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Friday, February 28, 2014

McCoy: Joey Votto learns from criticism but isn’t changing approach

Votto as in Otto the Autopilot.

Votto is paid a bank vault full of money—a 10-year, $225 million deal—and with that comes high expectations and when those expectations aren’t reached the howling and the sniping begin.

So Votto understands that some fans believe he should change his approach to hitting so that he doesn’t walk so much and so that he will drive in more runs.

What Votto doesn’t understand is that there are some people who should know better, who he thought knew the game, who believe he should change his approach.

...“It was unfortunate about the comments people made and it is more unfortunate when people who you think understand the game—people you wish would support you more—go in the opposite direction. The thing I was more concerned about was having the pressure of multiple different sources telling me to change my approach and putting consistent pressure on me.”

Asked to whom he was referring, Votto said, “That one I’ll probably keep to myself. It is never good to target anyone. But that’s part of baseball, part of the job, part of the contract I signed. The criticism is part of how the game works. I accept it and learned a lot from it.

...It was pointed out that hitters sometimes have no control over how a pitcher approaches a talented hitter like Votto, especially with runners on base. They pitch around him with pitches out of the strike zone. Is Votto supposed to get himself out by swinging at bad pitches?

“Some would like me to do that,” he said. “Yeah, some would.”

Repoz Posted: February 28, 2014 at 02:43 PM | 68 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: reds, sabermetrics

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   1. Moeball Posted: February 28, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4664226)
What Votto doesn’t understand is that there are some people who should know better, who he thought knew the game, who believe he should change his approach.


Oh, Mr. Votto knows this perfectly well.

Which is why maybe announcers shouldn't be allowed to vote on the HOF as some people keep proposing.
   2. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4664233)
Asked to whom he was referring, Votto said, “That one I’ll probably keep to myself.


Oh, Joey, there's no reason to say, because we all know who you are talking about...
   3. BDC Posted: February 28, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4664264)
Is Votto a fairly close approximation to Todd Helton (through age 29), or a little better or worse – given that his face-value numbers are not as inflated by his park? Did Helton ever get similar criticism, or was his run environment such that nobody worried about such stuff? I think of them as both very invested in the base on balls.
   4. Jim Wisinski Posted: February 28, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4664269)
These same people likely think that Brandon Phillips' 102 RBIs sprang from the power of his swag. Phillips had 1/5 the PAs batting in front of Votto as he did behind him but 1/16 the RBIs (just 6 in 109 PAs).
   5. Ziggy Posted: February 28, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4664271)
Helton's home park helps him a lot more than Votto's does.

Here are Helton's road numbers: 287/386/469
Here are Votto's road numbers: 327/430/551
   6. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: February 28, 2014 at 05:44 PM (#4664286)
Helton's home park helpsed him a lot more than Votto's does.
   7. Perry Posted: February 28, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4664321)
Did Helton ever get similar criticism, or was his run environment such that nobody worried about such stuff?


If memory serves, and I've been living near Denver since 1998, Helton got very little criticism in local media for anything, ever. He was basically Mr. Rockie his whole career and when his production dropped way off the last few years, it was attributed solely to his bad back robbing his power and everyone said, "what a shame, but he still hits for average and gets on base and fields well, and is a total pro, so we love him."

That was my impression, anyway.
   8. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: February 28, 2014 at 07:33 PM (#4664326)
Did Helton ever get similar criticism, or was his run environment such that nobody worried about such stuff?


He never did. I think a few things play into this:

(1) Though I think everyone was aware that he was helped by his park, most people weren't thinking about the shape of his performance in the way they do with JV. Specifically, Helton had huge batting averages (though only one batting title) and big RBI totals (though, interestingly, those started going way down after his age 29 season), which inured him from this kind of criticism.

(2) The Rockies weren't really competing in this period, so I don't think there was this sense that Helton could have been pushing his team into the playoffs if he just hit a couple more dingers and walked fifteen fewer times.

(3) No, seriously, it's the RBIs.

