Future bright for Votto, Hamilton
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By Hal McCoy
Sunday, September 30, 2007
CINCINNATI — There were major-league scouts who questioned whether Joey Votto would hit major-league pitching. They have straightened those question marks into exclamation points after watching Votto in September.
Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Mackanin is a believer.
"He has handled his call-up (Sept. 1) very well," said Mackanin. "As he said when he first got here, 'I'm just going to keep my mouth shut and ears open and play.' And that's exactly what he has done.
"He has done his work, he has been professional and has made an impression, at least on me," said Mackanin.
Votto, who hit .302 with 14 homers and 72 RBIs in 111 games for the 2004 Class A Dayton Dragons, has shown this month he is ready to become the regular first baseman in 2008, hitting .329 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 23 games.
"I think he has a big future," Mackanin added. "He is confident in his ability and it shows, and that is an important ingredient to succeed at this level. You have to believe you can succeed and feel you belong here, and he seems to believe he belongs."
Another Big Mac
As for Josh Hamilton, Mackanin made a startling comparison: Mark McGwire.
Well, at least to Mark McGwire's legendary batting practice sessions, when fans arrived early to watch and opposing players stopped whatever they were doing to gape.
"He's special," said Mackanin. "Watching him take batting practice reminds me of watching McGwire. At least two or three times a day, he puts balls up in the top of that boat in center field. And he goes upper deck to left field. He has a lot of untapped potential left.
"The key to him is staying healthy, and if we can keep him on the field, he is going to put up extremely good numbers," Mackanin added. "And he is a solid defender, he can run, he is a five-tool player."
Hamilton hit .292 with 19 homers, but batted only 298 times and appeared in only 90 games, residing on the disabled list twice early this season and missing most of September with a hamstring injury.