If you haven’t seen it yet, C. Trent Rosecrans has a great story on Joey Votto that was published today. It’s a must-read if you, like every intelligent human being, are a fan of Joseph Daniel Votto:

Leon Roberts had a standard list of questions he liked to ask young players when he was the roving hitting instructor for the Reds. It was the early 2000s, the tail end of baseball’s steroid era, and the answers unsurprisingly reflected the times.

Who do you think about when you’re hitting? “Barry Bonds,” they’d say. Who is your favorite hitter? “Mark McGwire.” What type of hitter do you want to be? “A slugger, like Sammy Sosa.”

But one player, an 18-year-old catcher, surprised Roberts with a different reply. It was 2002 and that player was Joey Votto.

“The first thing he brings up is Ted Williams, who is one of my heroes and someone I studied and had talked to a couple of times,” Roberts recalled. “I thought, this kid has a pretty good base to start with if he’s got Ted Williams at the top of his list.”

I don’t have anything to add; just wanted to make sure the Nation didn’t miss this. There’s much, much more, and it’s certainly worth your time today. Read the entire thing here. Good work, Trent.

Blame Chad for creating this mess.

Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, “The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds” is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad’s musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine.

You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

Join the conversation! 29 Comments

  1. Man, what a great article. Whatever you think of his approach, you have to appreciate the dedication. If Votto says he renewed his vigor for defense over the offseason, I believe we’ll see it much improved over last year.

    That’s cool he sent the GG trophy to Benevides.

    • Can you imagine sending your one and only Gold Glove trophy to someone else? What a selfless act.

      That thing would have been on my mantle.

      • It was an extremely selfless and gracious gesture. It’s nice hearing stories like this.

        But, I’m betting Joey’s MVP trophy and (perhaps) future HOF ring are going to be much more valuable to him!

      • Yet, the national media labels him as a malcontent most of the time. There’s a good reason why I generally don’t trust anything the national sports media puts out!

  2. Votto has a lot of good/great qualities as a baseball player. But I think the most important SINGLE one is that he is a hard worker; a grinder. So was Pete Rose.
    There are a lot of guys in the Bigs with a lot of talent, but they don’t work as hard as Joey.

    And the hard work comes from within, it is a personal choice to be this way. Without his dedication and hard work, he is just another guy that plays first base. Joey worked hard to become the player he is today.
    Hats off to Joey, because he has the heart of a champion.

  3. Fantastic article. Love this quote: Roberts said. “There’s only really two things a batter does – if a pitcher pitches to him and throws strikes, he should hit the ball hard somewhere. If the pitcher doesn’t pitch to him, can’t pitch to him or is too scared to pitch to him, then you just accept your walk. You don’t look for walks, you just accept them.”

    That’s where I think people don’t understand Votto. He would rather put the ball on the bat and give it a rip. If the pitcher won’t give him the pitch to do that, he will accept his walk. The discipline it takes to not go out and try to make a bad pitch into a hittable pitch is very rare. Votto has that discipline. GOAT.

    • I think beyond that, he fights the pitcher to GET a pitch that he can drive somewhere. He will fight off bad pitches, and protect the plate until either the pitcher gives in and puts something in the good hitting zone, or gives up and walks him.
      That comes from discipline in a million hours of hitting, and that is just hard work.

    • Where people get frustrated is when he takes called strikes. They feel those pitches were hittable. In some cases, they are right. I mean it’s hard to hit MLB pitching and sometimes a good pitch to hit fools the best hitters and they end up taking it. What they don’t understand is that in most cases, the strikes that he’s taking are very borderline pitches. In other words, he knows he really can’t hit them hard somewhere so he’ll let them go. They weren’t what he was looking for. Sometimes this leads to called strike threes. It drives fans nuts. What they don’t realize is that Votto probably believes there’s a better chance taking that pitch and hoping it’s called a ball than there is if he were to swing. He could swing and miss, or make really weak contact. He may not even think he is more likely to foul it off than swing and miss. So, he doesn’t swing.

      I’m not inside Votto’s head so I may be way off the mark. What I do know however is he isn’t up there “looking to walk”.

      • This has always been my opinion of his thinking too LW. I’m from the camp that I don’t mind him taking pitcher’s pitches for strikes. But it does drive me a little crazy when he takes pitches down the heart of the plate, especially with men on. Sure, hitters are fooled all the time, so that may be it. Maybe he is guessing a pitch and location. I think he also falls prey to his own selectiveness. When there is a base open, he probably knows he isn’t going to get that perfect pitch, and is fooled when it comes down the middle

  4. Votto’s work ethic, re. batting, is unquestioned. But come on to compare him to Williams and then say Votto is the greatest of all time is a stretch even for his most ardent fan.

