2014 Reds / Joey Votto is Perfect

Votto interview tonight

More fuel for the topic of the day week month season. If nothing else, this starts a new thread.

Joey Votto gave a fairly long interview to Lance McAlister tonight around 6:15. He discussed his thoughts about the Bryan Price hire (mostly bleh sports cliché stuff) and the “A” word (ducked it). Gave props to Scott Rolen’s influence.

Where things got interesting was the in-depth discussion of Votto’s hitting approach. Lance asked the former MVP directly about Walt Jocketty’s comments this week, about the possibility of batting second and asked him if he felt he batted more passively this year.

Lots of interesting explanation of his hitting approach from JV. Late in the interview he certainly implies that his knee injury affected him through the first two thirds of the season.

Enjoy.

48 thoughts on “Votto interview tonight

  1. I just got through listening to it. It was a good interview. First, for me, Joey Votto doesn’t seem to speak very well extemporaneously.

    Second, if he wants to please the fans directly, he can do that by just signing more autographs. But, his first priority should be what goes in between the lines.

    Third, with a bunch of the talk recently about making adjustments and not changing, Votto said himself how he constantly is looking for changes he can make. Again, that’s what players do, as well as coaches, managers, and clubs. For, if you don’t, the other teams learn how to limit your effectiveness and, thus, start beating you.

    He took Walt’s words exactly how they were meant, that his numbers this past season don’t show a #3 hitter but of something else, like a #2 hitter, exactly what the SABR’s support. No one ever said he wasn’t an effective hitter last season. His numbers just show he would have been a more effective #2 hitter last season. I’d even support he was still effective as a #3 hitter; his numbers support he would have just been more effective as a #2 hitter.

    He underestimated his RBI pace last season; it was just over 100 RBI’s, which means his RBI’s dropped 30% this season, with a league leader in OBP in front of him this season yet, not like last season.

    Since Votto admits he’s always looking for changes he needs to make, it was fairly easy for me to see from last season. Votto likes to go deep into counts. Other teams were seeing it was fairly easy to get him to 2 strikes. After that, they started nibbling the edges, which would result in one of 4 things:

    1) walking – more than he ever has
    2) striking out looking – more than he ever has by almost double the amount
    3) striking out swinging – combined with #2, again, the most he’s ever done
    4) weak hits – which shows in the fewest extra base hits he’s ever had, including 2011 (he had more extra base hits last year even though missing much of the season)

    I don’t know if he was trying to hit more HR’s this past season, trying to push or pull the ball more this past season, or whatever. But, it seems obvious to me, some kind of adjustment needs to be done. It may not ever be from Votto adjusting his swing. It could be from the manager moving him to the #2 hole. It could be from the club finding a real #4 hitter to put behind him. Or, it could come from Votto, for instance, not making it so easy for other teams to get 2 strikes on him somehow, whether by adjusting his batting philosophy or his swing or whatever.

    • @steveschoen: Votto sounds a bit halting at times because he’s thoughtful. Mostly he sounds intelligent. I guess you expect him to sound like a professional announcer, which he isn’t. Your gratuitous personal attack on his speaking style and his expression of wanting to please Reds fans (horrors) seems to betray a hang-up on your part.

      So does your distortion of some “facts” you present.

      (1) A healthy Votto was on pace in 2012 for 94 RBI. He had 47 on June 29 when he got hurt. 94 is not “just over 100″ any more than 73 is just over 80.

      (2) Votto struck out looking 44 times this season, which was 32% of his overall strikeouts. His career average is 24%, in 2009 it was 26%, in 2010 it was 23% and last year it was 22%. Yes, it was higher, but not “more than he ever has by almost double the amount.” As he said in the interview, until this happens again, he views it as a one-year aberration.

      (3) His overall strikeout rate was 19% last year, which is well in line with his career number. In 2010 (his MVP year) he struck out 19.3% of his AB. So he didn’t have more strike outs swinging, as you imply, in fact he had fewer than 2010 or 2011.

      (4) As far as “weak hits,” he had the highest line-drive rate of his career (31%) by far, other than his abbreviated call-up year.