(4) Denver's history of baseball was minor-league, and they just didn't have a Brennaman to be a ####### dickwad about stuff.

(5) Moneyball wasn't published until 2003, which was Helton's age-29 season. It may be hard to remember, but until that book came out a lot of this sabermetrics stuff was going on a little bit under the table. There was no mainstream backlash, because the only people who knew about us were the people who had sought us out.

(6) Also, it's the batting average. I don't think anybody's going to ##### about someone who's hitting .350, even if it's in Colorado.
   9. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:23 PM (#4664342)
Moneyball wasn't published until 2003, which was Helton's age-29 season. It may be hard to remember, but until that book came out a lot of this sabermetrics stuff was going on a little bit under the table. There was no mainstream backlash, because the only people who knew about us were the people who had sought us out.

I would actually say this is the biggest factor. Todd Helton never went on the air to wax intellectual about wRC+ like Joey Votto has. Votto is a bit of a trailblazer; he's the first star player to openly embrace the advanced stats and apply it to his game. Zack Greinke has touched on it before, and so have guys like Brandon McCarthy, but they are odd ducks in the eyes of the old guard and are expected to be "weird" anyway. In some ways, we are still trying to teach some of the world that the earth is not actually flat, andVotto will continue to catch backlash about his affection for sabermetrics until the old guard dies out.

I for one am thrilled about having him in the game. It's about time a baseball star is a thinking man many of us here can relate to.
   10. SoCalDemon Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:36 PM (#4664348)
To steal from another thread, there seems to be some similarities to how ppl are responding to author Chu. Lotto seems to be doing everything to get every ounce of value out of his talent, and is willing to sacrifice aesthetics to do that. Ppl like guys who make contact or grip it and rip it, and votto often does neither. I think ppl still think he should be hitting 40 homers, and that isn't going to happen.
   11. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:43 PM (#4664351)
(6) Also, it's the batting average. I don't think anybody's going to ##### about someone who's hitting .350, even if it's in Colorado.


But it's not like Votto is hitting .265 or something. I think you should have stuck with

(3) No, seriously, it's the RBIs.


If the Reds had somebody getting on base for Votto the way Votto gets on base for Phillips and Bruce, then even Brennaman would have to STFU because Votto would be knocking in 125 runs even with 125 walks.
   12. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 28, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4664354)
Lotto seems to be doing everything to get every ounce of value out of his talent, and is willing to sacrifice aesthetics to do that. Ppl like guys who make contact or grip it and rip it, and votto often does neither.


Here's Joey Votto never taking his bat off his shoulder for six straight pitches, but it's still a thing of beauty.

   13. flournoy Posted: February 28, 2014 at 09:47 PM (#4664370)
If the Reds had somebody getting on base for Votto the way Votto gets on base for Phillips and Bruce, then even Brennaman would have to STFU because Votto would be knocking in 125 runs even with 125 walks.


I take your meaning, but Votto hit behind Shin-Soo Choo (.423 OBA) all season.
   14. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: February 28, 2014 at 10:10 PM (#4664372)
Unless he wins a few more MVPs and/or a couple of rings, Votto's not getting into the Hall unless he gets 3,000 hits. (And he's not getting 3,000 hits.)
   15. Eddo Posted: February 28, 2014 at 10:27 PM (#4664376)
Here's Joey Votto never taking his bat off his shoulder for six straight pitches, but it's still a thing of beauty.

That's great, SoSH, thanks for sharing.
   16. Jim Wisinski Posted: February 28, 2014 at 10:41 PM (#4664379)
I never get tired of that Votto/Lowe video. The one positive thing about Randall Simon's otherwise very forgettable time with the Rays was the way he almost never stepped out of the box between pitches, just stood there and waited patiently for the next one.
   17. Greg K Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:01 PM (#4664382)
Joey Votto has. Votto is a bit of a trailblazer; he's the first star player to openly embrace the advanced stats and apply it to his game.

