This week’s respondents are Nick Kirby, Chris Garber, Clay Marshall, Ashley Davis, and Steve Mancuso.
Our Daily Reds Obsession: Will Joey Votto make the baseball Hall of Fame?
Nick: Yes, duh! I believe that Votto could retire right now and still make the HOF. Votto is currently tied for the 10th highest OBP (.428) and the 10th highest wRC+ (158) in the MLB history. That in itself should get him in, and the baseball writers are getting smarter with voting in recent years.
Chris: If you had asked me on October 1, I would have said yes, absolutely. Votto’s ageless 2017, with power numbers unheard of in years, seemed to have finally pushed Votto into the consensus understanding of the game’s elite players. I only pause because of the ridiculous Silver Slugger award voting from last week. If “baseball men” can compare the 2017 hitting statistics of Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt and find the latter superior… well, anything could happen.
Clay: As long as the electorate doesn’t include the managers and coaches who voted on this year’s Silver Slugger awards! In all seriousness, though, I believe he will, although I don’t think it will be on his first attempt. While it seems the collective appreciation of Votto’s skills has grown in recent years, the fact that he’s still being overlooked for individual honors and such shows there’s still work to do. There’s no legitimate reason a player this good should be considered “overlooked,” which is a primary reason why I wish the Reds would do more to embrace and especially market him as the face of the franchise. Naming him captain would be a nice start.
Ashley: Maybe my bias is showing here, but Joey Votto will make the Baseball Hall of Fame. As a new group of HOF voters is ushered in, it will bring in a new era of those who won’t focus on just the “old stats” of AVG, HR, RBI. It’s already starting. Voters are putting more focus on OBP, OPS and WAR. According to Baseball Reference, the average HOF first baseman has a 66.8 career WAR. Votto currently has a 54.8 career WAR, and he still has at least six more years in the league. My only worry is that people will underrate him because Votto’s been underrated for much of his career. I mean, his numbers couldn’t even convince other managers and coaches that he is the best first baseman in the league this season (if evidenced by the Silver Slugger award).
Steve: Yes. And I’m not sure I would have said that prior to his 2017 season. Votto has already accumulated about 54 WAR, including his 7 WAR season in 2017. He’s been durable and his particular skill set shows no sign of decline. In fact, it got better at age 33-34. Votto could easily reach 75 WAR, which would be the 8th highest all-time for first base. If you look at a player’s seven-best seasons, Votto already ranks #11 among 1B all time, ahead of HOFs Frank Thomas and Willie McCovey. The HOF voting population is getting younger and more modern in the way they look at player value. If Votto plays to the end of his Reds contract, he wouldn’t be eligible for HOF voting until 2028. That’s plenty of time for significant further turnover in voting population.