in more runs earlier in the contract so that these down years weren’t so expensive.

    Go to the Reds’ boards and even his biggest fans have said and are still saying that the latter years of the contract are going to be ugly. So, a big reason for the outrage NOW about Votto and all of the walks is because the fans were told for years that Cincinnati was a “small market” and couldn’t afford to pay better players the big money. Then they went out and gave $300 million dollars worth of contract extensions to Votto and Phillips.

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    • AJK says:

      Yeah, I mean, if Matt Carpenter continues to hit like Manny Ramirez as a 2B, he should get paid. Daniel Murphy is…basically a decent chap with gap power and a name that’s fun to say if you say it in Rick James’ “Charlie Murphy!” voice?

      I don’t get why people anonymously attribute “anger” and “outrage” to the Reds? Because come on, these are the best Reds of my young memory, I’m basically ending every night going “WEEEE! I get to watch Joey Votto!” and so are most other Reds fans I know. Sure, he may not be as good at 38, but as long as the Reds can develop pitching and complementary parts, they’ll be fine. Which makes them no different than any other team in baseball.

      Reds ownership basically was caught between having Votto an eventually-overpaid Red-for-life or having him walk at the end of this year because he came up at age 24. I know the eventual downside of the contract, but I’m having a blast now. And it’ll be nice in November knowing that I’ll probably have a blast next year, and the year after that…

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    • Izzy says:

      One thing a walk often does is move someone else into scoring position. When Votto walks he may not drive anyone in or wind up scoring but he often does increase the chances of someone else scoring. Those don’t show up in his RBIs and runs scored but it does help the team score more runs which is much more important.

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      • LongTimeFan says:

        The way to exploit his weaknesses is to push him off the plate rather than allow him to own it. P

        itchers also need to get ahead and throw strikes in zones where it’s known he won’t swing unless he has to such as with two strikes. Certainly his many K’s provide patterns of weakness that can be exploited to the opposition’s advantage.

        Furthermore, pitchers and catchers should work to disrupt his rhythm by varying the timing between pitches in multitude of ways.

        And lastly, work with catchers for maximum use of pitcher-firendly framing. They have to break the pattern of getting favorable calls by home plate umps.

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        • MB says:

          How many of those extra swings of the bat would go for outs. I’m guessing more than 6 out of 10 based on his, admittedly high, BABIPs. How many of those walks go for outs?

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        • E-Dub says:

          “it’s known he won’t swing unless he has to such as with two strikes.”

          It’s almost like you didn’t read the article above. Votto clearly did not wait until a two-strike count to swing. The only advantage a pitcher could conceivably have is to know which of his pitches Votto is targeting — Votto is on the record as determining which pitch he thinks he can do the most with from a particular pticher — and even then you’d have to guess right and/or execute it in optimal mnanner that disallows good contact. Honestly, it’s like you’re not familiar with the player, his stated approach, or his body of work.

          Regarding the contract, no matter what he does now (and leaving aside the fact that what he does now is phenomenal and you’re wrong about its efficacy), the moaning and groaning over the final years is a lock. The only reason current context matters is that you’re laying the groundwork for future mischaracterization of what he provided.

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        • E-Dub says:

          “The way to exploit his weaknesses is to push him off the plate rather than allow him to own it. P

          itchers also need to get ahead and throw strikes in zones where it’s known he won’t swing unless he has to such as with two strikes.”

          You’re right. All pitchers have to do is command their offerings perfectly. Problem solved!

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    • E-Dub says:

      “he is a better hitter than Adam Dunn yet is turning into Dunn by taking so many walks.”

      You guys are setting back Reds fandom by at least a decade…

      +9 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • ValueArb says:

      “Yet he has scored 25 more runs and has four more rbi”

      So ClownBoy you are saying carpenter is better cause his team mates are better at getting on base and driving him in?

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    • NS says:

      “If Matt Carpenter is a 7 WAR player year in and year out, should he too get paid as if he is one of the most valuable players in baseball? I mean really!”

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  20. Youthful Enthusiast says:

    If they’re so upset about him being too passive, maybe they can trade him for Josh Hamilton. Let them learn their lesson about plate discipline.

    +15 Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. Spit Ball says:

    This would be his first go at free angency, this winter. That contract would not be out there on the open market. I know Cincinnati is going to have to pay a premium for homegrown players of this magnitude but……the Red Sox didn’t have to give AGON money quite like what Votto got. Take that as you will. A young Wade Boggs would deserve the Votto contract more than Votto if you are A WAR believer. No really, look it up.

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    • LK says:

      Joey Votto is better than A-Gon and Boggs was one of the best baseball players in MLB history, so…I’m not sure what your point is?

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    • jorgesca says:

      Yeah he would have gotten at least a 6 year with probably the same or more average salary

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  22. MFG says:

    One of these for Joe Mauer, please.

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  23. chief00 says:

    I like the fact that Vladimir “Baby Rattlesnake” Guerrero and Joey “Dead Tree” Votto are both excellent despite having dissimilar (opposite?) approaches at the plate. I expect that anyone who saw Vladdy’s OBP and thought ‘Geez, if he wasn’t so aggressive and walked more he’d be a great lead-off or #2 hitter’ was out of a job before too long. Votto’s propensity to walk and Vladdy’s uber-aggressiveness are individual strengths upon which a good team can capitalize.

    The Reds’ responsibility is to recognize the inherent value of his approach and prepare the line-up and any subsequent offensive strategy accordingly. I expect that their record reflects this very thing. If they hadn’t done it, they’d be losing more frequently.