Are you saying Brian Bannister wasn't a star?
   18. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 28, 2014 at 11:02 PM (#4664383)
Votto is a bit of a trailblazer; he's the first star player to openly embrace the advanced stats and apply it to his game. Zack Greinke has touched on it before,

and look what happened to his calf. Karma's a bitch
   19. Brian Posted: March 01, 2014 at 12:13 AM (#4664396)
That clip is awesome. It just looks so strange to see a batter staying in the box, ready to go. Strange but great.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: March 01, 2014 at 12:36 AM (#4664401)
Votto's HoF chances were never that great anyway. He didn't have a full-time season until age 24 which makes it tough.

Over the last 4 seasons he's "only" a 6-WAR player -- damn good but hardly rare for corner players. Taking expansion players with WAR of 22-26 over ages 26-29 -- Thomas, Murray, Kaline, Clemente, Reggie, B Williams in the HoF, Manny presumably would have been. Two current players in Tex (not making it) and Braun (put him in the potential Manny category). The other 8 not HoFers or particularly close. Votto = Abreu is not far off.

Votto has 34 WAR to date. In this group from age 30+, only 4 put up the 30+ WAR that Votto likely needs -- Clemente, Manny, Williams and Kaline. Thomas likely would have made it if not missing his age 33 season.

Mauer 23-29: 328/411/473, 139 OPS+, 183 Rbat, 35 WAR, 3900 PA
Votto 23-29: 314/419/541, 155 OPS+, 254 Rbat, 34 WAR, 3800 PA

Which raises the question about Votto -- you used to be able to count on a 220ish ISO from him but for the last year plus, since his injury, it's more like 180.

Compare Votto 2011 to Votto 2013 -- he's traded 33 total bases for 25 walks. That's at best a wash (Rbat puts it 50 to 44). If he is being less aggressive in exchange for more walks, it is not clearly an advantage.

Now I'm not sure he's really changed his approach at all -- he smacks what he likes, let's the rest go. Or if he has, it may have been to compensate for the injury. The change certainly hasn't hurt him. But the old Votto who hit more HR and doubles and carried an OBP around 415 was as valuable as the one who's added 20 points to his OBP and taken 40 points off his SLG. There's no reason for us to make loving his walks some sort of saber litmus test.

   21. toratoratora Posted: March 01, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4664437)
Votto's pretty much halfway to being a HoF:

Black Ink 12 (27 avg HoF)
Grey Ink 77 (144)
HoF Monitor 64 (100)
HoF Standards 31 (50)

He's got 33.9 WAR and has averaged 6 WAR per yr over the last five seasons. If he can stack together four more 6 WAR years, he'll have a good shot. Currently, he's 45th in JAWS but that's held down by his low career WAR. 3 more six WAR years brings him up to a seven year total running around 43 WAR, surrounding him with names like McGwire, Giambi, McCovey, Helton. Not an all time elite run, but firmly centered around 8-12 on the all time 1b list.
A decent decline phase probably gets him in after that.

I think he's got a chance and it might be closer than people think. He has an MVP. He's a good fielder, +24 rField but killed by positional adjustments. He's pretty widely seen as the best overall "hitter" in the NL. Plus there are the never pops up stories and he has his own mythos building.
Tossing in a few more OBP and walk titles adds tremendously to his narrative too. Lead the NL in OBP and walks five, six years running and that will catch a lot of attention.It transforms him from the "non RBI" guy to a modified modernized Wade Boggs-less Avg, more power, different corner. And, like it or not, controversy keeps him in the public eye which won't hurt his case come voting time.

Now this is all presumptive on Votto not pulling an Utley. If he does that all this conjecture is out the window.Starting late is going to keep him from being much of an accumulator but a nice nine year run will give him a decent little case. Positing a 10% decline per year from his 6.4 at age 29 gives him 35.28 WAR between 30 and 38, which would land him at 69 WAR lifetime. Now, he'll get hurt at least a season or two in there, but it's very possible for him to end up around 60 WAR lifetime at which point the narrative could loom large.
   22. Booey Posted: March 01, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4664474)
Unless he wins a few more MVPs and/or a couple of rings, Votto's not getting into the Hall unless he gets 3,000 hits. (And he's not getting 3,000 hits.)


