Welcome to spring training, kids. Pitchers and catchers report today, and I thought that was as good a day as any to start my yearly predictions. Before we start, I have a few caveats. First, these are going to be a bit shorter than in years past and second, I’ll do my best to get through them all, but I can’t make promises. The reasons is that I have been working very hard on this. It’s the first novel I’ve gotten published and work is still happening on it. So, obviously, that takes most of my writing time right now. It’s why I haven’t been as present here as I often am.

Anyhow, here we go. Let’s start with the man who is first in my heart and yours. Joey Votto.

Joey Votto
2013 Slash Line: .305/.435/.491
2014 Projection: .310/.440/.520

2013 WAR: 6.3 (average of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference)
2014 Best Guess WAR: 7.0
Projected Difference: 0.8 WAR
2014 Floor: 5.0
2014 Ceiling: 10.0

It happens every year, that there are a few players where I feel I see something that the projections don’t. This year, it’s happened with Votto. Basically, he said he wasn’t all the way back until around August. His numbers from Those last two months were a little better, but, and this is the key, his BABIP was down. BABIP (batting average on balls in play) fluctuates wildly, but over time, hitters can show the ability to maintain a certain BABIP. For Votto, it’s around .360. However during the last two months of 2013, it was around .330. What that means is that Votto actually was much better than we thoguht at the end of the year. He was just a little unlucky.

What it all adds up to is me predicting a solid power return from Votto. I actually think my prediction might be conservative, and I really won’t be surprised if Votto has the year he was having when he went down in 2012. If he does, this could be a fun year.

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! 17 Comments

  1. I’m looking for a very focused Votto in 2014. A Votto that will be in the running for his first NL batting title at season’s end. A batting average around .330. Votto won’t say it publicly, but I think he really would like an NL batting title.
    Congratulations on your novel Jason.

  2. I struggle with the idea that a team’s win total can be calculated by summing individual WAR totals, but a team’s success is clearly correlated to the success of individual players. So a great year from the best hitter in the league would be a fantastic start. Go Votto!

    Oh, and you guys are glad you can’t see my Pitchers and Catchers happy dance!

  3. I don’t know the answer. Just have the question. Was the decline in BABIP due to him hitting more fly balls and grounders for outs instead of liners for hits? Or was it just bad luck? Congrats on the novel.. I liked the first installment…

  4. My perception was that Votto didn’t just have more bad luck, he had bad luck in situations where having good luck would have turned the season around. (Harsh? Perhaps.)

    One would assume that quality hitters would not face that dilemma twice in a row. (Naive? N’ah.)

    FWIW, it appears the discussions about his “role” have been sufficiently discussed. I’d assume something of an agreement has been reached.

  5. I just hope with a 100% knee now, we’ll see Votto smashing doubles nonstop again. Hopefully without 2 outs and 0 on this time though.

  6. Jason, once again congrats on your book deal! I really enjoyed the first chapter, and also appreciate the time you put in here at Redlegnation.
    Your book got me thinking about the player in your book (zack) and the loss of his father and also the loss of Votto’s father in 2008.
    My wife came to my office this past August to tell me that my father had died suddenly at his home so I can relate to Zack and Joey. Joey has battled with depression and I can totally understand why.
    After listening to him on the Lance McAlister’s podcasts it seems like he has turned a corner and may be coming out of his shell a bit. He sounded like he was actually having a lot of fun on the show and the fact that he came back for more interviews was outstanding! I don’t know very much about Joey Votto the person, only what I see related to baseball and it seems to me like Joey is now healthy from head to toe!
    I predict that Joey will have a banner season this year!

    Go Redlegs!

    • @Mike Martz: When I started working on this, I wondered how longit would take for someone to make the Votto parallel. Strangely, that wasn’t in my mind when I came up with the idea. I heard about something similar happening to a football player and I thought it would make for a good novel. So here we are.

  7. Unrelated to the post above, but thanks to everyone for the praise on the first chapter. The next on is coming in about a week and a half. I’ll put something up here when it’s ready.

    • @Jason Linden: Just curious, in case I missed it. What’s the restrictions with your publishing contract and the amount of free samples you can make available? I assume you have retained some rights.

      • @Johnu1: While I don’t want to get into the details of the contract, there are no free samples. It’s free on The Hardball Times when it comes out every month. Toward the end, we’re planning to publish it as a full volume to purchase.

        • @Jason Linden: No need to explore the details. My own book contracts — such as they were — were pretty straight-forward. I was not completely clear on how you planned to deliver the story.

  8. It’s going to be a double edged sword sort of season for Votto I suspect. I think teams will do the opposite of last season where they didn’t give him anything to hit. I bet they’ll challenge him early but then soon realize he’s far too dangerous to pitch to. Hence, the lack of good pitches/opportunities will be few and far between. That’s when the mouthbreathers will start yammering for him to be more aggressive.

  9. I can’t point to anything other than my ample, ample gut… But I just feel like Votto is going to have a huge year. I LOVE that he is doing the radio interviews and I think he is more comfortable in his own skin than has been in years. I see a doubles machine again that is in the batting title race all year.

    I just don’t see the doom and gloom that is so widely evident on this site re: the Reds chances this year. Maybe I am blindly optimistic, but I am thinking this is year our beloved Reds break thru in the playoffs.

  10. I’ll say what we’re all thinking for Votto: It’s on like Donkey Kong. 🙂

  11. I think that Votto will have a great season, I’m still angry about letting Choo go, but I guess it had to be done in order to pay Bailey 100 mil…and I have always thought that pitching should come first..but I really liked Choo and thought he should of been kept here..I am still psyched for the season though..ready to cheer the reds on wire to wire again….lets go Reds!

  12. […] Joey Votto Brandon Phillips Zack Cozart Ryan Ludwick Billy Hamilton Jay Bruce Todd Frazier Devin Mesoraco The Bench Top of the Rotation […]

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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.


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