Joey Votto is Perfect

Joey Votto opens up

Photo: The Enquirer/Gary Landers

Photo: The Enquirer/Gary Landers

C. Trent Rosecrans has written a fantastic article about Joey Votto, including a long interview with the Reds’ first baseman. It covers a wide range of topics, but the focus is on Votto’s polarizing 2013 season, his desire to do a series of recent appearances on the Lance McAlister radio show, his concerns — and finding them misplaced — about a loss of privacy that comes with fame …

“Over time, I’ve realized those things are few and far between, that those are isolated circumstances and my life can be completely normal. I wanted to open up because I do like to talk baseball. I love talking baseball. I think it’s an interesting subject, I think it’s something I’m familiar with. It’s something I can constantly learn about, I do like talking with the fans and I do like talking with everyman. I really enjoy it. I look forward to the half-hour or the hour because it’s ball talk and I’m connecting to the fans. It’s totally my sweet spot. It’s effortless.”

… and becoming the face of certain advanced baseball metrics, like wRC+.

“It’s the future – no one can deny that. The same thing with a lot of the new things that are being legalized and things that are being changed in the constitution, that’s not changing,” Votto said. “It’s coming, accept it. There are people who pushed back in the ’70s and people who pushed back in the ’30s, it’s human nature. I’m going to push back on something one day and guess what, the world’s going to fly by me. In a smaller way, this is making the game better and more efficient.”

Read the entire article.

56 thoughts on “Joey Votto opens up

  1. “…I think its something I’m familiar with.”

    Understatement of the year?

  2. Hmmmmmm. He likes talking baseball and he likes talking with everyman. Are WE everyman? Would he give Bill or one of the other editors a few minutes on Redleg Nation Radio?

      • @eric nyc: I agree. And even though while there is a variance in the valuation of advanced metrics, most here have a strong understanding of them.

  3. I wonder if any of Votto’s recent openness has anything to do with Dat Dudes media blackout? I could see Votto being a cerebral enough player that he would understand that if the “face” of the team is going silent, someone else would have to fill that role. The default voices over the past few years have been Arroyo (gone) and Phillips (silent). No matter why he is suddenly talking, I’m finding it pretty fascinating.

  4. I think there are a lot of celebrity athletes who would like to step up and do what Votto has done, both with these open-mike interviews and his veterans support group foundation.

    Being able to do that comes with maturity. If you act mature, you will probably be treated that way.

    I think Votto “gets it” about his legacy. No telling who his influences were/are, but they are substantial.

    But I think the Cincy media is a little more forgiving, which makes it easier for JV to address the public.

    • @Johnu1: I know last year there was a decent amount of talk about Votto having a lot of contact with good old Charlie Hustle and getting hitting advice from him. Maybe the advice wasn’t just about hitting? That’d be my best guess.

        • @greenmtred: I’ve got no problem at all with Pete advising Joey on fan relations. Pete has been one of the best every at dealing with fans. I also wouldn’t have any issue with Joey getting advice on a general approach to the game from Pete.

  5. I absolutely love this new side of Joey Votto we’re finally getting to see. The McCalister interviews have just been amazing. I honestly feel like I’ve learned more about Joey in the last month than I have in the 10 years before. I did always think he was a bit distant and cold and mechanical, but it’s clearly not true. It’s so great to see him really making an effort to reach out to the fans just because he knows how important the team is to this fanbase and the city. He doesn’t HAVE to do it. He’s already set for life. He doesn’t have to do another interview the rest of his career if he doesn’t want to, but instead he’s bending over backwards to put himself out there and what we’re seeing is a REALLY smart, charismatic, likable guy who oh yeah just happens to be one of the best hitters of all time.

    • @eric nyc: Yeah, I don’t normally listen to podcasts/web radio clips and such, but I have really enjoyed the Votto segments with McAllister. Some great stuff, and I am loving Votto integrating himself more with Cincinnati/Cincinnnati fans.

  6. Off topic, the Reds have invited Scott Rolen in as a guest instructor in player-development. Maybe notable in that many had said that Rolen was key in turning Brandon Phillips into a better ballplayer. If Phillips respects Rolen, maybe he can get him in a good mindset after the offseason mess.

