When looking at the Reds record books a few names come up consistently. Barry Larkin and Frank Robinson, for instance. However, only one team comes up consistently, the Big Red Machine. But that is about to change.

I was poking around recently and realized that the Reds have three players who, when their contracts are up, will consistently be ranked in the top ten in a number of categories. Making these Reds teams likely second only to the BRM in terms of sustained elite play from multiple players. Let’s take a look…

I’ll start briefly with rate stats, and here we are talking only about Joey Votto. Right now Votto is first all-time in OBP, second in slugging, fourth in batting average, and first in OPS. Now, Votto hasn’t hit his decline phase yet, but neither had most of his competition when they left Cincy. Robinson, for instance, was pretty much the same age as Votto when he was traded and, rather famously, didn’t really decline. It will be interesting to see if Votto’s future play keeps him at the top of these categories or if he moves down a few notches.

Now, onto the counting stats where we will be concerned with Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Brandon Phillips. With Phillips and Votto, I’m assuming the end of their contracts are the ends of their careers. Bruce will sign another contract, but we can’t say for certainty it will be with the Reds, so I only go to the end of his contract. Bruce and Phillips are both controlled through 2017 (4 more seasons), Votto through 2023 (10 more seasons).

To Enter the Top Ten – 816
To be the All-Time Leader – 1741 (Rose)

Phillips – Currently has 664. Good for several more this season. He will likely enter the top ten early 2015. I’d guess he finishes around 1,000, which would put him sixth between Robinson and Concepcion

Bruce – Currently has 429. Probably safe to give him 85 a year on average, which would give him 788 at the end of his contract. That’s not enough to enter the top ten, but if the Reds extend him at all, he will end up somewhere in there.

Votto – Currently has 505. Let’s be really cautious accounting for his decline phase and give him an average of 75 per year for the rest of his career. That’s another 750 (plus whatever he adds this year). Larkin is third with 1329, and Votto will likely end up either right below or right above him.

To enter the Top Ten – 1499
To be the All-Time Leader – 3358 (Rose)

Phillips – Currently has 1269. He will almost enter the top ten sometime in 2015. If we assume he finishes this season with 150 and manages an average of 130 for the rest of his career/contract, he wold have 1829, good for eighth.

Bruce – He does have a realistic shot to enter the top ten unless he’s extended. However, when his current contract runs out, he will likely be right around 1400.

Votto – Currently has 957. Probably good for another 50 (at least) this year. An average of 140 over the rest of his career would be enough to put him past Barry Larkin for second. No one is touching Pete here. Votto would have to average something like 230 hits a year to catch him.

Total Bases:
To enter the Top Ten – 2489
To be the All Time Leader – 4645 (Rose)

Phillips – Currently has 2017. Likely to enter the top ten late next year or early 2015. Finishing with 3000, would put him eighth. 3200 would move him up to fifth.

Bruce – Currently has 1393. A good bet to sneak into the top ten with at least 2500 before he leaves. Though if he’s not re-signed Phillips and Votto could push him back out.

Votto – Currently has 1649. Again, trying to stay conservative, let’s give him 240 a year for the rest of his career plus what ever he has left this year. The puts him over 4,000 and ahead of everyone except Rose. If he maintains his excellent level of play well into his late 30s, this is one place where Rose might find himself unseated.

To enter the Top Ten – 260
To be the All Time Leader – 601 (Rose)

Phillips – Currently has 229 and will likely enter the top ten next year. If you tack 100 onto his current total, he would be seventh all time.

Bruce – Currently has 148. It’s probably fair to add another 130 (at least) onto that. That would place him tenth and he’d get pushed out by Phillips or Votto.

Votto – Currently has 220. Barring something catastrophic, he’s a lock for second (currently held by Barry Larkin at 440). Though he’d have to average something like 37 doubles a season (I’m making allowances for the remainder of this season) to do it, he could pass Rose as well.

Home Runs:
To enter the Top Ten – 186
To be the All Time Leader – 389 (Bench)

Phillips – Currently has 155. If he can manage 58 more, he’d tie with Davis for eighth.

