2006 numbers so far in AA-Chattanooga (updated thru 7-28):
389 AB (1st in Southern League)*
19 HR (1st in Southern League)*
61 RBI (2nd in Southern League)*
35 2B (1st in Southern League)*
.321 AVG (1st in Southern League)*
.403 OBP (3rd in Southern League)*
.568 SLG (1st in Southern League)*
.971 OPS (1st in Southern League)*
87 K, 53 BB
*(minimum 2.7 plate appearances per team game)
Numbers prior to 2006, through 4 years of Rk, A-, and A+:
.......and 27 steals
Joey Votto is putting up very good numbers so far in AA. It's early, but this could be his year he breaks out. With Florida being in town, I think it's an appropriate time to compare Votto to their top prospect, Jeremy Hermida. They both were drafted high out of high school in 2002. Hermida in the 1st round, Votto in the 2nd. Hermida is 6-4, 200 and Votto is 6-2, 222. They are both powerful LH hitters and are within 4 months of each other in age.
Now, why couldn't Votto be on the same upward trend as Hermida was in 2005? He can, just a year behind. Let's blame it on being a Canadian. Blame Canada.
Let's take a look....
Prior to Hermida's breakout 2005 campaign, he put up the following numbers in 2003 and 2004 between low A and high A at 19 and 20 years of age:
Now, taking the angle that Votto is a year behind Hermida (for whatever reason). These are his numbers in 2004 and 2005 between low A and high A (same levels) at 20 and 21 years of age:
Hermida's breakout season (at age 21) in AA (Southern League - same league Votto is currently in) last year consisted of:
Now, coming into this season he is regarded as the top Florida prospect, in an organization deep in talent.
I know, it's early and we have a small sample size here, but if Votto keeps tearing it up, I think the comparison is fair. In fact, I see no reason why Votto couldn't rise to the ranks of a Hermida and get some quality AB's with the big club late in 2006 and be a big time major league prospect for 2007.
*OPS numbers are not exact, but within .005 (give or take 5 points).