    • @bart756: I remember in one of the recent radio show with Votto, he gave some serious credit to Rolen for his development as a better player. I love the idea of getting Rolen involved with the front office. Another solid addition along with Cairo. They’re making a pretty big push to get a lot of former Reds involved in the team. Morgan, Griffey Sr, Cairo, now Rolen. I like it.

      • @ToddAlmighty: I wouldn’t mind if in say 5-6 years, Arroyo gets added to that list. A guy like him who’s had to constantly evolve and pitch with his brain and kept himself so healthy for so long has to have a ton of knowledge available for young pitchers to hopefully soak up like a sponge.

        • @ToddAlmighty: Assuming this is Arroyo’s last gig (which is by no means indelible) in 5 years he will be eligible to be enshrined in the Reds Hall of Fame. I have never seen a better “pitcher”. Just about everyone has better stuff. Arroyo just knows how to pitch. I think he should come back and be the Eric Davis of pitching.

  7. Most professional athletes view interactions with the media as something to survive. They learn or are literally coached how to say nothing interesting or controversial. Sometimes, you can actually watch players, when asked a question, try to figure out which cliche answer best fits and then give it. I supposed some of them genuinely don’t have anything particularly insightful to say to begin with, even if they wanted to. That’s one reason interviews with coaches and players rarely interest me.

    But every so often — and Bronson Arroyo is another one — you come across a player who has the rare combination of (a) isn’t afraid to say what they really think, and (b) are thoughtful enough to have something meaningful to say. It’s obvious from listening to him the past few weeks that Votto has plenty of insight to add to the conversation. It’s good that he’s decided, for whatever reason, to be willing to share most of it.

    • @Steve Mancuso: All the same, there is a limit to how many times he can answer these questions. He has addressed the parts of his life that are generally the public’s domain — about baseball. When the scribes decide to go looking for something a little juicier, Votto will have to make some distinctions. Outside the grid, so to speak, of baseball, there’s not a lot of interest in wRC+.

      • @Johnu1: It may be true that Votto will tire of answering the same questions again and again. If so, this phase of the public Votto may not last long. But it may be that he sees himself as a teacher of sorts, and many teachers deliver the same message to new students year after year and find it very fulfilling. I hope that’s how Votto experiences this new public collaboration. I won’t be surprised if this mode lasts several or even many years, but only in the spring. I suspect that as much as we as fans get excited for the approaching season the players are energized in an even more intense way. I will look forward to Professor Votto’s classes.

        • @Chris DeBlois:
          The problem is that there’s always a new breed of scribe out there. In my years in the news business, they where the “Watergate Lite” brand, wannabe superstars who believed that every single thing in life was a coverup.

          Life is pretty cruel and I think ballplayers learn it fairly well, since they don’t usually have PR agencies to handle the tough chores like senators and movie stars.

          If Votto sticks to baseball, that will be enough. Let’s hope the scribes are fair. I have seen little evidence to support that hope.

  8. From the Old Cossack’s perspective and contract aside, Joey Votto just became the face and voice of the Cincinnati Reds during this off season. Like a lot of other fans, I was missing Joey Votto the person behind the bat. I did not have that omissive feeling about Robinson, Pinson, Bell, O’Toole, Maloney, Rose, Perez, Bench, Morgan, Griffey Sr., Soto, Browning, Larkin, Rijo, Davis, Casey, Griffey Jr., Harang, Phillips and I’m sure I am missing someone, but I did feel that aspect of Votto was missing from possibly the greatest player to ever wear the wishbone C. That omission has now been rectified, completely. Votto is now ready to lead this team in every aspect and I am feeling pretty secure going into this season now and the coming seasons. BC & WJ have to like what they are seeing and hearing too, combine with the early performance of Bryan Price.

  9. Maybe with all of Votto’s money he could finance a remake of The Natural. In this version, instead of knocking in a home run, the hero draws a walk, sure they don’t win, but at least he didn’t take a chance on winning the game and getting an out. They could just have a pigeon fly into the lights for dramatic effect.

  10. I hate to be this way, but there are some serious trends that make all this impractical.

    Mainly, the temperature here is supposed to be around 6 on Wednesday. that’s 6 in dog years too.

