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OnBaseMachine
07-09-2007, 06:08 PM
Future is now for Reds' Votto
Top prospect hits homer in star showcase
BY DAVID BUSH | ENQUIRER CONTRIBUTOR

SAN FRANCISCO - Each of the Reds' two participants made his presence felt in Sunday's annual All-Star Futures Game, one more event in what has been a season of change for the two prospects.

The World team - a 7-2 winner in the exhibition between top minor-leaguers at AT&T Park, the site of Tuesday's All-Star Game - included Cincinnati's Triple-A first baseman Joey Votto while the U.S. team included Jay Bruce, an outfielder for Double-A Chattanooga.

Votto, a Toronto native who helped his side's cause with a sixth-inning home run Sunday, will resume his part-time schooling at a new position when he returns to Louisville. With an eye on their future major-league needs, the Reds have been giving their 2002 second-round draft choice playing time in left field. He admits to some difficult moments in the 20 or so games he has tried it.

"I am actually getting better out there," he said. "From the beginning, you can't get much worse than I was. But I have come by leaps and bounds since then."

Even first base wasn't always Votto's work station. He was drafted as a catcher, but no one felt his future was behind the plate.

His fielding at first base is more than adequate, which makes it easy for him to work in the outfield.

"The reason why I don't mind playing left field and getting some work out there is that I am comfortable at first," he said. "I feel like they can stick me in left field for a week and I can come back and have the same ability at first."

But his bat, which has produced a .315 batting average in Louisville following his MVP season at Chattanooga last year, is what intrigued the Reds.

And he showed it off by belting a drive over the left field fence. The left-handed hitter said the off-field power was a good sign.

"I like to hit the ball to all fields," he said. "But I usually find I am on my game when I am driving the ball hard the other way."

Bruce, who hit a triple, said he has adjusted to a new team and a new level of competition.

An outfielder who was the Reds' first-round choice two years ago, Bruce started the season at Class A Sarasota and by hitting .379, earned a promotion last month to Double-A Chattanooga, where he has kept up the performance, averaging .328 with four home runs.

"It was an adjustment in some ways, and in some ways it wasn't," Bruce said. "It's still baseball, and I do my thing. But there are some differences. The pitching is a little more consistent, better defense. So far I have been pretty fortunate getting some good pitches, and when I get 'em, I hit 'em."

He hit one Sunday in the second inning, knocking a pitch from Phillies prospect Carlos Carrasco into the right-center field area of AT&T Park, known as Triples Alley. And third base is where Bruce ended up.

"So that's what it's called," he said. "I can see why."

Votto was making his second appearance in the Futures Game. And while he said he doesn't want to make a career of being a star of tomorrow, he said he enjoyed the experience.

"I had never been to San Francisco," he said. "It's a great city and a great ballpark. And it's always good to play against the best at your level."

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/AB/20070709/SPT04/707090323/

dougdirt
07-09-2007, 06:13 PM
Votto doesn't seem overly thrilled about still being in the minor leagues. Not from this article, but Joey had this to say in an article with TSN.com

"The more time I spend in the minor-leagues, I don't want to use the word anger or frustration, but it just eats at you," said Votto. "You want to get there as quickly as possible, especially when you're playing well. I'm just trying to do whatever it takes."

icehole3
07-09-2007, 06:25 PM
take it out on the opposing pitchers Joey

The_jbh
07-09-2007, 06:47 PM
So close but so far... the gap is large and Joey has earned a promotion... its time to promote him, this season is sunk get his bat ML ready for next year... I'd be unhappy if he wasn't frustrated to be up in the majors... hes a competitor

Chi-Town Red
07-09-2007, 06:56 PM
he should be up by Sept 1 if not sooner

IslandRed
07-09-2007, 07:08 PM
He'll probably be up as soon as one of the other bats is traded away.

