So the question then becomes why is he converting a lower percentage of runners this season than in year's past?
I think we can rule out things like "forgot how to hit in the clutch" or "crumbling under the pressure."
Is it fair to say he's hitting with less power than previous to his knee injury? I think it is.
In the four full seasons prior to last season, he averaged 69 extra's base hits and 29 home runs. This season, he's on pace for 60 extra base hits and 24 homers.
On a percentage basis, 40% of his hits went for extra bases in the first four years and 17% were home runs. This season, he's at 31% extra base hits and 12.6% home runs.
So his power is clearly down. Whether that's an on-going concern or just random variation I'll leave to smarter minds to debate. And of course the season isn't over yet, there's still plenty of time for him to put together a huge week with 3-4 homers and a 3-4 doubles and he'd be back ahead of his average pace.
However his ability to get on base has improved quite a bit. He's on pace for career highs in hits and walks. Compared to 2010, he's on pace to get on base an extra 45 times (in an extra 75 plate appearances.)
So the better question is does this additional production of getting on base outweigh the production "lost" from the additional extra base hits.
I'd say yes, but it underscores the needs of a team to fit the pieces together correctly. It's not so much a question as to who the better hitter is between Votto & Phillips or Votto & Bruce. Rather, it's a question of needing guys behind Votto who can drive in runners from first with their additional power and runners from third with a sac fly in order to maximize the value he's providing.