    So for what it’s worth, I don’t think we will have no stinkin’ ball seasons this summer.

    Say it ain’t so, Joey.

  11. Great interview. I finally get where he was coming from with him being so reserved early in his career.

    I think he concluded that his ‘brand’ was being defined by other people and that he needed to take ownership of it.

  12. It is great to have Votto as the face of the franchise and one of it’s cornerstones. After hearing Homer Bailey’s interview Saturday morning on MLBN radio with Casey Stern, Bailey is stepping up to that role on the pitching side.
    Votto and Bruce on the offense. Nice. If BP is declining that type of role now, they need one guy from Mesoraco, Cozart, and Frazier to step up and seize that role. I’m hoping that Mesoraco takes the bull by the horns and has his lumber at the ready this year.

  13. I entirely agree with Votto on the metrics. However, I believe one should say they come as a result of playing. They can show strengths and weaknesses. They can guide training, but they are not a substitute for training. Like, compared to what a teacher does, they aren’t even a lesson plan. They would be compared to what a teacher is going to teach. But, a teacher still has to make a plan on how to teach what they are going to teach.

    Also, one must need to take the advanced metrics with a grain of salt. For instance, when I did teach high school, or principal wanted what “subgroup” of student did we need to target to get the biggest improvement on our scores. We were thinking first, male or female? The numbers would show, for example, group 1. Then, it went to subgroup 1a. Then, it went to sub-subgroup 1a-2. Then, it went to sub-subgroup 1a-2b. And, so forth. By the end of all of that, we decided if we concentrated on such a small group of students, we end up leaving out all the rest of the students. With the baseball, you can’t worry about, for instance, your BA/OBP/SLG with a full count in the bottom of the 7th with 1 out. You have to worry about more general metrics. That’s what I believe I see with some of the advanced baseball metrics. I can understand the difference between them all. But, then I have to ask, “Am I really going to worry about that?” Like, when I grew up, the best hitter had the highest BA. Then, somewhere along the line, the best hitter was the one with the highest OBP. Then, the best hitter had the best SLG. Then, it was the OPS, then OPS+, then WAR. I’m afraid if one gets so busy about working with the numbers, then they may forget that they are suppose to be working with the players, that the numbers are just one of the first steps as well as a result of good (or bad) training.

    • @steveschoen: I get your point, but only agree with it to a degree. Hard work and coaching can’t be replaced by stats (who is suggesting they could be?). But stats can give teachers and students the information to know whether what they are doing is working or not, or in finding specific areas of improvement.

      To me, the big conceptual advance in sabermetrics is the idea of doing a better job at isolating the player’s contribution from the rest of their team’s performance. Think of RBI as measuring how a student was doing in class by looking at one criteria, and that criteria was also affected by how other students in the class did. That might give you a good sense of overall class performance, but it doesn’t really tell you much about a particular student’s achievement.

      More advanced stats don’t necessarily equate to measuring smaller subgroups, as your example assumes. In fact, in certain instances, more advanced metrics actually measure more than old-timey stats. Compare wRC+ with RBI, for example. Stats like wRC+ give the “student” credit for doing more than just one thing right. For instance, hitting a double that advances a runner from first to third, or a walk, loading the bases. So it is actually a broader measure than RBI.

      • @Steve Mancuso: The problem with advanced stats isn’t that they aren’t better, it’s that they are generally useless in the “running gun battle” on the field.

        I don’t need advanced stats to know Votto is our best hitter. The scoreboard tells me he’s hitting .323 and is 3rd in the lineup.

        The RBI to me isn’t relevant and never really was beyond talking points. So, wRC+ is just a more mathematical way of telling me the same thing — and I still don’t care. I want Votto to hit the ball, far, fair and with efficiency.

        I only point this out because the attempt to convert fans away from ‘old-school data’ is a waste of real energy. Fans won’t bring that to the ballpark, won’t look it up, can’t memorize it and are totally befuddled by the abbreviations.

        The problem is discussing it. Do you point out that it’s a lower-case (w)?