The thing that jumped out at me in that article regarded his defense. From everything I'd read earlier this year, I wasn't sure if he was playing LF at times because he was competent at first base, or because he wasn't. I'm glad to hear that (at least in his opinion) it's the former.

corkedbat
07-09-2007, 07:54 PM
I believe it's almost a foregone conclusion the Joey V. will join the Reds within the next three weeks - who is dealt to make room is probably being the only question.

We all know that Votto has been playing some OF recently and the Bats have been somewhat short-handed there this year. What are the chances they bump Jay Bruce to AAA to replace Votto if he can maintain something close to his current .328 pace in AA between now & then?

dougdirt
07-09-2007, 08:42 PM
I believe it's almost a foregone conclusion the Joey V. will join the Reds within the next three weeks - who is dealt to make room is probably being the only question.

We all know that Votto has been playing some OF recently and the Bats have been somewhat short-handed there this year. What are the chances they bump Jay Bruce to AAA to replace Votto if he can maintain something close to his current .328 pace in AA between now & then?

I would be willing to bet money that Jay Bruce is staying in AA the rest of the season.

Mario-Rijo
07-09-2007, 10:37 PM
Just another Votto article. He does sorta dicuss his feelings about still being in AAA.

http://http://www.sbrforum.com/Headlines/MLB/47371.aspx


Joey Votto is just a phone call away from joining the Cincinnati Reds.

A two-time Futures Game participant, Votto is biding his time at Class AAA Louisville, where the first baseman is batting .315 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI with 10 stolen bases in 83 games. Throw in 50 walks and the lefthanded hitter has compiled a .412 on-base percentage.

"The Reds haven't said anything to me about their plans," Votto said. "That's their decision. I'm just here to play and keep improving."

Although the Reds are tied with the Washington Nationals for the worst record in the major leagues and already have summoned righthander Homer Bailey, Votto says he has not been given any indication when or if he will be summoned.

The 23-year-old isn't just a one-hit wonder. Votto was Class AA Southern League MVP last season, batting .319 with 46 doubles, 22 homers and 77 RBI at Chattanooga.

Votto homered in the sixth inning of the Futures Game, but doesn't feel that will make much of a difference when the Reds call him up.

"I don't think something like this makes a big difference with the Reds decision," he said. "They see me play all the time and they know how I play and what I'm about. I don't think hitting a home run today makes that big of a difference.

"The only thing that may affect their decision is whether or not I handled the magnifying glass, the spotlight in front of cameras on a big league stage and if you handle yourself well that can speak for itself.

To improve his versatility, the 6-3, 220-pounder has been playing some left field, which could come into play if Cincinnati trades regular left fielder Adam Dunn by the trade deadline.

"If it happens, it happens," Votto said. "I want to keep getting better; my fielding, hitting, strikeouts. I want to cut down on my strikeouts."

While Votto, a native of Toronto, would love to join 2007 first-time Canadian-born All-Stars Justin Morneau and Russell Martin in the major leagues, he's not focued on his heritage.

"I don't think of myself as a Canadian necessarily. I do recognize I'm Canadian," Votto said. "I'm a baseball player with the Cincinnati Reds. This is the uniform I wear. I'm happy to be Canadian. I grew up there. I'm a Cincinnati Red first and foremost. ... I'm a Cincinnati Red, so I'm just trying to help them win games. I just hope they're ready to call me up so I can help do that.

Votto marvels at having icon Ken Griffey Jr. around to learn from.

"You just watch what he does. He's fun to be around," Votto said. "He's a great guy, too. He's always prepared. Like I said, I don't know the guy, but just seeing the way players interact with him all the time and get along with him, he's just awesome. He has a special hitter's stroke and you don't ever teach that."

Despite all of his successes, Votto has had to overcome one obstacle this season. He was experiencing blurry vision in his right eye early in the season, went to the doctors, was given contacts and soon after embarked on a 17-game hitting streak.

"I don't know what happened to my eyes. I couldn't see out of my right eye," Votto said. "I could see, but it wasn't clear vision. I had an optometrist take a look at it and they said I had bad vision and you've got to put contacts in, so they wrote a prescription and it worked out OK.