Edgar Martinez is a pretty good Votto comp, no? Edgar doesn't get the HOF love he deserves, but Joey V has an MVP and doesn't have the DH stigma, so maybe he'll be given a little more consideration. I suspect his career power numbers will end up being a little too light for what voters typically want from a HOF first baseman, but Votto did finish 6th last year in MVP voting despite only 73 rbi's, so maybe people are finally starting to see the value of OBP. That would bode well for Joey's chances when he hits the ballot (and Edgar's, when some future incarnation of the VC gets their shot at him).
   23. BDC Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4664509)
Thanks for the insights on Helton, everybody.

Edgar is another player who had decent power, high average, but was really distinguished from the pack by his exceptional ability to take a walk and get on base. He was seen as a pro's pro of a hitter – I never heard a bad word said about his approach (though I was only in a rival city, not in Seattle).

In Edgar's case, he was rarely the biggest star on his team, if ever, really, and he wasn't expected to drive in every run the Mariners ever scored. That helped.
   24. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4664525)
Again, it's probably the RBI and the batting average. I know Votto hits for average, but Edgar hits for more. But really, it's that Edgar had 100 RBI every year but one between 1995 and 2001.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4664528)
Edgar Martinez is a pretty good Votto comp, no? Edgar doesn't get the HOF love he deserves,


Edgar gets exactly the HOF love he deserves, he's considered an HOF candidate, gets a fair number of votes and has tons of articles written on his HOF case. Just because he hasn't crossed the threshold(which I'm in the group that currently has him on the outside) doesn't mean he isn't getting the deserved love. He's a clear borderline guy and is constant a source of conversation. We aren't talking about guys like Whitaker, Grich, Brown or Simmons who clearly didn't get the HOF consideration they deserved.
   26. tshipman Posted: March 01, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4664529)
Edgar Martinez is a pretty good Votto comp, no? Edgar doesn't get the HOF love he deserves, but Joey V has an MVP and doesn't have the DH stigma, so maybe he'll be given a little more consideration. I suspect his career power numbers will end up being a little too light for what voters typically want from a HOF first baseman, but Votto did finish 6th last year in MVP voting despite only 73 rbi's, so maybe people are finally starting to see the value of OBP. That would bode well for Joey's chances when he hits the ballot (and Edgar's, when some future incarnation of the VC gets their shot at him).


Votto is pretty handily better than Edgar. Votto actually plays a position, and he is a slightly better hitter.
   27. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 01, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4664544)
I take your meaning, but Votto hit behind Shin-Soo Choo (.423 OBA) all season.


He also hit behind #2 hitters who put up a collective .281 OBP. Realizing that lineup construction isn't really that big a deal, I'm guessing that Reds fans aren't going to be missing Dusty too much.
   28. Baldrick Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4664592)
Votto is pretty handily better than Edgar. Votto actually plays a position, and he is a slightly better hitter

I don't see any reason to think Votto's a slightly better hitter. Any random year from 1996-2001 for him would be a good Votto season. And his 95 is better than Votto has ever been (offensively).

Edgar is a pretty good comp, though. If Votto can hit exactly as well over his next five years as he did over his last five, then he would probably gain a small prime edge over Edgar. Combine that with solid fielding numbers, and he would have the beginnings of a solid HOF case. But that's asking quite a lot.
   29. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 01, 2014 at 04:56 PM (#4664600)
Votto is pretty handily better than Edgar. Votto actually plays a position, and he is a slightly better hitter.


Assuming that Votto maintains his health and ability to play defense. Martinez didn't become a full-time DH until he was 32 and was a 3B before that.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: March 01, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4664621)
Edgar of course has one of the greatest 30+ careers ever. He had 50 WAR and over 6000 PA from 30-40, 18th all-time and 8th of the expansion era. Appropriately, he's followed by other OBP masters Rickey and Boggs. But Edgar has one of the rarest careers so we can't expect that out of anybody.