        A human discussion about this stuff is … “he has 23 dingers and 67 ribbies.”
        A sabrmetrics discussion is a warm and touching debate on an internet blog where
        Rrep, RAR, WAR, waaWL%, 162WL%, oWAR, dWAR and oRAR are just, well … pretty tedious.

        And guess what? We already know Jay Bruce can knock out the windshield in that Tundra. He will do it someday, I think. Adjusted for the wind, naturally, vs. a really lousy relief pitcher. (Not sure how sabrmetrics defines “really lousy” pitchers.)

        When Votto comes to the plate, ain’t nobody gonna pull out the laptop and evaluate his BABIP, turn to the guy next to him and start talking about it. The other guy is gonna shrug, smile and yell, “yank one, Joey!”

        • I only point this out because the attempt to convert fans away from ‘old-school data’ is a waste of real energy. Fans won’t bring that to the ballpark, won’t look it up, can’t memorize it and are totally befuddled by the abbreviations.

          You’re right in that things still have to be accessible. But, I think that the more people that can learn to understand players’ productivity and appreciate them from beyond a lazy, Marty-like, unchecked idea they might bring less negative energy to the ball park. Every time there is one less “Richard from Springsboro” out there, the ballpark and radio shows are a better place. I think asking people to be thoughtful is a good thing, even if it is difficult to overcome the knee jerk reactions. I think a lot of people would say that thinking about the game via “new school” or whatever you want to call it adds to their enjoyment… I know for me it really helps me appreciate the long term nature of things and not get all wadded up and wanting to elevate players to MVP in one week and send them down to the minors the next.

          And, like Votto says… this is real. This is why things are happening the way they are. This is how decisions are getting made and pennants are being won. People can choose to understand it or not, but it remains real.

        • @Johnu1: And maybe I am giving the broadcast booth too much credit, but just think how different some of the narratives on different players would be if our broadcast teams spent even just a little more time looking into telling a fuller story from numbers that are very, very, easy to find. Joe Fan starts to sink that in. Instead we get Marty ranting about how such and such a player (ahem, Bruce, ahem) has no “I-dea” (as he likes to emphasize) what he’s doing at the plate, blah, blah, blah.

        • @Johnu1: Thanks for your opinion about what we should be discussing and what we shouldn’t. Keep in mind that just because something isn’t interesting to you doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting to someone else. You participate an awful lot on this “internet blog” that regularly cites those stats. You post more purely contrarian (and tedious) comments here than anyone else by far.

          And your viewpoint is on its face completely absurd. The recent thread on Brandon Phillips proves there is an energetic discussion on how good of a hitter he is. Citing advanced stats is an important part of understanding that. Same with interpreting Joey Votto’s recent season. Or analyzing moves/non-moves by the Reds front office. Maybe your big brain doesn’t need the stats to figure out that stuff. But some of us rather enjoy it. You may not have “human discussions” using those stats, but other people do. Please leave your criticisms of other people’s discussions out of your comments here.

          This blog isn’t for everyone. No one forces you to read it. I can assure you that its authors aren’t going to start citing RBI as the holy grail. You might feel more comfortable reading Hal McCoy’s column and commenting there.

          • @Steve Mancuso: @Steve Mancuso:

            @Johnu1: Thanks for your opinion about what we should be discussing and what we shouldn’t. Keep in mind that just because something isn’t interesting to you doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting to someone else. You participate an awful lot on this “internet blog” that regularly cites those stats. You post more purely contrarian (and tedious) comments here than anyone else by far.

            And your viewpoint is on its face completely absurd. The recent thread on Brandon Phillips proves there is an energetic discussion on how good of a hitter he is. Citing advanced stats is an important part of understanding that. Same with interpreting Joey Votto’s recent season. Or analyzing moves/non-moves by the Reds front office. Maybe your big brain doesn’t need the stats to figure out that stuff. But some of us rather enjoy it. You may not have “human discussions” using those stats, but other people do. Please leave your criticisms of other people’s discussions out of your comments here.

            This blog isn’t for everyone. No one forces you to read it. I can assure you that its authors aren’t going to start citing RBI as the holy grail. You might feel more comfortable reading Hal McCoy’s column and commenting there.