"Yeah, how about that (hitting streak). It's funny how these things work. I see great afterwards. I don't want to necessarily say that it has everything to do with my contacts, but it does have something to do with my eyesight. I thought I was going to come around anyways, but I see the ball now."

That correction has allowed Votto to put his sights firmly on the major leagues.

fearofpopvol1
07-10-2007, 02:05 AM
Hatteberg is definitely going to be traded. His stock is at an all time high right now and when that happens, enter Joey Votto.

bucksfan2
07-10-2007, 09:15 AM
Hatteberg is definitely going to be traded. His stock is at an all time high right now and when that happens, enter Joey Votto.

I wish I were as sure about Hatty being traded as you. What scares me about Hatty is that he is going to be cheap next year at just under 2M. He also could be a good bat off the bench and I can see reds management keeping him around for another season. Votto should get the full time 1b gig ASAP but I thought he would have been up here by now.

AmarilloRed
07-10-2007, 06:57 PM
I can see either Conine or Hatteberg being traded. One of them will be gone to make room for Votto. We only need one reserve first baseman.

fearofpopvol1
07-10-2007, 08:31 PM
I wish I were as sure about Hatty being traded as you. What scares me about Hatty is that he is going to be cheap next year at just under 2M. He also could be a good bat off the bench and I can see reds management keeping him around for another season. Votto should get the full time 1b gig ASAP but I thought he would have been up here by now.

I'm a big fan of Scott, but Conine is probably similar in price and he is also a righty (which would be better for a platoon situation). Scott's value right now is at an all time high and he is sort of old. I think you can actually get a prospect with return for him. I could be wrong though.

Redmachine2003
07-10-2007, 09:46 PM
How about a line up in a couple of years off
1. CF Stubbs- Leading off (so far that seems where his future lies)
2. Left Bruce
3. 2nd Phillips
4. Right Hamilton
5. 3rd Frazier (This would be a stretch but I really do think he will be a fast mover)
6. 1st Votto
7. ss Janish (suppose to be a wiz with the glove)
8. Catcher ?????

corkedbat
07-10-2007, 11:52 PM
How about a line up in a couple of years off
1. CF Stubbs- Leading off (so far that seems where his future lies)
2. Left Bruce
3. 2nd Phillips
4. Right Hamilton
5. 3rd Frazier (This would be a stretch but I really do think he will be a fast mover)
6. 1st Votto
7. ss Janish (suppose to be a wiz with the glove)
8. Catcher ?????

If you'te talking abot 2009:

* I don't see Stubbs or Frazier there yet.

* You could just as easily see Dickerson in CF as Stubbs.

* If Stubbs hits well enough to make it I'd think he'd hit 6th or 7th.

* I think there will be at least one or two regulars acquired (a SS who can leadoff would be nice)

* You might see a Hanigan/Tatum platoon at C by then (if one isn't traded for) while we wait on Moresco

BoydsOfSummer
07-10-2007, 11:55 PM
I hope he's not too attached to the number he wears. ;)

AmarilloRed
07-10-2007, 11:59 PM
I'm a big fan of Scott, but Conine is probably similar in price and he is also a righty (which would be better for a platoon situation). Scott's value right now is at an all time high and he is sort of old. I think you can actually get a prospect with return for him. I could be wrong though.

I am pretty sure than when Votto is brought up he will be the starter, and not in a platoon situation. I think you could get a prospect for both of them. I do think you could get a better prospect for Scott,though.

fearofpopvol1
07-12-2007, 12:57 AM
I am pretty sure than when Votto is brought up he will be the starter, and not in a platoon situation. I think you could get a prospect for both of them. I do think you could get a better prospect for Scott,though.

I definitely think (especially if he's brought up this year) that you'll see Conine platooning with Votto on the days that Lefties are pitching. If you get rid of both Hatte and Conine, who is going to back him up? Javy?? I don't see them trading both away.