      You completely ignore the explanation of the lingering effect of his knee injury sapping his power.

      If your point is simply, Joey Votto is a great hitter, one of the best in the National League, he just doesn’t hit with enough power to bat third in the lineup, then why don’t you just say that?

      • @Steve Mancuso:
        Steve;
        I posted this on 9/27/13 and I have edited it to fit this post.
        After watching Votto this season I decided to follow up on a notion of mine. I was prompted to do this after watching many fly balls to center and left-center being caught well short of the wall and heard Jeff Brantley use the expression that a batter really “back legged that swing”
        From an Associated Press article on February 15, 2013 http://espn.go.com/mlb/spring2013/story/_/id/8953100/joey-votto-cincinnati-reds-says-knee-not-perfect-feels-really-good
        The writer (un-named) interviewed Votto and the following are some quotes from that piece;
        When he returned, the knee wasn’t back to full strength, and it showed in his swing. The NL’s 2010 MVP was reduced to hitting mostly singles.
        Votto knew he would be limited when he returned. Unable to push off his left leg as much as normal, he became more of a singles hitter. Pitches that he would drive into the gaps when healthy never made it to the wall.
        In the last 25 games of the 2012 season, Votto hit .316 with eight doubles. He hit .389 in the division series against San Francisco, but all seven of his hits were singles.
        “I knew what I could and couldn’t do,” Votto said. “I tried to make the most of it. Despite the lack of power, I was pretty proud of what I did do.”
        About the 2013 season Joey said;
        “They (doctors, trainers) had very positive things to say, but ultimately the real test is on the field,” Votto said. “I am just trying to get my legs back to 100 percent. It’s not perfect ( his left leg), but I think that after surgery, my expectations — realistically you’re not going to be perfect five months out.”

        My thoughts;
        If Votto’s leg wasn’t 100% perfect this March, does it make sense that it would get better playing baseball every day (he has started every game)? First, many people whine that he walks too much, local media writers mention that at his salary he should be this or that, as if salary could make a difference in performance. Would more money make a writer write better? When you look at Votto’s results so far this year does anything look familiar? Looks like the games he played after coming off the DL. The quote that rings loudest to me is this one; “I knew what I could and couldn’t do,” Votto said. “I tried to make the most of it.
        Making the most of it could mean getting on base by whatever means possible and give his team mates a better chance to drive in runs and win the game. Numbers aside, because there so many available that most use only the ones that support their theory, (Global Warming anyone) in my humble opinion is we have been watching the best one-legged first baseman in MLB “make the most of it” all year.
        Updated; 10/26/13
        WE should know that circumstances change and last year Votto may have been better suited ar #2 in the line up but that was last year. With a stronger back leg in 2014 he may be better suited as the #4 hitter with Bruce in the #3 spot.

        Keep up the great effort.

        • @George M: Good analysis. In the interview, Joey makes reference (paraphrasing) to not just being able to jump start in August. I think he was saying that he didn’t feel fully recovered from the knee surgery until August this year and by then he was just a little bit too worn down to essentially start the season over. I’ve also heard him say that while he felt healthy in March, the knee rehab prevented him from getting prepared for the season.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Actually Steve is right, Joey doesn’t sound that intelligent when talking. He obviously is, but he doesn’t sound that way, I think due in part to his personality is not that of a person that enjoys conversations with people he doesn’t know well. That being said, I think as blog writers, you should be a little less defensive of criticisms of Joey Votto, if you blog about pro players, people will agree and disagree, don’t be so sensitive and defensive. Joey will be alright, he even said in his interview, he realizes, that’s part of what he signed up for.

        Things I took from the interview.

        Joey cares about his team, fans, and city.

        He isn’t afraid to take on and respond to criticism and doesn’t need to lash out when criticized.

        He DOES however have a lack of understanding of how important it is to knock in a run when you have the chance, rather than hoping the guy behind you will do it.

        • @Bubba Ho-Tep: I can only speak for myself on what you see as defensiveness. I don’t think JV is above criticism – in fact I’ve been highly critical of the non-hitting aspects of his game in 2013. It’s also obvious that he wasn’t hitting with as much power this year as prior to his injury.