    Williams played 21 years and AVERAGED .344 at the plate, 130 RBI a year, with only 50 strikeouts a year, OBP .425, and it goes on and on. Votto in his best year hasn’t done what Williams averaged in 21 years.

    GOAT Votto, hope this was said in jest.

    • Yes, it was hyperbole. I love me some Joey Votto, but I’m not seriously going to claim he’s the greatest hitter of all time.

      • I love him too but what if he played in Petco? He loves driving the ball over or off the LF wall in GABP but alot of those wouldn’t even make the track in SD or LA. The opposite might be true too though? If he played in Houston or Boston he might hit .340 every year? He’s probably the greatest Reds hitter of all-time but lets not go crazy!

        • If Joey played in Petco, do you doubt that he would adapt? His approach is to be the most effective that the circumstances allow.

        • This is why very smart people have come up with stats like wRC+ that adjust for the environment your games are played in. Votto’s wRC+, last time I checked, was Top 15 in MLB history. That account for all the “cheap homers” he gets at GABP.

          That’s also why Colorado Rockies aren’t considered the best hitters in the league every year, even though they always have tons of guys with high average, lots of homers, and lots of RBI.

          • On the flip side…GABP prob hurts Joey’s average! It looks like the smallest OF in the majors. He’s great….can’t dispute that!!

          • Yep, you are correct. Fewer singles, doubles, and triples than average in GABP.

      • Some really sensitive people reading this site.

        • Joey makes us love the game more because he takes his job so seriously. Plus he could have gone elsewhere for even more money and yet remained dedicated and loyal to the city and its fans. He is truly an exceptional talent that we will really miss in a few years.

          • I’m a fan, but I’m pretty sure the 225 million is why he’s here and not “loyalty.” He was offered a market rate deal before he was eligible for UFA and he accepted.

        • This is actually one of the reasons I love this site. There is generally always someone that will call you out if you make a grandiose (or inaccurate) statement. It keeps me on my toes!

  5. Great article – thanks for the tip Chad. Votto is not the GOAT. There can only be one of those of the thousands to have played at MLB, so that’s no knock. But if he stays healthy I’m confident he’s on his way to Cooperstown, and that means he is one of the GOAT’s. And in my eyes the GOOT – Greatest of Our Time. He’s been a joy to watch and I intend to savor the next four or seven or however many years. And if some of the kids around him mature into all stars too, think how much fun that could be!

  6. The wonder that is Joey Votto. Breathe it in. Drink it in. Savor the majesty that is Joey Votto at bat. For it will be gone in a few short years and we will be left with only the memories.
    The non-believers and haters of JV just don’t get what they are witnessing.

    • I’m going to be saying this all year long. Enjoy every single at-bat. We’re witnessing something that we may never see again, a truly elite hitter in a Reds uniform.

  7. At the very end, it is alluded to that some minor leaguers are saying “Joey Votto” when asked the question… I wonder which hitters are saying that. We need to stock up on their rookie cards!

  8. Off topic, pardon, but it was fun to see Duvall’s homer the other day. It nearly cleared the scoreboard, a mammoth shot. Even it was spring training, that was fun to see.

    • Have you seen the distance estimates on that? Would like to know if it was like 475ft or something. That’s a titanic blast.

      • That was a moonshot but I’m more impressed with the oppo HRs he’s been hitting because that’s the way to really take advantage in GABP!

  9. Developments to watch this weekend:

    1. The extended weather forecast has a 90% chance of rain for Monday, Opening Day, and 100% for Monday night. Opening Day might happen on Tuesday. And the forecast could change between now and Monday.

    2. The Phillies DFA’d 24 year old OF Tyler Goeddel. Goeddel was a Rule V pick of the Phillies last year and had to stay on their 25 man roster all year as a 23 year old. To say he struggled would be a yes. He hadn’t played above AA before the Rule V draft. He was overmatched. He might be a good pick up to place down in Louisville if he has an option left. Pretty decent power and good speed. He would require a 40 man spot though, which might be a little tight right now. Not sure why Phil. DFA’d him. They may have needed his 40 man spot, he may be out of options, or he may have had a really bad spring.

    3. The Futures games tonight in Louisville and tomorrow in Dayton will be very interesting to see how they turn out. Mahle starts tonight for the Futures team and Castillo tomorrow.

  10. Vance Worley just got released on March 29. Why haven’t we signed him already? He had a 2.85 era w/17 starts for the Bucs in 2014 and 3.53 with 86 ip with the O’s last year. He looks like Steven Strasburg compared to Arroyo. Rookie had a 7.50 at Lville last year…kind of thinking it might not be pretty with him either? A guy like him could potentially help out a lot more then a guy like Gennett.

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About Chad Dotson

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.


2017 Reds, Joey Votto is Perfect