            @Steve Mancuso: This was very harsh considering you did exactly what you condemned him for. I for one enjoy his comments as much as I value yours. The comments were not directed at anyone in a negative way, just an observation that “Joe Fan” will probably not have the more advanced metric as part of their discussion. I appreciate you and the other people who contribute to the sabermetric discussion, it has really opened my eyes to a more informed opinion of my favorite team.

            At the Same time appreciate opinions from other fans who like their baseball with less analysis and just enjoy the great game for being a great diversion and safe haven from the world. Telling people with this view to perhaps comment somewhere else is a dangerous thing to do unless you want your opinion to be the only one that matters. You know, because the old-timey stats are irrelevant. I know the are to you, but they aren’t for everyone. I believe that’s what Johnu1 was pointing out.

            I really appreciate this blog as being the best sports blog on the web (any sport) because of the vast array of opinions and appreciation for everyone’s point of view.

            I humbly request that this site keep that very important part of the equation.

            I don’t post very often because I am not as well spoken as others that post here, but I read every day without fail. Keep up the excellent work, for everyone.

          • @MilnersGhost: I appreciate your comments. I have no problem with people disagreeing about the value of sabermetrics. Plenty of people here do that and I don’t respond. I respect that opinion. Where Johnu1 crossed the line for me was when he said we shouldn’t even be discussing advanced metrics and that posts about it are “a waste of time.” I addressed his substantive issue – that advanced metrics couldn’t inform our opinions about the Reds players – directly. The only point where I said he should keep his opinions off the blog was when he was criticizing people for what they wanted to talk about.

            Like it or not, we do try to keep the threads and comments here directed to the Reds and baseball generally. One of our commenting guidelines here is that posts and comments should not be about each other. To say, as I felt Johnu1 was saying, that essentially defending sabermetrics here was a waste of time crossed that line, at least for me. I wasn’t saying that just because he disagreed that he shouldn’t post here.

          • @Steve Mancuso: Part of the problem is reading something that wasn’t written and attacking the messenger. I said attempting to convert fans to sabrmetrics is a WASTE OF ENERGY, not a waste of TIME.

            Go ahead, survey the 34,000 fans at the ballpark this year, any game, and ask them to tell you what somebody’s xFIP, wwwAR+, ERA+ is … they will look at you real strange. They may know what you are talking about but if you don’t have a printout of the stats, they won’t know it … and guess what … YOU WON’T EITHER unless you looked it up.

            But if you want to coil up in the corner and attack everyone who thinks you’re being an egghead about a game that’s simple … yeah, good luck getting casual fans to join your blog.

            Anybody who says a guy had a great RBI year … the first thing you do is tell him he’s ignorant of the game. That’s not exactly how to make yourself out to be anything but arrogant.

            I won’t bother you anymore. I like my Reds too much to be ridiculed for not caring what somebody’s rRRAR is against lefties.

          • @Steve Mancuso: Go ahead, survey the 34,000 fans at the ballpark this year, any game, and ask them to tell you what somebody’s xFIP, wwwAR+, ERA+ is … they will look at you real strange. They may know what you are talking about but if you don’t have a printout of the stats, they won’t know it … and guess what … YOU WON’T EITHER unless you looked it up

            I’m curious what point you’re trying to make with this comment. Is it that only stats that can be easily memorized are worthwhile? Since when has the ease of stat memorization given any indication of its merit as a statistical measure?

            In the interest of sticking with the aforementioned posting guidelines, I’ll stop here.

            Unreleated: First post back this year. Looking forward to another fun year of game threads; and yes, even from you, Johnu1, if you decide to stick around. 😉

          • @Johnu1: I will be the first to admit that there have been times that I have thought you were flat out wrong in what you were saying; however, we (generally) were able to have conversations about our opinions. I can see both sides here, but I tend to side (SLIGHTLY) with Steve in that you post repeatedly about how you think sabermetrics are worthless. Does that mean that I think the way Steve reacted is correct or “right”? No. I think everyone needs to calm down here. Fans comes in all shapes and sizes, and with different beliefs on top of that.