Boggs is another comp but he had 31 WAR from 26-29, blowing Votto out of the water. And he added two more 8 WAR years at 30-31. From age 30 on, Boggs averaged about 20 Rbat per 650 PA and played 10 full seasons. If Votto played 10 full seasons at 20 Rbat, that would total about 32 WAR (positional adjustment) which is probably about what he needs to have a real shot (barring a 2nd MVP, 3000 hits, etc.) If he remains a good defender and 1B defense is recognized by voters (only 1 GG), than he might push 70 WAR. But that's with 6500 PA from ages 30-40, a tough ask. Of course that contract means he'll play whenever healthy so it's not out of the question.

Votto has substantially more power than Boggs and probably always will so they aren't perfect comps. But 26-29, Boggs accumulated far more Rbat than Votto so it's not clear we can expect Votto to accumulate more than Boggs in his 30s
   31. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 01, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4664627)
But 26-29, Boggs accumulated far more Rbat than Votto so it's not clear we can expect Votto to accumulate more than Boggs in his 30s


He did? Unless I'm looking in the wrong place, Votto out Rbatted him 192-187 in the age 26-29 cohort.

   32. cardsfanboy Posted: March 01, 2014 at 06:52 PM (#4664653)
He did? Unless I'm looking in the wrong place, Votto out Rbatted him 192-187 in the age 26-29 cohort.


I'm thinking he meant 27-29(163 for Boggs vs 134 for Votto)...Boggs didn't have too good of an age 26. But they are pretty similar going all the way back to 24-29 you have an rbat of 232 for Votto and 233 for Boggs
   33. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 02, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4664832)
Martinez didn't become a full-time DH until he was 32 and was a 3B before that.


This is pretty misleading due to Edgar's late start. He only played 650 games before he was 32, and 80 of those were at DH. So it seems more than fair to consider that Martinez was in essence a career DH. Almost 75% of his PA were as a non-fielder.
   34. Booey Posted: March 02, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4664837)
Edgar hit .312/.418/.515, good for a 147 OPS+.
Votto is at .314/.419/.541, currently a 155 OPS+. Those numbers are likely to drop by the time he retires, of course, but he could also raise them for a few more years before they start to decline.

Gar won two batting titles and led his league in OBP 3 times. Votto hasn't won a batting title yet (though his 2012 season would have if he'd had enough PA's to qualify), but he's got a SLG title and an MVP, and he's already led his league in OBP 4 straight. Martinez did get more rbi's year by year, but also played in an era when those were easier to come by. Both players had a career high of 37 homers but settled in the 24-29 range for the rest of their career.

I don't know; they look really similar to me. The DH factor could be a big difference in Votto's favor, plus he's not overshadowed by as many big hitting contemporaries (including teammates) from his era as Edgar was in his.
   35. Baldrick Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4664873)
Edgar hit .312/.418/.515, good for a 147 OPS+.
Votto is at .314/.419/.541, currently a 155 OPS+. Those numbers are likely to drop by the time he retires, of course, but he could also raise them for a few more years before they start to decline.

You can take any chunk of Votto's career, and Edgar will have an equal length of consecutive PAs in which he hit better.

Of course, Votto plays defense, and does so reasonably well. So he doesn't have to outhit Edgar to be better. But purely in terms of offense, he will either need to continue at the same level for a LONG time to be better over his career, or churn out a couple more years as good as 2010 to pass him in peak.

Basically, Votto's 24-29 looks a whole lot like Edgar's 34-39. Which is really good! But that by itself isn't really a HOF peak, since it actually misses Edgar's three best years.
   36. BDC Posted: March 02, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4664883)
Comps for Votto through age 29:

