Originally Posted by RedsIn07
So how would Joey Votto project?
For a kid that had back to back 90 BB seasons in the low minors and then watched his BB numbers dip into the 50's last year. With this year looking like as if he'll be in the midlle ground of those.
I would assume that its not unsual for a hitter to have less walks in the high minors against the low minors due to pitchers with more control and more refined pitches. But for prospects who's walk rates fluctuate like that how would you project them?
I'd have little issue projecting Votto with an 80-point IsoD at the MLB level and I'd suggest that his MLB peak IsoD is around 100 points as he acclimates himself to higher levels. I'd be flabbergasted if baseballprospectus.com's MLB equivalent numbers don't bear that out (I just checked. They do.)
Here are the seasonal IsoD numbers for Votto:
2002: .073 (Gulf Coast Reds- Rookie)
2003: .135 (Billings- Rookie), .117 (Dayton- A)
2004: .117 (Dayton- A), .087 (Potomac- A+)
2005: .074 (Sarasota- A+)
2006: .078 (Chattanooga- AA)
Career (2002-2005): .101 IsoD
MLB average IsoD tends to hover right around 65-70 points recently which tells us that Votto's valleys are still above average. I like that- particularly for a 22-year old who's advanced to AA. We also know that Votto's IsoD isn't particularly IBB or HBP-driven. And that's good too, even though acquiring HBP can be a viable part of the IsoD skill set for some.
Personally, I see Votto as a potential Lyle Overbay comp. That's interesting because Overbay's minor league numbers (.413 OBP/.531 SLG) seem out of whack with Votto's (.379 OBP/.452 SLG) until we realize that Overbay's OBP and SLG numbers were tremendously BA-driven (.342 BA). And it's simply unreasonable to project anything resembling that Batting Average at the MLB level.
Here are the IsoD and IsoP numbers:
Votto: .101 IsoD, .178 IsoP
Overbay: .071 IsoD, .189 IsoP
In the Show, Overbay has produced a .088 IsoD and a .165 IsoP. I think Votto still has room to grow and really don't forsee many circumstances under which he wouldn't eventually be able to produce those kind of IsoD/IsoP numbers and a reasonable Batting Average (which is what Overbay has now).
Those aren't premium run production numbers. But a .280 BA/.370 OBP/.450 SLG profile does have value- particularly when you're not paying a premium price for it. And Votto could still produce a higher SLG than that because he is demonstrating a .200+ IsoP right now in AA at age 22 and his IsoD tells us that's most likely not a mirage.
2005 didn't look all that good, but I'd like to mention the "take-a-strike" plan that was indisciminately implemented by O'Brien's regime. On paper, that might make sense, but I's suggest that high-IsoD players need "zone" instruction rather than "patience" instruction. It may seem intuitive to a guy like O'Brien (who never really seemed to understand the difference between a plan and a well-conceived plan), but telling a disciplined, selective hitter to watch pitches go by that he may like isn't the right way to go about things.
The above opinion is, of course, anecdotal in nature. It may be possible that his coaches asked that Votto be immune to that mandate. It may be possible that Votto just had a less than optimal season in a pitcher's league. Given his medium-HR pop, Doubles-driven power skillset that's always a reasonable take as well. That being said, if Votto appears to have failed in 2005, he "failed well" as he still produced an above-average IsoD along with an IsoP (.169) that falls in line with his previous career norms.
And one thing you'll note I use often when referencing performance is "succeeded poorly" versus "failed well". Within the realm of performance analysis, I honestly believe that both exist. In Votto's case, I've seen him "fail well" but I've yet to see him "succeed poorly". To me, that's a Big Deal in projecting how well he might do in the future.