            I will also agree (if this is the point you are making) that it sometimes seems as though the editors and posters on this board look down on those who don’t believe in sabermetrics the way they do. To me, it appeared to have begun when the editors on this blog had a disagreement with the way Marty was acting, a disagreement that may have been justified (as he was essentially dumping on advanced metrics); however, from there, it gradually began to go downhill, to the point where a lot of people on here (myself included at times), acted the same way towards people who believed in RBIs, BA, and HR as Marty had towards the more stat-oriented (I’m trying to avoid saying “casual” fans here, as people who don’t like sabermetrics are just as die-hard Reds fans as we on the board are).

            I guess what I’m saying (if I’m saying anything) is that everyone overreacted. There’s a place for everyone here on this board, as long as they’re civil. Just because it is the offseason doesn’t mean that we can’t have fun discussing “what-ifs” with each other, and even if you don’t enjoy that, you can still enjoy the fact that baseball is right around the corner.

          • @Johnu1:
            Don’t go away John.

            Steve, I appreciate what you are saying, but also appreciate what John is saying also. I would think the readers can file through those people that they read and past those that they do not want to read.

            I am not an advanced metrics guy and understood John’s point that they would not be discussions by many fans at the ballpark. I would guess that there are rows in the ball park where that is all they talked about (advanced metrics).

            Takes all types of fans to hit 3.0 million. Also really hard in a blog to get full understanding of a communication without body language or voice tones attached.

            I recommend that we have a virtual hug and change the subject to the stupid cubs or the hated cardinals

          • @Johnu1: This seems like a bit of an over-reaction. There’s a big difference between disagreeing with someone’s opinion of SABRmetrics and telling them they are wasting their energy discussing it because average baseball fans can’t grasp the elementary mathematics (I understand that’s not exactly what you said, but that’s how it came off).

          • @Johnu1: Really, John, don’t go away. Your comments are thoughtful and well-written and add to the discussion. I don’t recall you saying that advanced metrics are worthless, and I suspect that those who read that sentiment into your comments are feeling a bit defensive: they’ve located the holy grail and are happy with that and don’t want to hear dissent in any form. I hasten to add that this does not apply to the majority of people here, who seem pretty accepting and willing to discuss the issue. Actually, I think it’s a great issue to discuss, because I’m intrigued and also a bit contrarian and old school, as I sense you to be. So don’t go away.

          • @Steve Mancuso:

            It’s nice to see a blog refer readers to professional reporters like Hal McCoy who has been honored by the baseball Hall of Fame for his writing and is featured on Fox Sports Ohio. You don’t see that often.

        • @Johnu1: That’s sort of the thing with me, John. Like I mentioned, first, the best hitter had the best BA when I was growing up. Then, up came OBP. Then, we would read that the best hitter had the best SLG. When an argument could be made that the best hitter has the best “percent batted balls in play, whether resulting in a hit or out”. Who’s to say who’s best or not the best?

          Like some people talking about Frazier is one of the best 3rd basemen in the NL. Sorry, his WAR is right at the middle of the pack for all. But, then, many in front of him are getting paid a lot more money. His lower salary allows us to do things like re-signing Homer. Advanced metrics don’t take into consideration team construction. It is still a team sport. That’s why the games are still played. I have to laugh when people talk of “predictive stats”. Those are numbers simply based on what the batter has done previously, maybe including with “what’s been the general trend of a player in that position”, again, what’s been done in the past. You can’t predict anything. Likelihood something is to happen, yes. But, prediction? Sorry, that doesn’t exist.

          Like with Stubbs, it wasn’t any secret, he needed to not strike out so much. A simple hit chart would tell “if” there was a pattern to his K’ing. Then none, then you simply work on him hitting the ball, which would hurt if you never did look for the pattern.

          Or, you didn’t need any advanced metrics to be able to tell that Bronson was way less effective in innings 7-9 than through 1-6 (can’t confirm since decided not to show a pitcher’s splits today). So, that, if Bronson made it to the 7th, you started keeping him on an extra short leash.

          Like you said, I do believe a lot, but not all, of the advanced sabermetrics are just more ways to rehash the exact same information, just putting a little different spin on things. A pitcher’s fERA is a lot lower than his ERA is? That’s probably because his fielders didn’t do a very good job. But, guess what? You could probably just look at the regular fielding statistics and determine the fielders aren’t doing a very good job.

