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.
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.
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.