When I was visiting colleges trying to make a decision about my future, I visited Miami of Ohio. On that trip my father and I took a trip to Great American Ballpark (“Good” American Ballpark if you ask me) in Cincinnati to see a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. On the Cincinnati Reds is one of baseball’s best players by all new advanced metrics and by the old ones. In the third inning of the game, Joey Votto hit a towering Home Run to deep centerfield with one of the greatest swings I had ever seen live. Even with this home run, the Reds lost 10-3. Even with Votto leading the league in the coveted On Base Percentage (OBP) state and finishing second in Most Valuable Player voting, the team went 68-94 finishing last in their division. After the loss I had to ask myself a very important question: Are the Reds wasting a Hall-of-Fame talent in Joey Votto? The answer is unfortunately and obviously. Yes.
Out of all active players in the game right now Votto is first in OBP, second in OBP+Slugging (OPS) and third in Batting Average. The most important thing in baseball is getting on base, and no one does it better than Votto. In 2010 he won the MVP Award and is widely recognized as one of the best in the game still today. Unfortanetly for him the Reds teams he has been include some of the worst in franchise history. Votto himself made 3 Playoffs with the reds but they have never advanced past the first round.
For measuring a players Hall-of-fame “worthiness” while still a player, they’re are two main stats we look at. WAR and JAWS. WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement which is how many wins his team gets because he is the first baseman and not the guy who would replace him. His career WAR is 54.8 which is 12 points below they average Hall-of-Fame First-Basemen’s WAR, but pretty close. His JAWS which is the Jaffe War Score System which is how a baseball writer evaluates Hall-Of-Fame likeliness based on WAR and other stats is 50.2 which is 4 points lower than the average first basemen. In 2017 his 7.48 WAR wasn’t just the best on the Reds, it was the best out of any first basemen in the league. It was actually good for 5th best in the league all together. For a player this close to being on track to being a hall of fame, it appears to be the rest of his team, not his own ability which is dragging him down and his ability to win a championship. Poor Joey Votto would almost be better suited to win on any other team in the MLB, but alas as he enters his age 34 season with the Reds, it looks like his professional tides will not be changing any time soon. So we will continue to see the greatest waste of talent in the MLB today.