Player           dWAR   PA OPSWAR/pos   Age  SB       Pos
Wade Boggs        6.7 3910  149    43.2 24
-29  10   *5/3HD7
Home Run Baker    4.8 3840  153    42.0 22
-28 172        *5
Mike Piazza       3.6 3482  160    37.3 23
-29  11    *2/HD3
Honus Wagner      3.3 3897  150    39.0 23
-29 259 9653/8471
Charlie Keller   
-0.2 3839  157    38.7 22-29  42     *79/H
Joey Votto       
-3.0 3790  155    33.9 23-29  47     *3/H7
Ryan Braun       
-4.0 4107  147    35.4 23-29 130    *75/HD
Bill Nicholson   
-4.1 3459  149    27.4 21-29  18     *9/7H
Albert Belle     
-7.3 3925  150    27.3 22-29  61    *7D/9H
Willie McCovey   
-7.4 3989  149    32.4 21-29  15    *37H/


Mostly outstanding players, either HOFers or waylaid by serious injuries in their 30s (Keller, Belle). Like most other guys who win an MVP in their 20s, Votto is a long way from Cooperstown at the age of 30, but he has a chance that not many players ever establish.
   37. Ron J2 Posted: March 04, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4666252)
#21 For somebody to be about halfway to a HOF case he should be on the radar for a peak case. As good as Votto has been, I can find at least 15 first-basemen who have a better peak. His peak is pretty similar to Dolph Camili. And to be clear, that's not an insult. Camili was a heck of a player for a while. But the low end of peak HOF case would be George Sisler and in his best 5 year stretch he put up a 166 OPS+ with the rep as an excellent defensive player (and he grades out pretty well by dWAR. Within noise of Bill Terry and Keith Hernandez by dWAR in their 5 best offensive seasons)

But I agree with BDC's summary. He can make a case by continuing to play at something approaching his established level. And there's no reason to expect age related decline for years.
   38. TDF, situational idiot Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4666278)
You can take any chunk of Votto's career, and Edgar will have an equal length of consecutive PAs in which he hit better.
In the first 3790 PA of his career, Votto has 254 Rbat; in the first 3911 PA of his career, Martinez had 239 Rbat (and was 4 years older than Votto's current age).

   39. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4666293)
But the low end of peak HOF case would be George Sisler and in his best 5 year stretch he put up a 166 OPS+


Joey's had a 162 OPS+ over the last 5 years

edit: Camilli's best 5 year span appears to have been 37-41, with a 152 OPS+ over that span. He had a couple more pretty decent seasons and that was basically it. Didn't become a regular until 27, didn't have a full season OPS+ over 100 until 29, basically done at 36.
   40. BDC Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4666315)
Camilli got a later start, but is another similar player in the Helton/Votto category: decent power and average, and a ton of walks. And like Votto, an MVP season in his best power year.
   41. Ron J2 Posted: March 04, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4666336)
#39 Sure. But that's still not Sisler (though comfortably within method error of course) and Sisler had a couple of other positives. Speed, defensive rep and very high batting averages (yeah, hitter's park, great time for an average hitter, plus BA is mostly style points)

Point being that being roughly as good a hitter as Sisler at their respective best isn't really a HOF case. He's seen by most here as somewhere between marginal at best and an outright mistake.
   42. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: March 04, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4666389)
You can take any chunk of Votto's career, and Edgar will have an equal length of consecutive PAs in which he hit better.

In the first 3790 PA of his career, Votto has 254 Rbat; in the first 3911 PA of his career, Martinez had 239 Rbat (and was 4 years older than Votto's current age).

Thus demonstrating someone can't read.
   43. TDF, situational idiot Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:41 PM (#4666422)
Thus demonstrating someone can't read.
OK, I give.

That's a "chunk of Votto's career" in which Edgar certainly did not "have an equal length of consecutive PAs in which he hit better".

What did I misread?
   44. alilisd Posted: March 04, 2014 at 06:54 PM (#4666431)
What did I misread?


