Joey Votto and the Persistence of Stupid

Phil Plantier

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From Joe Posnanski (http://sportsworld.nbcsports.com/joey-votto-ted-williams-too-patient/) today:
 
Marty Brennaman, the legendary Reds announcer, said before this year that if Votto were content to lead the league in on-base percentage, the Reds would be in a lot of trouble. Longtime Cincinnati columnist Paul Daugherty has written numerous columns questioning Vottos value as a walk machine.
I came across a curious story written in Dayton, Ohio, back in 2003. Votto was just 20 then, and he was playing in Class A ball, and he wasnt playing very well at all. For the first month of the season, his batting average was less than .200. His big problem then seemed to be that he was trying to hit home runs. But there was also a sense that, yes, he was too patient. The Dayton hitting coach, Billy White, was asked by a reporter how he felt about young hitters working the count.

You want to work the count, but you dont want to work it just so you can get a walk, White said. And then, he added this: Ted Williams is dead and there are no Ted Williamses walking around here.
I can see a long-time broadcaster and a brain-dead columnist bemoaning OBP, but I can't believe a hitting instructor in a major league organization in *2003* would feel the same way.

How are these attitudes allowed to persist in player development? How long does it take for professionals to understand what makes a team or a hitter successful?
 

mauidano

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Great article.  You can't score runs if you're not on base.  
 
Joey Votto is an exceptional baseball hitter with a great approach.  You'd be hard pressed to find someone other than Ted Williams to model your hitting philosophy after.  
 
Dayton hitting coach; Billy White. How's your philosophy working out?
 

finnVT

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To the last point, I think we forget how much has changed in the last decade.  Attitudes re: walks & OBP in 2003 were *very* different.  For comparison, in 2003, Youkilis was putting up a .440 OBP in AA/AAA and was still generally a curiosity rather than exciting prospect.  I think quotes like that from people in baseball (and not just the likes of Joe Morgan) were probably still very common, and at much higher levels than A ball managers.
 

Gagliano

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Dayton hitting coach; Billy White. How's your philosophy working out?
Take a look at the Reds stats from the last ten years and you'll have your answer. They practically ran Adam Dunn out of town, and let Choo walk despite the fact that he and Votto were a perfect match. Yet, they let guys like Drew Stubbs flail around for years. They are enamored with gritty little dirt dog types.
 

Leather

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finnVT said:
To the last point, I think we forget how much has changed in the last decade.  Attitudes re: walks & OBP in 2003 were *very* different.  For comparison, in 2003, Youkilis was putting up a .440 OBP in AA/AAA and was still generally a curiosity rather than exciting prospect.  I think quotes like that from people in baseball (and not just the likes of Joe Morgan) were probably still very common, and at much higher levels than A ball managers.
 
Exactly.  Moneyball wasn't published until March, 2004, and for years certain baseball insiders (paging Ken Tremendous) actually dug in against the idea of OBP being something worth celebrating, even if OBP was just one example of the overall "Moneyball philosophy".  
 
2003 was probably the height of the old guard/SABR war, in fact.  
 

mt8thsw9th

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Minor nitpick, but Moneyball came out in June 2003. It's really taken the past decade to shake out a lot of the old guard types (or at least populate front offices with the "nerds" that they now have to call "boss").
 

Leather

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mt8thsw9th said:
Minor nitpick, but Moneyball came out in June 2003. It's really taken the past decade to shake out a lot of the old guard types (or at least populate front offices with the "nerds" that they now have to call "boss").
Damn. Amazon had it as 2004.

They should work harder over there.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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If that's how they feel about Votto in Cincinnati, I wonder if the Reds would take Hanley + Miley + Barnes for Votto + Chapman + Lamb. I would definitely do that deal this offseason.

I wonder if Dombrowski could convince Votto to drop his no-trade...
 

lexrageorge

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But, wait, he's only topped 100 RBI twice in his career.  He's obviously hurting the team.
 
/Cafardo
 
P.S.:  In case anyone's sarcasm meter is broken, I am well aware of Votto's career 1.043 OPS with runners in scoring position. Someone should tell Votto that playing in Boston would do wonders for his HoF candidacy down the line.
 

mauidano

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And right on cue, Joey has a BIG day for the Reds.
 
http://m.mlb.com/news/article/146904348
 
"Votto's home run was his 27th of the season, and his sixth-inning single extended his streak of reaching safely to 22 games while batting .403 (27-of-67) in that stretch. The Reds' first baseman leads the Majors in batting, on-base percentage and slugging since the All-Star break."
 

DJnVa

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Buzzkill Pauley said:
If that's how they feel about Votto in Cincinnati, I wonder if the Reds would take Hanley + Miley + Barnes for Votto + Chapman + Lamb. I would definitely do that deal this offseason.

I wonder if Dombrowski could convince Votto to drop his no-trade...
 
 
Yeah, I'd LOVE to watch Votto every day.
 
I read one article on him with all these crazy stats like:
 
--in 2010 he hit 0 infield pop-ups
--in his first 3000 or so plate appearances in the bigs, he had pulled one ball foul into the stands
 
I'm not sure exactly what that means, but that's awesome.
 
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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DrewDawg said:
 
 
Yeah, I'd LOVE to watch Votto every day.
 
I read one article on him with all these crazy stats like:
 
--in 2010 he hit 0 infield pop-ups
--in his first 3000 or so plate appearances in the bigs, he had pulled one ball foul into the stands
 
I'm not sure exactly what that means, but that's awesome.
 
I'd love watching him too. Not sure I'd love watching him make $25m in the back end of that contract when he's approaching 40, though.