Coming into the 2021 season, many people thought Joey Votto‘s glory days were over. He was coming off two consecutive disappointing years and was entering his age-37 season.
After a fairly pedestrian first half of the season, Votto went on an absolute rampage. Entering Wednesday, he was hitting .330/.430/.777 with 15 homers and 36 RBIs in 30 second-half games. On Monday, Votto collected his 2,000th big-league hit. That milestone is frequently thought of as a benchmark for players to get inducted into the Hall of Fame. Considering what he has done in his career, reaching 2,000 hits all but assures that Joey Votto will get his plaque in Cooperstown.
Votto’s Career Numbers and Accolades
For his career, Votto has compiled an impressive .303/.417/.520 (148 OPS+) batting line. He has 321 homers, 427 doubles, 1,042 RBIs, and 63.1 rWAR. Votto has also been strong defensively, racking up 55 DRS at first base.
Votto has made six All-Star teams and collected a Gold Glove. In 2008, Votto finished second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Geovany Soto. In 2010, Votto won the National League Most Valuable Player Award, as he led the Reds to their first playoff appearance since 1995. Overall, Votto has finished in the top ten of MVP voting six times, including when he finished second by just two points to Giancarlo Stanton in 2017.
Votto has always been lauded for his plate discipline, and he has led his league in on-base percentage seven times, while also leading in walks five times and OPS twice. He has also led the senior circuit in intentional walks three times. Outside of his injury-shortened 2014 season, Votto has had a pretty clean bill of health throughout his career.
Comparing Votto to Hall of Fame First Basemen
When using JAWS, a stat that averages a player’s career wins above replacement with his seven-year peak, Votto is ranked 13th all-time among first basemen. Of the 12 players ranked ahead of him, only Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, and Rafael Palmeiro are not in the Hall of Fame (yet). Pujols and Cabrera are considered slam dunks for Cooperstown, while Palmeiro probably would be in if it were not for his performance-enhancing drug usage.
Votto’s career WAR of 63.1 is just short of the 66.9 of an average Hall-of-Fame first baseman (there are 21 first basemen in the Hall of Fame). Considering that Votto still has three more years left on his contract, expect his career WAR to increase. His seven-year peak WAR of 46.9 though exceeds the average of 42.7. His JAWS of 55.0 is directly in line with the average number of 54.8. Lastly, the average Hall of Fame first baseman has a WAR per 162 games of 5.0. For his career, Votto has averaged 5.5 WAR per 162 games.
Judging by all of these numbers, it is safe to say that Joey Votto will get enshrined in Cooperstown once his career ends. While he may get overshadowed by Pujols and Cabrera, Votto deserves his share of recognition. The only item he is missing is a World Series ring.
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