          What I do push back against is the notion that Joey Votto needs to change his approach at the plate. He demonstrates a keen understanding of what it takes to create runs. You not only look at the RBI side, but also the get on base/advance runners side. Those are both important for run creation. Get on base, drive in runs. If you listen to what he says, he tries to balance those approaches. He tries to get hits when he swings the bat and he only swings the bat when the ball is in the strike zone.

          The divide on this issue is between the people who want Votto to change the way he hits and those who don’t.

          Among people in the latter group, I haven’t heard a single person oppose the idea of moving him to the #2 spot. If people feel like the #3 hitter should have more power than Votto showed last year, and if they have someone else in mind to hit with more power, fine.

          As for me, I don’t think there’s that much difference between what a #2 hitter and #3 hitter should be trying to do. Except the #2 hitter gets about 15 more at bats to do it. So if Bryan Price moves Votto up, that’s fine with me. And fine with Joey, too.

        • @Bubba Ho-Tep:

          What I do push back against is the notion that Joey Votto needs to change his approach at the plate.

          Steve, I never “only said” that Votto needs to make an adjustment. I’ve always said “an adjustment needs to be made”. I’ve always said players do it every season, if not every game, if not from pitch to pitch. Coaches will do it with the players. Managers will do it. Clubs will do it. Joey even said himself during the interview how he will make changes (aka adjustments). So, I don’t understand why so many people think Joey doesn’t have to change anything. Joey himself says he changes things.

          As for structuring a team, I am simply one of many who would look to have more of a power game, more RBI’s, etc., probably similar to what Walt was referring to. Where, if Joey can’t follow through, that’s fine. We would just look at doing something with him in the 2 hole, what his numbers this past year would show. Lord, it could be something as easy as he needs to get a contact lens prescription or something.

      • @Steve Mancuso: Steve, I would expect from a person who has been interviewed as many times as he’s surely been since he turned professional so many years ago that he wouldn’t need to “um” himself so much. Essentially, it’s a slight stuttering or “thought process” problem. It’s nothing terrible; it’s happened with even the most intelligent of people. But, it is a problem, not from being thoughtful. People are still thoughtful and can get words out better than that. He simply needs to slow down and not think he needs to answer right that moment.

        Second, I resent the “distortion” aspect. For the RBI’s, I simply used an incorrect figure. When I was looking at the numbers to use, I used the “73″ from this year for last years RBI total. A simple mistake that I will admit to. But, “distortion” would imply that it was intentional. It was anything but that.

        Second, I don’t see how there is any other distortion. It has been pointed out quite well that he struck out looking 44 times last season. Before that, his high was stated to be 24, I believe. That is an increase of 83.33%. From 24 to 44, 83.33%, that’s within my range of “almost double”. If not yours, that’s fine. But, distorted? Nope.

        Neither were his K’s, 135, beats his previous high by 25. As I specified, “the most he ever has”.

        As for weak hits, you call for “line drives”. I simply call for extra base hits, which in fact he had fewest he’s ever had, even with more PA.

        As for his knee, Steve, from the USA Today, “Votto says his left knee, which he had surgery on twice last year, is not a factor.” So, it doesn’t sound like to me I am ignoring it. If it was hurting him, it would sound like Votto himself is ignoring it.

        The reason why I said what I said, Steve, is because people keep getting on here and asking for “proof this and proof that” when in fact, like obviously here with you and me with this, it is simply a matter of how you and I define or spin something.

        • @steveschoen:

          I would expect from a person who has been interviewed as many times as he’s surely been since he turned professional so many years ago that he wouldn’t need to “um” himself so much. Essentially, it’s a slight stuttering or “thought process” problem. It’s nothing terrible; it’s happened with even the most intelligent of people. But, it is a problem, not from being thoughtful.

          Do you know how absurdly ridiculous you sound in criticising someone’s public speaking ability when that has nothing to do with his avocation
          or profession?

        • @steveschoen: Complaining about his speaking ability is petty, at best.

          You’re still wrong about a bunch of the rest of stats (which are trivially easy to look up).