          Like what Steve said, like what I’ve tried to say, hard work/coaching/training can never be replaced by advanced metrics. They can assist in identifying an area to train and to see if there is any improvement in that area. And, guess what, more likely that not, that’s what regular metrics can give, also.

  14. I get the sense that Votto understands that certain stats do a good job of measuring a player’s value, and that he evaluates his own contributions with those yardsticks. In no way do I think he’s ever at the plate thinking about the results of any one at bat on the stat itself, nor does he make decisions based on the potential effect on that stat. He simply measures his effectiveness on an ongoing basis using certain stats and ignoring others. As it should be. Ironically I suspect Brandon Phillips got too wrapped up in his RBI stat last year to the detriment of his overall contribution. As much as Steve Mancuso likes to identify certain stats as more predictive than others (which of course they are), they will always have primary absolute value as a measuring tool of past performance.

  15. The Reds moved up another spot in the 2014 MLB draft to #19 overall with the Orioles signing of Ubaldo Jimeniz.
    There are 3 more free agents left to sign with draft pick compensation tied to their signing. (Drew, Santana, and K.Morales)
    If teams #12-18 sign any of those 3, then the Reds can move up another spot or so.
    The teams picking at #12-18 ahead of the Reds are 12-Mil, 13-SD, 14-SF, 15-LAA, 16-Ari, 17-KC, and 18-Was. So, if one of these teams signs one of those 3 remaining free agents, the Reds will move up one more spot.
    The Reds are in line for a very solid pick in June’s draft.

    • @WVRedlegs: Wouldn’t that also move up the Choo Comp pick also?

      so really we could move up 6 spots total for our two picks. No on Mil or SD. SF and LAA are possible, no on Ari or KC and maybe on the congressman

      Great observation WVRedlegs

      • @reaganspad:

        Yes, it will. It will be in the neighborhood of where Lorenzen was picked last year at #38 overall. When Texas signed Choo they forfieted their #21 pick, so that in turn moved that pick up one spot already. Also regarding that pick, if one of the teams that pick after the Reds, #20-32, signs one of those 3 free agents, then that team will have to forfiet their pick and it will move the Choo comp pick up one more spot. So, it’s all good while they wait for the dust to settle.

  16. I remember when this was a site where Reds fans could come talk passionately about their favorite club. Now, you can’t make a statement without someone saying you have no advanced metrics to support that view. I’ll admit i’m an old school guy, I have no interest in learning saber-metrics. I feel its just a new age approach to try to predict something that cannot ever be predicted. To me it’s like working a mathematical formula to win at hide and seek. I’ve watched people call other people ignorant, lazy and stupid if they dont use these metrics. I think I’m done here.

    • I feel its just a new age approach to try to predict something that cannot ever be predicted.

      I’d encourage anyone to stop thinking of the stats as trying to be predictive (or authoritatively so)… they’re simply evaluative. To the extent that they are used as predictive, I think non-saber people unfairly put out this idea that saber-oriented people view this as gospel. xFIP is simply a better predictor of future ERA than past ERA. That’s just mathematical truth… but nobody would swear that it’s going to be a certain number.

      Maybe the hype is due to the recent season projections… which is all they are. But at the end of the day, the “new stats” aren’t new, just a different way of evaluating a player based on numbers that have always existed, and, by the numbers, they do a better job doing so. But nothing is perfect or set in stone… Don’t hold that standard over saber-oriented minds. Baseball is still a crazy game. The new stats just give a team of being better with their money and talent more often, but certainly not infallibly.

      • @Matt WI: Interesting and moderate perspective, and I appreciate that. I believe that metrics are too new to have stopped evolving and, as a result, they deserve respect for what they can tell us, but the grain of salt with which they and almost everything should be taken should not be discarded. Numbers don’t lie? Of course they do, in effect. Politicians and corporations constantly select particular numbers that support their positions and omit mention of the numbers that don’t. Not just politicians and corporations, either.