Bruce – Currently has 158. If we assume, conservatively, that he finishes with 30 this year and each of the next four, he is sitting on 284 (4th, just 3 behind Perez). If the Reds re-sign him, he will challenge Bench.

Votto – Currently has 150. He doesn’t have Bruce’s HR power, but is we give him 20 a year, he’d finish with 350 something depending on this year. 24 a year, and he passes Bench.

To enter the Top Ten – 814
To be the All Time Leader – 1376 (Bench)

Phillips – Currently has 647. As long as he gets to hit behind Votto, his odds are good. He’s a lock for the top ten late next year or early 2015. 1000 seems like a safe bet, and that would place him sixth. 72 more would get him to 3rd.

Bruce – Currently has 454. Probably around 480 by the end of the year. 90 a year seems a safe number barring injury. That would put him right around George Foster who is ninth with 861. Not to be a broken record, but if he re-signs, he could challenge Bench.

Votto – Currently has 509. His RBI total will depend a lot on who the Reds get to hit in front of him. Let’s assume a steep decline and 75 a year. That would place him close to 1300 and in shouting distance of Bench. If he has a few big years, he may well end as the Reds’ all time RBI leader.

To be in the Top Ten – 671
To be the All Time Leader – 1210 (Rose)

Phillips – Is not part of this picture.

Bruce – Will need to be re-signed to be a contender.

Votto – Currently has 514. He’ll enter the top ten late next season or early in 2015. If he averages even 70 walks a year for the remainder of his contract, he will pass Rose.

Times on Base:
To enter the Top Ten – 2058
To be the All Tiem Leader – 4654 (Rose)

Phillips – Currently has 1631. It would be awfully hard for him to not enter the top ten in 2015. Probably a good bet for seventh or eighth by the time he’s done.

Bruce – Currently has 1053. He’ll be knocking on the door by the time his contract is up, but he might not quite get there unless he’s extended.

Votto – Currently at 1496. The top ten will come sometime in 2015. A conservative 200 times on base a year for the remainder of his contract would place him second. To catch Rose, he’d need to get on base about 300 times a year, which is to say, he’d need to maintain his peak OBP levels for the rest of his career.

Position Player WAR (BBRef):
To enter the Top Ten – 40.3
To be the All Time Leader – 78.0

Phillips – Currently has 24.1. Could enter the top ten, but would need to maintain his recent level of play or sign at least one more extension with the Reds.

Bruce – Currently has 14.3. He’s got a long way to go, but if he signs an extension, he’ll might get there. Bruce isn’t perfect, but I bet he’ll get to 40 WAR before his career is done.

Votto – Currently has 32.6 and, barring injury, will enter the top ten before the end of next year. He’s likely to finish this year around 35. If he averages 4 WAR per year for the remaining ten years, he would at 75 which puts him in Bench (75.2) and Rose territory. 3 WAR per year would put him fourth above Robinson and below Larkin.

These three players are going to make their presence known in the Cincinnati history books. Votto, especially, figures to have some gaudy numbers. In fact, were it not for Rose (who had an insanely long career and hung on a bit too long) Votto would have a good chance to end his career at the top of virtually every category discussed here.

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.

Join the conversation! 36 Comments

  1. Good afternoon,
    Thanks for the research on this. It is interesting. Let me be the first today to say, Bruce wont be leaving the Reds. Like mentioned before, he “wants to be a Red!” With Bruce it isn’t about money. He took way below the market when he signed the current contract and I am sure on the next contract we will get a hometown discount. He just wants to feel wanted and feel at home with a club. He has that here. He just got married this past year.

    Go Reds!

    • @laus Deo: I will be saddened to see Bruce leave the Reds, but I’m not as convinced it won’t happen. BC may step in again and mandate that Bruce be signed to end his career in Cincinnati, but economics may also prevail by that time, resulting in Bruce’s departure. Any extensions for starting pitching are going to be expensive and those will coincide with an extension for Bruce. The Reds may also have multiple OF options available that will be under team and cost control as Bruce’s contract expires.

