Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated has an article on Cincinnati Reds slugger Joey Votto, where he makes the case for Votto as the best hitter in the game right now. Votto just signed a big 10 year, 225 million dollar deal before the season. Compared to the Pujols contract or the upcoming Josh Hamilton deal, though, Votto is younger and more likely to still be productive through most of a 10-year deal.
Votto is currently leading the NL in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage, as well as walks. While he *only* has 9 home runs, he has 22 doubles. Josh Hamilton has gotten a lot of publicity for his hot start, but Votto has been just as productive (more doubles and walks, fewer home runs) than the Rangers’ center fielder, and is the NL MVP through the first two months. Considering that he already led the NL in both on-base and slugging two years ago, and in on-base percentage last year, it’s somewhat amazing that he has never
played started in an All-Star game. That should get rectified this year.
The most amazing thing from Verducci’s article, though, was this–Joey Votto has only pulled one foul ball into the seats in his major league career. If you like to sit along the first base line, Votto’s probably not going to give you a souvenir. Votto remembers that lone pulled foul ball into the crowd from his rookie year, a foul ball he describes as not being deep, 20 to 30 feet foul. “I haven’t hit a long home run foul in my whole career,” Votto added.
Amazing. I mean, I don’t know if that is an official statistic kept by anyone, but lots of good hitters get fooled on breaking pitches and pull them foul. That Votto has pulled one foul enough to reach the seats only once in his career is a testament to his–to this point, under appreciated–skill.
[photo via US Presswire]