Originally Posted by traderumor
I think the most interesting discussion in all of this is the strategy to pitch around Votto (which I really do not see how this could be "exaggerated," there aren't too many obvious things, but this is one of them), and while this might be a supportable strategy on a bad offensive team, it certainly is not on a balanced offensive team that v. 2013 Reds seem to be. I would certainly pitch around Gioncarlo Stanton all year, for example, but I just don't think the strategy is going to work long with the Reds.
I think I've already backed that up with why I think it's exaggerated, but here it is anyway. People see the best player walking a ton and assume it's because he's getting pitched around without any consideration that maybe it's just as much a result of any number of factors that can lead to walks besides seeing fewer strikes. He saw 41% strikes each of the last 3 years. This year he's seeing 40% according to fangraphs. It's a very small difference. The huge difference from last year to this year is that he's seeing more pitches (more walks) by swinging at fewer strikes and putting the ball in play less. I'm not arguing that's better or worse, only that it is what's happening.
I watch every game too and I do understand the walking makes it seem like he's being pitched differently. The reality is, I think his approach has changed to being pitched the same way and is making his ABs look completely different.
ETA:I really shouldn't be saying last year vs this year, this started last year, so you see an even more dramatic trend 2011-->2012-->2013