      • @Shchi Cossack: I agree start to finish. Bruce has been a hugely popular player in Cincinnati. HUGE. You can almost say we who he is at this point. While the streakiest player on the team during the season, he is the most consistent player from season to season. He surprised us all with his ability to hit opposite field and extend ABs which improved his BA. But the result has been the same.

      • @Shchi Cossack: Sorry, but I disagree.

        You are assuming a lot just for argument. You are assuming economics will be to the point something wont or cant be worked out and overlooking what the man has said himself a number of times. Your assuming there will be OF options better than Bruce. Please. Look it up.

        If we are going to assume, then I assume the end of the world will come before then and we wont have to worry about it and I will see ya in Heaven!!!

        laus Deo

        • @laus Deo: Sorry…I didn’t mean to strike a nerve, just express an opinion.

          I’m aware of Bruce’s expressed desire to remain as a Cincinnati Red for his entire career and I truly hope that it happens.

          As far as the end of the world, it’s a distinct possibility.

          • @Shchi Cossack: No nerve involved.

            Just all anyone gets on here is negative towards everything on here anymore. There is no need to be so negative and assuming the worse.

            We got a good team. Not long ago a .500 season was a dream. Enjoy your Reds!

            Go reds!

          • @Shchi Cossack:No nerve involved.

            Just all anyone gets on here is negative towards everything on here anymore. There is no need to be so negative and assuming the worse.

            We got a good team. Not long ago a .500 season was a dream. Enjoy your Reds!

            Go reds!

            Why is expressing an opinion considered being “negative” rather than being honest? If there’s no need to “be so negative” than try to follow your own advice by being less negative towards other people’s opinions.

          • @tpteach: I wasn’t being negative just stating the obvious fact as many have said lately.

            Thanks for your input thou. Have a Great day 🙂

          • @tpteach: I wasn’t being negative just stating the obvious fact as many have said lately.

            Thanks for your input thou. Have a Great day

            Ha – I agree with you. My response, as you can see, was to the guy who thought you were being negative. Your stuff is all good. Nice day being had, thanks!

  2. Shame on Pete for having such a long reds career! (tounge-in-cheek)

    I find it fantastic that this franchise could have (at least) two illustrious hitters that reached base >4000 times, just during their reds tenures.

    BTW, what are some of the names that Votto would pass to get to #2 on the OB list? Just curious and don’t have the ability to look it up now.

    • @Lost and Found: Current top ten is Rose, Larkin, McPhee, Concepcion, Bench, Perez, Robinson, Pinson, Roush, Morgan

      • @Jason Linden: Very nice top ten wouldn’t you say.. 🙂

      • @Jason Linden: Concepcion?! Really?! Just another example of the absolutey gross injustice that Concepcion has not been elected to the HOF. What a marvelous career he had as an important cog in the BRM.

        • @Shchi Cossack: Agree with ya!

        • @Shchi Cossack: I don’t think he belongs in the hall. These lists are only for players during their time with the Reds. If you look at MLB, Concepcion is 176 in times on base. He’s just a few slots ahead of Edgar Renteria. Concepcion was a fine player, but his Hall of Fame case is pretty marginal. He just wasn’t quite good enough.

          • @Jason Linden: Based on a comparison with the other SSs of his era, Concepcion is a HOFer. He was an AS 9 times and deserved it each time.

            He was the first great defensive “artificial turf” SS – extreme range, throwing runners out from short LF, on a bounce or not.

            His offense was well above average, compared with the other SSs of his era.

            He was a better all around player than Ozzie Smith, who’s a first round HOFer.

            In the 1976 WS I heard Phil Rizzuto, the HOF SS, doing the play by play. Concepcion made a catch of a pop up in LF that Rizzuto could not believe.
            This was more than his usual Holy Cow, he was incredulous, said he’d never seen anything like it.

          • @pinson343:

            But does this comparison work, it’s simply among your peer group, what if you played at a time of few good players? Should you be inducted b/c you were the best of a weak group? I’m not saying he is…but I agree with Jason, I don’t think Davey’s a HOFer either.