          Votto had 28 and 29 K’s looking in previous years. If you’re going to insist that 83% is about 100% then aren’t 73 RBI about 90?

          Votto’s pecentage of “looking strikes” out of all strikes was lower in 2013 (29%) than in 2012 (33%).

          His total strikeouts (which you have wrong, it was 138) were only a bit higher than his total in 2010 (125) and in 2011 (129). And as I pointed out before, when you take into account he had almost 80 plate appearances more in 2013 than he did in 2010, his K% was lower this year than his MVP year.

          This isn’t about spin. You don’t have the most basic facts straight to make your point.

          Votto, for whatever reason, probably his knee, hit for a little less power this year than past years. Otherwise, his numbers were well in line with past seasons. He led the NL in OBP and set and all-time club record for times on base, which is a hugely important contribution to creating runs.

          If you want someone with more power hitting third, go for it. Who would that be?

          But you certainly haven’t made any case that he should change his approach.

        • @Steve Mancuso: I don’t really see how you can call criticising the way Votto communicates, whe we just witnessed a season of complains here about Dusty Baker’s speaking.

        • @steveschoen: Complaining about his speaking ability is petty, at best.

          You’re still wrong about a bunch of the rest of stats (which are trivially easy to look up).

          Votto had 28 and 29 K’s looking in previous years. If you’re going to insist that 83% is about 100% then aren’t 73 RBI about 90?

          Votto’s pecentage of “looking strikes” out of all strikes was lower in 2013 (29%) than in 2012 (33%).

          His total strikeouts (which you have wrong, it was 138) were only a bit higher than his total in 2010 (125) and in 2011 (129). And as I pointed out before, when you take into account he had almost 80 plate appearances more in 2013 than he did in 2010, his K% was lower this year than his MVP year.

          This isn’t about spin. You don’t have the most basic facts straight to make your point.

          Votto, for whatever reason, probably his knee, hit for a little less power this year than past years. Otherwise, his numbers were well in line with past seasons. He led the NL in OBP and set and all-time club record for times on base, which is a hugely important contribution to creating runs.

          If you want someone with more power hitting third, go for it. Who would that be?

          But you certainly haven’t made any case that he should change his approach.

          Darn it Steve stop with facts.

        • @Steve Mancuso: Two things, Steve.

          First, you haven’t made a case that he shouldn’t change something. Second, Joey said himself that he is always trying to make some changes.

      • @TC: I agree. It just can make for a difficult listening for some. I use to do it myself. For many with it, they just simply have to slow down their thoughts and speech.

        Geez, I felt I simply made the comment as something simple. And, so many taking it so seriously and like I insulted Votto or something. I can probably guarantee you that he knows of this himself.

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  3. Steve, I haven’t listen to the interview yet. I will soon. I can certainly see Joey changes his approach and not getting in a two strike situation as much. I can not see Joey changes the mechanics of his swing. Where do you see flaw or concern there?

    • @CleatsOn: Not that much in on the situation and research, Cleats. Sorry. But, it could be anything. It could be mechanics. It could be approach. It could be he simply needs to get a contact lens prescription, which I would still consider as an adjustment. But, I do believe something needs to be done, at least for what I look for from a #3 hitter. For, I don’t think we will be able to bank on BP nor Ludwick on batting in 100 RBI’s next season. And, Bruce just did it for the first time himself last season. Unless we get someone for the 4 hole, the next position RBI’s would come from, I would look for, would be from the 3 hole hitter. As for who we have, I would look for 100 RBI’s from Votto before someone like Frazier or Hanigan.

      • @steveschoen: And, the thing is, going by the interview, I’m confident Joey will look for whatever he can change. And, if nothing works, and we still get what we got this past season, as his numbers show, we should probably be moving him to the 2 hole.

        It could even be that his knee was still bothering him more than he ever let on to anyone including everyone on this blog. Another reason why I wonder why Baker ever let him play a full 162 game season with no days off.