I think the oringinal poster did not mean the time periods would be equal (you've used "the first" X number of PA's of their careers), but the length of time would be equal in terms of PA's. So Edgar would have a period of roughly 3,800 PA's where he was better than the 254 Rbat you've used. Martinez from ages 32-36, for example, had 3,231 PA's and 283 Rbat, clearly better than Votto. Votto still can't match that even if you use his 25-29 seasons: 3,112 PA's and 232 Rbat.
   45. cardsfanboy Posted: March 04, 2014 at 07:45 PM (#4666470)
Basically... Votto has yet to have a peak as good as Edgars peak, and Edgar is on the outside looking in. Votto needs to sometime in the future have a 5 year span as good as Edgars peak to be a better candidate than Edgar. Barring of course the Palmiero/Eddie Murray consistency career path. (and yes I know Palmiero isn't in, but he would be without the roid issues)
   46. Baldrick Posted: March 04, 2014 at 09:25 PM (#4666514)
In the first 3790 PA of his career, Votto has 254 Rbat; in the first 3911 PA of his career, Martinez had 239 Rbat (and was 4 years older than Votto's current age).

What 44 and 45 said. Votto has no stretch of plate appearances/seasons/whatever that makes for a better consecutive peak than Edgar's. That means Votto either has to IMPROVE as a hitter or remain this good for a very long time (at least five more years without any real decline) to put together a peak/prime as good as Edgar. Both are possible, but neither is especially likely.

Put another way: Edgar famously has one of the best hitting careers from age 30 onward. That Votto is only marginally better than Edgar over their first 4000 PAs is a pretty bad sign for his HOF chances. He may be four years younger than Edgar was, but very few players hit as well EVER as Edgar did from 34-40. I would be (pleasantly) surprised if Votto is able to match that production.
   47. TDF, situational idiot Posted: March 04, 2014 at 10:54 PM (#4666546)
OK, this "discussion" is really just a bunch of symantic crap, designed to completely ignore a very important part of any comparison between Votto and Martinez: Age.

Put another way: Edgar famously has one of the best hitting careers from age 30 onward. That Votto is only marginally better than Edgar over their first 4000 PAs is a pretty bad sign for his HOF chances. He may be four years younger than Edgar was, but very few players hit as well EVER as Edgar did from 34-40. I would be (pleasantly) surprised if Votto is able to match that production.
See, this. Votto doesn't have to be as good as Edgar from ages 34-40 to have a better career, because he won't be 34 for 4 more years.Of course you're ignoring that a large part of that "best hitting career from age 30 onward" (including Edgar's two best seasons by Rbat) is included in those first 4000 PA.
Votto has no stretch of plate appearances/seasons/whatever that makes for a better consecutive peak than Edgar's.
At Votto's current age, Edgar didn't have anything like his best peak either. Why would it be so unlikely for Votto to do it when Edgar, an inferior hitter to Votto through his 20s, was able to to it in his 30s?

Votto doesn't need the late peak that Martinez had because if he plays as much the next 4 seasons as he did the previous 4 (and remember, he only played 111 games in '12), he'll be entering his age-34 season with 2500 more PA than Martinez had at the same age, along with about 200 run lead in Rbat. That would put him within 100 Rbat of Martinez's complete career in 2000 fewer PA. While he may not have the peak of Martinez by then***, it will be much easier to make a career/prime case.

***Of course, there's no way to know this, especially as players seem to play better longer now. Entering his age-30 season, no one would have expected Edgar to put up the string of seasons he did either. Votto could easily put up a season or 2 as good as his MVP season.

I have no idea how Votto's career is going to end up, but neither do you.
   48. Lars6788 Posted: March 04, 2014 at 11:26 PM (#4666555)
I think Votto is going to age like Todd Helton - high on-base, high average, but moderate power compared to his prime years.

Maybe a perennial disappointment, but someone is going to finish his contract still mostly a fan favorite.
   49. Baldrick Posted: March 05, 2014 at 02:33 AM (#4666581)
At Votto's current age, Edgar didn't have anything like his best peak either. Why would it be so unlikely for Votto to do it when Edgar, an inferior hitter to Votto through his 20s, was able to to it in his 30s?

Because almost no one in baseball history aged as well as Edgar.

