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Monday, March 11, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL PLAYER ANALYZER: JOEY VOTTO 1B CINCINNATI REDS

The curious case of Joey Votto circa 2018 has confounded many in the fantasy baseball community as drafts are fully underway in the industry.  Universally considered of of the very best pure hitters of his generation, Votto had an absolute blockbuster campaign in 2017 when he slammed 36 home runs, scored 100, collected 100 RBI, and batted .320.  With Votto showing no signs of slowing down despite reaching his 30's, he once again was in the late round 1/early round 2 territory when drafts got going last spring.  Alas, Votto proceeded to put forth a very disappointing 2018 campaign that included drastic dips in almost all the key offensive categories.  When the dust settled, Votto completely went bust to the tune of the following numbers:

.284
12 HR
67 RBI
67 R
2 SB
17.3 BB/9
16.2 K/9
.333 BABIP

The fact that those digits above came in a massive 623 at-bats and that Votto still carried around a very lucky .333 BABIP made his erosion even more disturbing when looked through any lens.  So the main question concerning Votto this spring is whether or not this is his new statistical normal and whether at the age of 35, he is done as a prime fantasy baseball contributor. 

As we always do, digging into the numbers is key and on that front, there are mostly negatives.  As we noted earlier, Votto saw a sizable batting average dip DESPITE carrying such a lucky .333 BABIP and his power fell completely off the map as well in doing from 36 to just 12 homers despite collecting 623 at-bats.  The age factor is real and could absolutely be a main factor in Votto's decline and this from a guy who has a history of knee trouble that could also be hurting the power.  Now Votto's eye is still as good as it gets as shown by the insane 17.3 BB/9 and miniscule 16.2 K/9 but Votto's fly ball rate totally plummeted from 38.0 percent in 2017 down to just 31.1 a year ago.  With Votto's line drive rate going up in turn, we could be seeing a transition here from a guy who was a tremendous power hitter to someone who is more of a singles/doubles weapon.  As we all know, age does not discriminate and in Votto's case, the numbers dip pretty much across the board is too stark to ignore.  While we still laud Votto's well-earned reputation as one of the best hitters in the game, his profile shift on that front has turned him into more of a CI or UTIL guy in fantasy baseball. 

2019 PROJECTION:  .298 17 HR 86 RBI 88 R 6 SB  


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