  4. Nothing new from the McAlister interview, but I really like listening to Joey talk about hitting. Once again Joey was very diplomatic and accomodating regarding the criticism directed against him and his hitting performance in 2013. Once again he made the point that his desire is to get a hit, specifically when an RBI opportunity is available, but his approach is not to give up an out under any circumstances. His goal is to get a hit in order to keep the cycle going and create additional opportunities for the hitters behind him. He will not give up a ground ball out, even to drive in a run, and if the opportunity is not presented to get a hit, sometimes the AB results in a walk and that result is better than an out.

    • @Shchi Cossack: And, that’s something that could very well be iffy. I mean, let’s see, hit the ball, even if a groundout, we score a run. Get a walk, we don’t necessarily score a run but we keep batting. Simply put, I would think our best chance at driving in runs would be with Votto over anyone else on the team.

      There’s just so many factors. Most simply, the pitcher has to give Votto something to hit as well. I mean, if it’s 4 balls all outside, Votto doesn’t stand a chance of getting wood on it.

  5. The other take-away I had from the interview was Joey’s comment that the criticism just makes him scratch his head. Joey is a supreme student of hitting and the game. Joey is also his own strongest critic. He didn’t mention it during this interview because it didn’t come up, but he has previously stated his defense was attrocious and unacceptable during 2013 and I don’t think anyone would argue that fact. What he did state during the interview was that he was very happy with his hitting and his contribution at the plate to the team during 2013. Joey felt his hitting during 2013 maximized his effectiveness and contributions to the team. This was from the single strongest critic of Joey Votto, himself. Shoot, he was even criticized for being to vocal and inappropriate in self citicism when was dissatified wiht his performance. Joey stated that he felt the specific criticism of not driving in runs or a lack of RBIs was focusing on a single isolated aspect of his performance without looking at the big picture and the total contribution to the team. I will give a lot of credibility to Joey and his own self-analysis over any of the criticism I have seen anywhere else.

    • @Shchi Cossack: That was a couple of things there, too, Cossack, for me. He said Baker let him be himself. But, then, Baker called him out for the F-bomb.

      Also, Joey may have “felt” he maximized his effectiveness. But, many don’t feel he did. Like I posted earlier, if it came up to anyone driving in a run on this team, I would look for Votto to do it, not the person behind Votto and let Votto just take a walk.

        • @dmr11: dmr, it sounds like you just substantiated again why a change needs to be made. As I specified myself, “Nibbling at the edges”, that would/could also mean, “When the ball is not in the strike zone”.

  6. Oh, and reagrding WJ’s comment, Joey had an equally sound analysis and response. Joey didn’t view the comment as criticism but a simple statement of the obvious and he didn’t disagree with the statement. One interesting moment came in his response to WJ’s comment when he made the statement that he had no problem hitting anywhere in the order. He actually started to say hitting #2, but caught himself and changed the response to anywhere. Joey take on the comment was more of a ‘how does the team maximize Joey’s contribution’ rather than a critical statement of any shortcoming.

    As Steve mentioned, Joey did reference his two knee surgeries and without specifically stating a cause and effect relationship, indicated that a cause and effect relationship existed from his return in 2012 through August of 2013.

    • @Shchi Cossack: That’s what I thought about WJs comments too. I know from the context it could seem like it was a threat by WJ to move Votto if he didn’t start doing the things they expect of him. I just don’t think the intent was negative. I heard it as “We’d like for him to hit like he did in 2011. If he can’t fill that role, we’ll change his role to something he is more suited to do.”

  7. Every time I see a Joey interview I can’t help but compare and contrast it to many many other sports interviews I’ve seen from various players in various sports in various cities over the years. I think we are absolutely blessed to have him as the face of the current Reds.

  8. Now I would like to introduce an item I came across earlier this week that I haven’t seen discussed.

    http://chrishaft.mlblogs.com/2013/10/22/notion-of-sandoval-trade-not-far-fetched/

    Chris Haft/MLB.com was reviewing the discontent of SF with the Panda and suggested that SF was open, if not looking, to trade the Panda with one season remaining before he hits FA. The focus was obtaining a ‘serviceable’ SP, but also referenced obtaining a 2B with Scuttaro moving over to 3B to improve his defensive short-comings.