AmarilloRed
07-12-2007, 01:28 AM
I definitely think (especially if he's brought up this year) that you'll see Conine platooning with Votto on the days that Lefties are pitching. If you get rid of both Hatte and Conine, who is going to back him up? Javy?? I don't see them trading both away.

I must not have made myself very clear. I think one of them will be traded at the trading deadline, not both. I just thought Hatteberg would bring more back in a trade than Conine. I also don't think it is a good idea to start out platooning Votto until he proves he cannot hit left-handers on the major league level.

Kc61
07-16-2007, 08:29 PM
Votto has 11 homers this year. He's slumping now, which doesn't concern me, but the lack of power production this year does concern me.

dougdirt
07-16-2007, 09:16 PM
Votto has 11 homers this year. He's slumping now, which doesn't concern me, but the lack of power production this year does concern me.

Joey has changed his approach this season a little. He is going to the opposite field a lot more this year.

AmarilloRed
07-17-2007, 01:01 AM
I can accept reduced power if he is learning to use the whole field. I am a little bit concerned about the slump-the pitching will be a lot tougher in the majors.

mth123
07-17-2007, 01:42 AM
Votto is the first real Reds 1B prospect in years. Since I usually try to avoid front running, Votto is currently my "favorite" Reds propsect (as opposed to Bruce or Bailey). But I have to say, if the power proves to be Caseyesque, I'm not sure that the Reds wouldn't be better off extending Hatte for a couple years (or at least invoking the 2008 option) and packaging Votto with a second or third tier pitching prospect (like say Dumatrait or Lecure) in a deal for good young pitcher. My hope for Votto is that he becomes the first real Reds first baseman in a long time to provide the consistent slugging and OBP combo that the position demands and generally is being provided to the Reds competition by opposing 1B on a nightly basis. Mark Grace was a pretty good player and its probably unfair, but if Votto emerges as a player of that ilk at 1B, I'll be disappointed in spite of the fact that he will have been a success. I want a productive bopper at 1B for a change. IMO the lack of one has been a root element in many of the Reds problems of the last several years (most notably the need to compensate by using questionable defenders in order to get more compensating offense at key defensive spots).

Get your power back Joey. 11 AAA HRs and a sub .480 slugging % at this point of the AAA season is a bit disappointing and leaves me a little concerned as to how those numbers will project in the bigs. The .547 Slugging % from 2006 seems like ancient history right now.

dougdirt
07-17-2007, 02:11 AM
Joey has slugged an even .500 since April ended. He got his contacts the first week of May. Louisville does not give up many HRs compared to most of the IL and also supresses triples. Likewise it does allow a lot of doubles. As a league the IL supresses HR, doubles and singles compared to the rest of the minors. While that doesn't explain all of Votto's slugging issues, he is playing in a pitcher friendly environment in the IL.

mth123
07-17-2007, 02:45 AM
Joey has slugged an even .500 since April ended. He got his contacts the first week of May. Louisville does not give up many HRs compared to most of the IL and also supresses triples. Likewise it does allow a lot of doubles. As a league the IL supresses HR, doubles and singles compared to the rest of the minors. While that doesn't explain all of Votto's slugging issues, he is playing in a pitcher friendly environment in the IL.

Thanks Doug. My complaint with the Reds 1B solutions for the last 30 years or so has been the lack of power. Hatte is having a good year and provides a lot of things to the Reds (but not enough power IMO), but I look forward to having a more prototypical player at 1B. If that isn't Votto and the best we can expect is more of the same (which isn't all bad), then it may be time to take advantage of the very reasonable option that the Reds have with Hatte and use Votto as bait to acquire reinforcements in other areas. The Reds could surely get a much better pitcher by trading Votto than by trading Hatte. I've been a big proponent of Joey, but I'm starting to wonder if trading him for another top starter to pair with Bailey might not be the way to go. I doubt that we'll see the 2007 Hatte again, but at $1.85 Million even the 2006 version would be a pretty good investment (especially if it frees the Reds to flip Votto for a much needed starter). My concern is that Votto's MLB numbers will be in the .300/.380/.450 range (a reasonable expectation given a AAA line of .312/.409/.477). Those aren't bad and pretty valuable for league minimum dollars, but not really hard to replace at 1B. A long term pitcher would probably be more valuable - especially with a short term, low dollar 1B substitute in hand. Its possible Votto's numbers will go up in Cincy with GABP helping him out, but its still a jump to the bigs and I'd have to expect his MLB numbers would be lower than the numbers he's putting up in AAA.