          • @Bill Lack: I don’t think so. At least according to WAR, Toby Harrah was slightly better during the same period (1970-1980). I don’t see anyone here pushing for Harrah to make the HOF. Both had about 32 WAR.

            For perspective, Joe Morgan had 70+ WAR, Bench had 60+, Rod Carew had 50+, Schmidt and Rose had 50+ during the same period.

            It could be that I never got the chance to see Concepcion play live, but just being one of the 2 best SS to play at the time doesn’t mean much, when the difference between the best and the replacement value isn’t very great. It could certainly be true that the defensive component of WAR is again underrated, but to this extent? It’s difficult to believe.

          • @CP: The other thing, is that voters have said they look for an prolonged peak showing greatness, rather than a single season here and there. Concepcion never really had that. I would call his career a prolonged period of goodness. I just can’t see how Concepcion could make it, and a guy like Trammel doesn’t, with Trammel coming in the era immediately following Concepcion.

          • @CP: My reply there is that Trammel should be in too.

  3. Great article, thanks!

  4. I would have to bet Bruce won’t remain a Red on his second contract. I could see him staying a Red. I just don’t see it happening. A new TV contract could hae something to say about that.

    I’m really no interested in individual stats. For instance, when I think of the Reds, my first thoughts aren’t of the Hit King nor Captain Hook nor Morgan’s Q score (I believe that was it). My first thought of the Reds is just how dominant the BRM was during the early-mid 70’s. Then, I think of how they had a top player at almost every starting position during that time. I really don’t think of the stats first.

    Or, in other words, stats don’t mean anything if you don’t win, baby. Just win, baby. Win, baby, win.

    • @steveschoen: “Just win, baby.” Better words have never been spoken.

    • @steveschoen: Speaking of which, my first thought about Jason’s article: If the Reds team with these historically great 3 Reds players – and excellent pitching for the last two seasons – does not win a World Series, then it’s a sad story in my book.

      • @pinson343: Agreed.

        I will add, by “win”, I mean the entire thing, the WS, nothing else. By the entire phrase, I do mean play like you mean it, day in and day out. Like I’ve said before, good teams don’t wait for the other to make a mistake. Good teams go take it. That’s what I think of when I think of the Reds. First thought, of the BRM of the early-mid 70’s and how it almost seemed like they went out each day and tried to destroy their competition. Not just by hitting HR’s. But, by everything. You need singles? Done. You need a key HR? Done. You need key bunts put down? Done. Just go out and do it? Not necessarily. It seemed to me they worked at their craft, just not physically but mentally, also. For example, Morgan had been noted on many occasions to study video of opposing pitchers and their pitching motions and pickoff moves. Morgan studied them, all in an effort to be able to get the best jump possible he could get. “He used his head”, even daily making adjustments to whatever each pitcher had to offer. I can’t help questioning if this Reds team does any of that. I hear of how many groundballs Votto and BP will take for defensive practice. But, do they study which players would be likely to hit groundballs? Groundballs towards their side of the field? If they come off hot or if they are weak grounders?

        The BRM, imo, seemed to dominate the other teams with their heads, their hearts, and their work ethic, day in and day out. Sorry, but I haven’t seen that in this team for years. Probably one of the reasons why that BRM of the 70’s was so good, probably why so many people say we will never see a team like that again, probably why many of us are so spoiled, having grown up on them.

        • @steveschoen: Speaking of non-stop research of the other team, Pete Rose was the master of that. He would even learn the psychology of other players – if a guy let a strike out affect his defense in the next inning, Rose knew, and would take an extra base.

      • @pinson343: I don’t know if you compare this trio to some of the other historic trios that haven’t won a WS. For example, the Mariners with Griffey Jr, A-Rod, and Randy Johnson (& Edgar Martinez). You’re talking 3 guys that skill-wise, are first ballot HOFs, and 1 guy that should be a HOF but for the writers being stodgy and old.

        It’s the Reds’ starting rotation as a whole that would make it really sad to waste.