    That possibility immediately redirected my thoughts to Brandon Phillips. Could this be the win-win trade both teams may be looking for to resolve a problem? SF gets a GG caliber 2B under contract for 4 years. Cincinati gets one year of marginal defense at 3B with a 120+ OPS from a switch-hitting, middle-of-the-order slugger. Frazier will probably transition his superb defense to 2B and produce equally good offense from 2B (probably better with Phillips declining production). Cincinnati would also have the opportunity to make a qualifying FA offer to Panda who will only be 28 and entering his prime after the 2014 season. I kinda like the possibility with Henry Rodriguez available to back up 2B should either Frazier or Panda need a day off or suffer an injury.

    • @Shchi Cossack: There could be a match there…my immediate reaction was yes, but only if this resulted in Choo getting resigned.

      Lineup could be:

      Choo
      Votto
      Panda
      Bruce
      Ludwick
      Frazier
      Mesoraco
      Cozart
      Pitcher

      I think that is an effective lineup for GABP!

    • @Shchi Cossack: My initial thought was “no”. But the more I thought about it, if SF has that kind of dough to spend (which they do), I can see it.

      The Panda is kind of spry for a big man. But I can only image getting Sandoval would mean moving Frazier would move to 2nd. There is a good possibility that weakens the defense in two infield positions.

      As far as Saddoval’s bat? Ummm, yes please.

    • @dmr11: Aside from the debate over batting 2nd or 3rd, which has only been a debate since Oct. 3, it’s hard to see any misuse.

    • @dmr11: If anything, from Baker using a player for a full 162 games coming off knee surgeries. But, then, that could be from a bunch of things, many which we may not even be aware of. Did the knee hurt? Did it not hurt? Did he tell someone specifically it hurt? If Baker did know, why did he keep playing him? Baker is on record himself giving players coming back from injuries extra days off. But, he never gave Votto any day off.

  9. Over an average year, Votto will hit about 30 home runs. Over an average of 20 years, that’s about 600 home runs. Not many guys in baseball did that. The trick is for Votto to play for 20 years. In any case, his HR numbers are going to be about 1 a week — and that’s considered decent by any standard.

  10. I seem to recall Joey saying that playing in 162 games was something he wanted to do personally—since Pete Rose had done it for the Reds? Right or wrong, Dusty was not going to stand in the way of that.

  11. What I am consistently reading here is that to simplify the problem, we move Votto into the 2 spot, apparently Bruce into the 3 spot and after that … um … um … er … well, maybe Mesoraco. After that … um … but we need to trade Brandon Phillips because he’s old.

    After that, well … we had Choo last year in leadoff but we’ll pretend we still have him and since Price has all but said Hamilton has work to do … um … well, we have Votto hitting 2nd and Bruce hitting 3rd.

    But never mind that a hitting coach can’t help the hitters, even though somebody had better help the hitters.

    I see a lot of fantasy stats and the apparent notion that all we have to do now is get the guys who meet the criteria and we’re off.

    We can always trade Homer Bailey.

  12. Beautiful. Now, it’s not enough to criticize Votto, the athlete, we have to start criticizing Votto, the public speaker.

    And people wonder why I accuse folks of having agendas.

    I was once an actor. I did it professionally. Since then, I’ve done a considerable amount of public speaking. I’m probably as comfortable talking in front of an audience as any person you are likely to come across.

    But I will tell, all that confidence comes from extreme preparation. Put me in front of an audience of even a handful of people and subject me to being asked questions I know have a lot of importance to my audience–and I will pause and stumble if I don’t know the questions in advance or haven’t had the time to formulate my answers carefully in my head. I doubt Votto got the specific questions in advance beyond “we’re going to cover ‘these’ subjects” and I doubt he spent time practicing in his living room his answers. He was speaking extemporaneously.

    Get a grip.

    • @Richard Fitch: A couple of thoughts on this Votto speaking thing.

      First off we need to remember that when Votto speaks in American English over the radio, he isn’t speaking his native tongue of Canadian English.

      Except for how words like “about” and “schedule” get spoken, the two may sound almost the same to most of us in the Ohio environs. However there are many differences in idioms and syntax and even thought processes of putting words together between the two. I learned this when I started following the NHL in some depth.

