Joey Votto does not care about RBI.
NEITHER SHOULD ANY OF US
Everybody keeps talking about all the walks he is accumulating. Those walks will end as soon as teams start to suspect that Votto cannot hit the ball with power or authority. Why shouldn't pitchers challenge him? Right now, the worst that could happen is that he might get a bloop single every now and then.
The thing that gets me is that this is a polar opposite Joey Votto than the one we saw during spring training. That guy in Goodyear was driving the ball for power, running and sliding all over the place, hitting HR's every other day, looking like he was having fun, and generally looking like an All-Star. He did all that on his bum knee. What happened to THAT guy? That definitely screams that Votto's problems are in his head - not in his knee.
But mental slumps like these can last a month, an entire season, and in some cases, entire careers. Most players, we'd write off as "in a slump." But Votto is the quarter of a billion dollar player, whom everyone who claims to be knowledgeable in baseball, has chosen to build the team around. Add to that the proverbial "window to win is now" thinking that has taken hold in this city, I think it fair for fans to wonder question Votto's role on the team.
"I got all of it ... I crushed that ball ... and it BARELY cleared the outfield wall. I settled into my home run trot ... then I realized I didn't even have a home run trot." - Bob Uecker
This isn't about getting pitched around...Votto isn't even the most feared hitter in baseball...how on earth do good hitters ever do anything, apparently you just pitch around guys 100% of the time and voila, you shut them down!
Thanks for posting that, Ervin, that was a great piece and gives me a little glimpse into the complex personality of Votto.
I think it's clear, to me at least and especially after reading that article, that Joey is simply over thinking the problem right now. He hasn't forgotten how to hit, but maybe his muscle memory, which is very important in all sports, is either not all the way back after his injury last summer, or is being overridden by his brain at this point.
I did find it interesting that Joey doesn't think runs matter anymore (he threw that in with RBI). Runs are the only goal of this game. And his approach actually leads to more runs, so maybe he just didn't express that properly.
Joey Votto is a scientist. I work with many of them, live with some of them, and most approach problems just like he does. We're just not used to seeing it in sports.
I have every confidence, like most everyone here, that this is temporary.
He's one for his last twelve. He's slugging in the three's...he isn't getting pitched around, he's hitting around pitches.
And like the others here, I wonder if his student of hitting combined with his mental state is a bad combo.
I'll admit my worry is that it is some sort of Steve Blass/Rick Ankiel type thing going on with him at the plate.
"Since I've been with the Reds in 1989, we've never had a farm system this loaded," Bowden said. "If we were the New York Yankees and had unlimited dollars, we could have traded for Colon, (Jeff) Weaver, Rolen, (Cliff) Floyd, (Kenny) Rogers and Finley and gotten them all -- and still held onto our top five prospects. That's an amazing statement."
What I'm hoping is that Votto's talent and work ethic gets him thorough this and all will be well.
What the 800 lb. gorilla in the room is Votto's depression and anxiety issues from a few years back. I realize it may be a very insensitive thing to say, but it makes me think he may be more prone to getting his swing totally out of whack. And on a long-term if not permanent basis.
And I want with all my heart and soul for that to be untrue and I'm speaking out my butt and everyone can point and laugh at me for being an idiot and unnecessarily worried an d jumping to conclusions. I'll gladly take all those slings and arrows for our usual superstar Joey Votto.
The motel of lost companions,
Waits with heated pool and bar
Joey Votto looks terrible at the plate right now and has for pretty much since his injury.
Maybe he's still hurt, maybe it's just a slump, but it warrants a discussion.
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