Minnesota, for example, could benefit by using Votto as a DH/1B right now and his LF experiment plays right into their needs for the future. If he and a lesser pitcher could fetch Garza or Slowey it has to be considered IMO. I don't think Hatte would bring back anything close to that. Votto's youth and low dollar years all being ahead of him really boosts his trade value in comparison to the usual suspects that we have been discussing the Reds dealing.

Aronchis
07-17-2007, 03:34 AM
[QUOTE=mth123;1414180]Thanks Doug. My complaint with the Reds 1B solutions for the last 30 years or so has been the lack of power. Hatte is having a good year and provides a lot of things to the Reds (but not enough power IMO), but I look forward to having a more prototypical player at 1B. If that isn't Votto and the best we can expect is more of the same (which isn't all bad), then it may be time to take advantage of the very reasonable option that the Reds have with Hatte and use Votto as bait to acquire reinforcements in other areas. The Reds could surely get a much better pitcher by trading Votto than by trading Hatte. I've been a big proponent of Joey, but I'm starting to wonder if trading him for another top starter to pair with Bailey might not be the way to go. I doubt that we'll see the 2007 Hatte again, but at $1.85 Million even the 2006 version would be a pretty good investment (especially if it frees the Reds to flip Votto for a much needed starter). My concern is that Votto's MLB numbers will be in the .300/.380/.450 range (a reasonable expectation given a AAA line of .312/.409/.477). Those aren't bad and pretty valuable for league minimum dollars, but not really hard to replace at 1B. A long term pitcher would probably be more valuable - especially with a short term, low dollar 1B substitute in hand. Its possible Votto's numbers will go up in Cincy with GABP helping him out, but its still a jump to the bigs and I'd have to expect his MLB numbers would be lower than the numbers he's putting up in AAA.

2007 Hatt? Not that impressive. When you factor in poor defense, Cooper is right about Hatt, mediocre player(if not worse). I can't believe you want to extend him.

Myth, your post is speaking from very poor analysis. Casey and Votto are 2 different hitters. Casey was a slashy hitter with modest power projection. Votto is a control hitter with very good raw power(as Krivsky alluded to himself last year in one of his better moments of clarity). Power and hr's are the most overused stat in minor league ball. It is why I care little about Jay Bruce's doubles. Hitting and ability to hit with good power potential is the key not minor league power. Casey only was able to put up 2 years of his peek power with his slashing style. When his power declined, he was left as a essentially a specialist. Votto as a power hitter and 1st base defensive potential offer a player much more likely to peek in his late 20's and early 30's. His power numbers will only rise into the future, not decline. Power is the last tool to develope.

The poor analysis of Votto never ceases.

mth123
07-17-2007, 04:33 AM
2007 Hatt? Not that impressive. When you factor in poor defense, Cooper is right about Hatt, mediocre player(if not worse). I can't believe you want to extend him.

Myth, your post is speaking from very poor analysis. Casey and Votto are 2 different hitters. Casey was a slashy hitter with modest power projection. Votto is a control hitter with very good raw power(as Krivsky alluded to himself last year in one of his better moments of clarity). Power and hr's are the most overused stat in minor league ball. It is why I care little about Jay Bruce's doubles. Hitting and ability to hit with good power potential is the key not minor league power. Casey only was able to put up 2 years of his peek power with his slashing style. When his power declined, he was left as a essentially a specialist. Votto as a power hitter and 1st base defensive potential offer a player much more likely to peek in his late 20's and early 30's. His power numbers will only rise into the future, not decline. Power is the last tool to develope.