        • @CP: I was thinking of these 3 players plus the 2012-2013 pitching staffs. They probably need a major position player addition (or two after Choo leaves) but the nucleus is there for a WS team.

  5. A team with great Reds players who did not win a World Series was the 1961 thru 1965 Reds, who had Robinson, Pinson, and (as of 1963) Pete Rose. Their starting pitchers included Jim Maloney, Bob Purkey, Jim O’Toole, and Joey Jay.

    In 1961 they won the NL pennant and lost to a great Yankee team in 5 in the WS. In 1962 they won 98 games but were 3 behind the Giants and Dodgers, who had a playoff. 1964 was the real heartbreaker. They lost out to the Cardinals on the last day (Sunday) of the regular season. That Friday nite they had suffered a stunning loss to the Phillies in a wild game. Their manager, Fred Hutchinson, passed away that November, and they were trying to win it for him.

    In 1965 they had the best offense and the best starting 8 in major league baseball.
    Jim Maloney was 20-9. But as a team the pitching was poor.

    After 1965 of course Robby got traded and that was the end of that era.

    • A team with great Reds players who did not win a World Series was the 1961 thru 1965 Reds, who had Robinson, Pinson, and (as of 1963) Pete Rose. Their starting pitchers included Jim Maloney, Bob Purkey, Jim O’Toole, and Joey Jay.

      Maloney was a great pitcher. Purkey was pretty good (112 ERA+ in his Reds career), but O’Toole (106) and Jay (100) were average or just above.

      • @Bill Lack:

        I pulled up some quick numbers on some readily known pitchers (and just as a quick and dirty stat, using ERA+/100 = average) and the numbers are with the Reds:

        Rijo 138
        Nolan 119
        Seaver 116
        Soto 108
        Norman 106
        Nuxhall 104
        Harang 103
        Browning 97
        Billingham 91

        Just thought it was useful as a point of reference.

        • @Bill Lack: Very useful as a point of reference. I’m surprised that Gary Nolan is so high. Also I thought Soto would be higher, he was great in his peak years.

      • @Bill Lack: The “great” players I was referring to were Robinson, Pinson and Rose. I just listed the more significant starters after that.

        Agree that Maloney was great and Purkey was good. Jay had big seasons in 1961 and 1962, winning 21 games each year. Jim O’Toole had a strong stretch from 1961 thru 1964, was 10th in the MVP voting in 1961 (19-9) and made the AS team in 1963.

  6. What’s it going to take for Bruce to win a gold glove?

    The game saving catch he made on 9/15/2010 was one of the more exciting plays I’ve seen in person. Was blessed to have great seats for his division clinching home run a few weeks later.

    Reds are lucky to have him. Exciting to think that if he can learn to avoid prolonged slumps, the best is yet to come.

    • @Jaxxon1973:

      This year might just be the year. Bruce has played stellar defense this year. It is by far his best defensive year. And it just might be his best offensive year too.

  7. When thinking of the Big Red Machine, pitching very rarely enters the mind. Like mentioned earlier, the BRM had a top quality player at almost every position. That cannot be said about this Reds team.
    The Reds have the pitching to win a World Series, but they don’t have the offense to win one yet. The Reds need to go get a big bat to bat #4 at either the LF or 3B positions. Ludwick and Frazier just are not the solutions. Ludwick belongs in the AL and Frazier should be a utility bench player with his versatility. When you look up “sophmore slump”, there it is in all its glory, a picture of Frazier. A .235 hitter and only 10 HR’s just isn’t getting it done from a position that should yield a much, much better performance. The production from the LF trio hasn’t been anything to write home about either.
    The 2 players who carried most of the weight last year during Votto’s absence are non-producers this year. WJ has to take a very serious look at those two positions in the winter and come up with better solutions.

Comments are closed.

About Jason Linden

Jason has been a fan of the Reds since he was born. He really had no choice in the matter. He has been writing at Redleg Nation for a few years, and also writes and edits at The Hardball Times. His debut novel, When the Sparrow Sings, is available now and concerns baseball, among other things. You can find more information at jasonlinden.com.


Reds - General