  17. I gave this 24 hours to cool off and re-think what I have entered here. Re-read it and the adjoining comments.

    My conclusion is that the editor attacked my comments out of hand, and misrepresented them. The criticism he leveled was based on a pre-conceived agenda.

    Sad but true.

    Be at peace.

  18. First post here and I appreciate the discussion. One of the issues with the discussion of saber metrics and confusing the metric with a result. We’ve always measured the results and they come in the form of Wins-Losses, Pennants, World Series. The results are necessary to track to see if the team is actually succeeding in it’s goal. I don’t think anyone disagrees with this. What people disagree about is what actually drives the results — what are the performance drivers? For many years, the performance drivers were thought to be simple statistics like ERA, Batting Average, HRs, and RBIs — AND — some things that are very difficult to measure, like Team Chemistry. What the saber metrics folks are saying is that these basic statistics are incomplete and, at times, misleading. Further, these simple metrics may over or under evaluate a players actual contribution to winning. There are performance drivers of these statistics. And some of these performance drivers detect tremendous hidden value. The teams that win are finding and extracting more value from players than ever before to create and prevent runs — which, because number of games played in baseball and the importance of statistical process control to the outcome of 162 games, is more likely than not to produce wins.

    Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about. From 2010-2013, Joey Votto is the toughest out in baseball with RISP. His OBP is .503 over the span with RISP. This is an amazing statistic and shows the value of having Votto in the Reds lineup. His ability to either get a hit or draw a walk keeps innings alive. Does that not mean we shouldn’t want him to drive in runs? Of course we want him to drive in runs. We need runs and he’s in a position to drive them in. But when he doesn’t because he either doesn’t have good pitches to hit or because he’s intentionally walked (or because he’s not good enough to hit bad pitches well), he keeps the inning going and he forces the pitcher to throw a lot of pitches to do it. A good way to test this value is to ask — what would happen to run production if you had Joey Vottos batting 3,4 & 5 in your lineup? It wouldn’t be the most exciting baseball to watch but it would produce runs. And that’s one half of the key performance driver to winning.

    The other point, which is made in a couple of earlier posts, is the value of Todd Frazier as a defensive 3B. He may not the be the best defensive 3B in baseball. But he’s pretty good and he may be the best or near the best for the money. The savings created by playing Todd Frazier instead of overpaying for another player creates the opportunity to sign Homer Bailey to a longterm deal.

    The Reds are succeeding as a small market team because they are, more often than not, finding and converting value better than a lot of other teams. That may not remain the case forever. And it’s hard to tell if last year wasn’t as successful because the value creation trend had stalled or if the team just ran out of gas for reasons related to poor execution or leadership — obviously, the Reds brass thinks it was a leadership issue and there’s now a new leader.

    What my bottom line is is this: this is an exciting time to be a Reds fan! We have a team that tremendous potential year after year. We have a couple of the near-best players in the game at their positions. And Votto is on a HOF track and we’re lucky enough to be here to watch it!

  19. In honor of Harold Ramis, from Stripes,
    “Lighten Up, Francis(es).”

    Let’s all have a seat. I’ll break out the mason jar and everyone can have a thimble full or two. No need for anyone to exile themselves. This is baseball, not politics.
    Old school vs. new school. Traditional vs. sabermetris. It all has merits.
    I’m old school. But I have been willing to learn the new stuff. Some of it at least. While I like seeing what the BA, HR, and RBI’s are, it is nice now to see and understand how player X got those numbers, on what types of pitches and so forth.
    I think why many old schoolers reject the sabermetrics is that it can be very overwhelming at first. All these new abbreviations and %’s it gets confusing. And fast. Then trying to understand the formulas used to derive those numbers starting at ground zero adds to the frustration. Weighted this and weighted that. There is no way to learn it quickly and understand it. Over the last several years I have taken it upon myself to learn more of the new stats, how they were derived, and what they tell me. Pick out a few each year to learn more about. It is just some more knowledge to have in understanding this great game.
    If Votto says wRC+ is an all important stat for him, I’m listening. He is only the best hitter of this decade who happens to study one of the greatest hitters of all time. I knew virtually nothing about wRC+. So, that went to the top of my list this spring to learn more about. Old or new school, it’s nice to know a little more about baseball, and Votto.

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