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  24. Tim says:

    There are 31 hitters with over 200 plate appearances that swing less often than Votto in 2013. Votto is actually swinging more and walking less this year than he did in 2012, so this whole thing is laughable. Get over it. Phillips has had more chances and has more RBI this year and probably won’t ever again. Votto will be 95-110 RBI in 2014 if he is healthy, luck factors into the RBI totals.

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  25. Tim says:

    Joe Mauer great example, swings less than Votto yet produces less walks, less RBI, and less HRs. I would take Votto any day for equal contract value over Mauer. I am a Twins fan and all of this conversation should be with Mauer’s name put in place of Votto for every one of these comments saying it’s a negative. The Reds have Phillips, Choo, Bruce who all either can set up for or knock Votto in. The Twins have such a lack of talent on this roster that Mauer taking walks to try and set up someone else with minor league talent is a complete disgrace.

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  26. Jasper says:

    Great real life player, not worth a first round pick in fantasy.

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  27. Gyre says:

    Based on Weds game, Votto must have read this blog. Note that the Reds were pwned by the METS today, since Joey was swinging at everything.

    I think I’d be more pissed at putting an inept hitter at leadoff than some later batter having poor protection and walking down to first all game.

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  28. Bruce says:

    Three years ago Votto was actually feared for what he could do with bat(a la Pujuls and Fielder). That’s what he got the big contract for. Now, after watching 100 plus of the Reds games this year, Votto looks like his first thought is to draw the walk. Ya, he swings at strikes but he misses way to many. For the money he’s making and the number of strikeouts he’s got he should have 30+ HR’s and 120+ RBI’s. Those numbers (not WALKS) put “butts in the seats’, which pays his salary. Somewhere, Pete must be looking at the money Votto’s making and be thinking he was born waay too soon. And as long as I’m venting on Votto(and I could vent on a lot of Reds), who told him “matador” defense was the way to play first base. A tee ball player would get benched for playing defense like he does.

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  29. Tim says:

    Votto gets paid to help the Reds produce runs, if pitchers pitch around him what is he supposed to do swing at out of the zone pitches in order to be labeled “aggressive”. Instead of complaining about 135 K’s all of you would be talking about 160+ Ks. Of the 354 players with over 200 plate appearances in 2013 Votto is 119th in swinging strike %. That means 235 of 354 regular players swing and miss more often than Votto. Phillips and Bruce can in part thank Votto for the nice seasons they are having. If other teams don’t go after Votto in the strike zone they have to go after other players on the Reds in order to produce outs. I really can’t believe guys are complaining about wanting him to chase more pitches and be less productive for his team. Craziness. You really think if Votto wasn’t walking or getting on base at this rate and instead he was free swinging with 40-50 walks your team would be better off offensively or record wise? Please trade the Twins Votto in exchange for Mauer if you think this way.

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  30. Tim says:

    Butts don’t get put in the seats to watch guys hit home runs, only to watch your team lose. Those butts come and sit in those seats to see your winning team play. Pick one team…Team A – 183 HR(2nd in MLB) and 70-89 record (25th in avg attendance, or Team B – 122 HR (27th in MLB) and 94-65 record (3rd in attendance). Your ideas and dreams about more HR = more butts in seats is a false dream of 1998-2002. Please only post if you have an idea of what you are blabbing about Bruce. 120+ RBIs is a think of the past, only 3 players in MLB will reach that in 2013. Your are mad that Votto on top of 1/5 of his plate appearances end in a walk he also has 30 2B and 24 HR? Seriously listen to yourself or look before you type. Guess who sees more pitches per PA than Votto, hits less HRs, walks less, and creates less runs per out for his team??? Yep Shin-Soo Choo! There aren’t any posts on here this long complaining about Choo walking too much or about him hitting .240 with RISP. Wake up!

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  31. Tim says:

    Of players with 350+ PAs in 2013 Votto ranks, 7th in runs scored, 23rd in AVG, 2nd in OBP, 30th in slugging, tied for 2nd in intentional walks with 19. All you Reds fans can you name 30+ position players you would rather have instead of Votto regardless of pay? How about can you name 30+ hitters more deserving of $25 million per season? If that’s what the market rate is for the top hitter on a team how can you argue that he isn’t a top 30 hitter and could in theory be the best hitter on any other team? Obviously there may be other better hitters but he is easily a top 50 hitter if not top 20, quit complaining. My impression of a fan the playoff bound Reds team is waaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

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  32. Tim says:

    What is the next Reds post? If Bruce has 180+ strikeouts he should have 50+ 2B, 45+ HR and 135+ RBI? LOL. Or will it be Leake and Bailey aren’t really doing very good this year? LOL ENJOY THE SEASON.

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  33. georgmi says:

    If Cincinnati is unhappy with the way Votto plays the game, I can think of twenty-nine other teams who would love to discuss taking him off the Reds’ hands. Even with the huge contract, I bet there are twenty.

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  34. Dan says:

    Votto was 35th in Zone Swing Percentage (67%) out of 141 batters with at least 500 PAs last season. I’d say that’s a pretty darn aggressive approach. He just doesn’t swing at balls (20%, good for best in baseball). Pablo Sandoval, he is not. You can’t complain about a guy who ONLY SWINGS AT GOOD PITCHES TO HIT. 106 other batters don’t swing at good pitches as often. Instead, they swing at bad ones and make outs. Votto for president.

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