The poor analysis of Votto never ceases.

I hope you are right about Joey's future and I have been pretty high on Votto until this year. I'm disappointed with a .480 slugging % from a AAA 1B whom everyone expects to be the long term answer. If his power is going to increase as time goes on, how do you explain a .547 slugging % in 2006 versus what we've seen this year? His power may develop in his late 20s or early 30s as you suggest, but by then he'll be expensive. What does your superior analysis suggest for his cheap years? If the power isn't there until 2011 or 2012 he's basically Casey or Hatte until then no matter how different they are from a style or technique standpoint. You don't get style points from the French judge in MLB. Its production that counts. If the production is going to be 5 years out (as your post implies), I'd rather deal him and get a pitcher and just go with Hatte. I'm not a huge Hatte fan either, but w/o power that is basically what Joey Votto will provide. You can wait 4 or 5 years for the power if you want, but by then the window of opportunity for the Reds will be closing and it will be rebuild time again. Trade Votto for a pitcher and exchange his non power years (based on the implications from your posts superior analysis) for any number of non power players who can provide a little OBP. The Reds have one in hand with a pretty reasonable option.

OTOH, if your post has mis-stated what your superior analysis predicts and you think that Votto will be an immediate upgrade from what Hatte provides, I can be convinced because that was what I was thinking prior to this season.

BTW, I wouldn't extend Hatte unless Votto could be traded for a high ceiling, near MLB ready impact type starter like Slowey or Garza. If they can't get that, I keep Votto. But if Votto could get that, what would your superior analytical instincts rather have - A top young starter and another year of Hatte for cheap or Votto and $1.85 Million in payflex?

bucksfan2
07-17-2007, 08:39 AM
I thought Hatty had about a 1.5M option for next year. He will be 38 (i think) so an extentin is highly unlikely. Conine is here on a 2 year deal I believe and I hated the deal but I like Conine the player now. He could be a true team leader. I think Votto has more raw, developable power than Casey had and he has also shown the ability to steal a base. I think his speed is the one huge advantage Votto the prospect has over Casey

Kc61
07-17-2007, 10:12 AM
The Reds must add a righty power hitter if they ever hope to be a well balanced offensive team. This is a must. Presumably he is a first baseman, outfielder, or third baseman. I have no trouble with EE staying, but he is not the middle-of-order guy I have in mind.

I think Bruce should be a Red for 10 years or more. I think Hamilton should stay a Red given his great overall ability. That means either --

Votto gets traded, or

Griffey and Dunn are eventually replaced by a righty bat.

I guess a great hitting catcher or shortstop would do the trick, but those are rare.

Personally, I would like to keep Votto because he seems to have plate discipline and can be a good all around hitter someday. Seems capable of the long ball and the base hit, which I like. But something has to give. The team will never be acceptable offensively if all its power is from the left side.

SMcGavin
07-17-2007, 02:05 PM
2007 Hatt? Not that impressive.

We are talking about the guy with a .401 OBP right? I like Joey Votto but there is no way that Votto's first season in the bigs is going to be as good as Scott Hatteberg has been this year.

dougdirt
07-17-2007, 02:53 PM
We are talking about the guy with a .401 OBP right? I like Joey Votto but there is no way that Votto's first season in the bigs is going to be as good as Scott Hatteberg has been this year.

That is very true. However this team honestly has nothing to play for this year and in that case, Votto should be getting a lot more at bats than Hatteberg in Cincinnati.

Screwball
07-17-2007, 02:59 PM
We are talking about the guy with a .401 OBP right? I like Joey Votto but there is no way that Votto's first season in the bigs is going to be as good as Scott Hatteberg has been this year.

Probably overall, but I have a feeling Votto could def. help out more on the road than Hatt does...

Hatt's road splits: .225/.336/.333/.669