      So, aside from the fact he is considering just what he wants to say, I imagine he is also pausing to make sure he says it in the “right” way for his audience.

      This defense of Votto said, I also think that several of the editors on this do have a bit of a case of being eggshell walkers when it comes to Votto. But then we all have our biases.

    • @Richard Fitch: I agree, Richard. So many people taking such a small comment and running like wildfire with it. I can probably guarantee you that Votto is well aware of his speech pattern. I know I sure wasn’t looking to make it a matter of, “Oh, my, how horrible.”

      Geez. What’s next on here? Someone posts, “Agreed,” and someone else is going to comeback with, “Why do you agree? Please show some evidence to your agreement.” Overall, all responses to that comment have been rather needless.

  13. It’s amazing to me that the unselfish play of Joey Votto is somehow turned into a selfish ploy on his part.

    What he explains is how he was performing in a team environment. Instead of him swinging at bad pitches which leads to outs and fewer runs, he was taking what he was given by the opposition and contributing to overall team success; that is, he was playing a role (getting on base and moving runners) which leads to the team scoring more runs. The scoring matrices show that teams score more runs with runners on base and fewer outs. That’s why sacrifice bunts are not useful early in the game from the #2 slot in the order; it’s an out that drives down the likelihood of teams scoring more runs. It’s a one-run strategy.

    If a player is hitting #2 or #3, the team should have players hitting in the #4 and #5 slots who can drive them in. That’s a team function, not an individual function. If the Reds had been using good hitters in the 2 slots, Votto would have had more rbi, too, because of more runners would have been on base.

    Without looking at the math (which isn’t functional here), it may be hard to see the forest for the trees in this case. There are outlets that show this information; frankly they aren’t real fun to read, but they are available if searched.

    There are times for situational hitting; late in the game when one run is necessary to win–there are times for sacrifice bunts, too; but, this matters more when it’s a poor hitter at the plate. When your hitter (Votto) hits line drives nearly a third of the time, why take the bat out his hands? Yes, there are times–but not many.

    As for the health of his knee, that may have contributed to his “fewer” home runs; if that’s the case, the Reds should have really been looking for a power hitter when Ludwick went down to supply that power bat. If the Reds wanted more rbi from Votto in the third spot in the order, Dusty should have batted guys with a higher OBP in the 2 slot.

    To summarize–Votto knows and understands (and he explain this) that not making outs leads to more runs, and that he needs to swing at good pitches or he makes outs.

    As for being halting in his speech–I think he knows this is difficult for the Joe Fan to understand why he wasn’t Chris Davis this year. I think he was trying to not say the wrong things and being respectful in his answers. I give him lots of credit for even addressing the issue.

    I think we have some misplaced blame happening here…

  14. Couched in all this discussion are my two apprehensions about the Bryan Price signing:

    1) Hitting (scoring runs) was our problem this past year; not pitching

    2) Price’s inexperience as a manager

    3) I said two, but others mention a third problem with the Reds, the so-called lack of accountability–which relates to 1 and 2 above

    I like Bryan Price and I can see why he was rewarded with the promotion. With our offensive problems and issues in the field and running the bases, it sounds like we could have used a taskmaster to run the ship for a year or two with Price as the manager-in-waiting. I tend to think it would have been good to have made Price bench coach for a couple of years first (with a big pay hike to let him know the Reds were serious and to keep him from leaving).

    In my opinion, the criticism of Votto here is more of an indictment of the Reds offense. We needed a power hitter this year after Ludwick was forced out for most of the year and it was suspected (and now we know) that Votto still wasn’t 100%. We also needed another good OBP guy to hit 2nd in the order. He didn’t have to be Votto/Choo quality…but our OBP leaders were Votto (.435), Choo (.423), and then it drops ALL the way down to Jay Bruce at .329. That’s almost unfathomable. Tony Cingrani’s .250 OBP was closer to the third place leader in OBP than Bruce was to Choo.

    Having watched him play this past summer, Billy Hamilton’s not ready to fill this OBP spot yet. I was at a Bats game and talking with a Reds representative and he told me that my 13 year old son had a better swing than Billy Hamilton.

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