When I said "I would be (pleasantly) surprised if Votto is able to match that production" I mean over the rest of his career. That includes the next four years and however many come after. It is extraordinarily rare for people to hit like Edgar in their late 30s. The chances are very low that Votto will be able to do so. In fact, the chances are low that he will even be able to catch up in raw Rbat even with a four year head start.

Someone with BB-Ref magic is free to run the numbers, but I bet there are a LOT of guys who hit pretty darn well in their 20s (like Votto) who failed to accumulate as much offensive value over the whole rest of their careers as good as Edgar managed from 34-onward.

Jeff Bagwell had a 159 OPS+ in 4410 PA through age 29. From age 30 onward he can't catch Edgar's 290 Rbat from age 34-onward. From age 23-29 (excluding his many cups of coffee, and aligning with the years Votto has been in the majors), Harmon Killebrew had a 147 OPS+. He actually hit BETTER in his early 30s than he had up until that point. And his post-30 career still loses to Edgar's post-34 career by almost 40 Rbat. Lance Berkman (146 through age 29) only had about HALF as many Rbat for the rest of his career as Edgar from 34-on. The same is true for Todd Helton (146 through age 29). Mickey Mantle blows Votto out of the water through age 29 (175), but loses over the rest of his career to Edgar's 34-onward. Frank Thomas had a 182 OPS+ through age 29, and only 231 Rbat after. Mel Ott (157) only managed 241 Rbat from 30 on. Eddie Matthews (154) only made 96. Griffey (149) had 82. Pujols was one of the best hitters in history through age 29. From 30-33 (the four years Votto has to make up ground), he managed 127 Rbat (with a trend of 54, 35, 28, 10). Want to bet that he'll manage 160 more? It's certainly possible but I wouldn't count on it.

Potential positive analogs are Sheffield, Manny, and Frank Robinson who each got to around 330-340 Rbat from age 30-onward. And then there's Hank Aaron who blew past 400 from 30-onward. But it's pretty darn rare for people to hit like superstars in their 30s. I hope Votto can manage it because I like the guy. But if I were going to bet on it, I'd say the chances are unlikely.

And, of course, he doesn't HAVE to hit as well as Edgar to be a HOFer. If he can continue to play good defense, he'll be worth the vote even if his offensive numbers don't catch up. But purely in terms of offensive value, Votto has to get BETTER than he currently is or hold onto his value far longer than is usual to catch up to Edgar.
   50. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:01 AM (#4666604)
From age 23-29 (excluding his many cups of coffee, and aligning with the years Votto has been in the majors), Harmon Killebrew had a 147 OPS+. He actually hit BETTER in his early 30s than he had up until that point. And his post-30 career still loses to Edgar's post-34 career by almost 40 Rbat.


But this makes TDF's point. Killebrew had a better career than Martinez despite not matching his age 34-40 performance.* Votto doesn't have to match Edgar's 34-40 to end up with a better career either. Sure, Votto might decline precipitously over the next few years. But a good start is a good start.

*Killebrew also had a better career than Votto is likely to despite not matching his age 23-29 performance, so there's that.
   51. TDF, situational idiot Posted: March 05, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4666627)
From age 23-29 (excluding his many cups of coffee, and aligning with the years Votto has been in the majors), Harmon Killebrew had a 147 OPS+. He actually hit BETTER in his early 30s than he had up until that point. And his post-30 career still loses to Edgar's post-34 career by almost 40 Rbat.

But this makes TDF's point. Killebrew had a better career than Martinez despite not matching his age 34-40 performance.* Votto doesn't have to match Edgar's 34-40 to end up with a better career either.
Exactly.

You keep pointing out how few hitters, even great ones, have hit like Martinez after turning 34, but Votto will only be 30. He's about 275 Rbat behind Martinez; 25 guys have more than that after turning 30 so while difficult, it isn't exactly unheard of. More importantly, Votto has about 4900 fewer career PA than Martinez; 138 hitters have more PA after turning 30. Even with what we consider "normal" aging, I'd say his odds of getting those batting runs in that many PA are pretty good.

EDIT: And I think it's fair to say his odds are good. Only 55 hitters have had as many batting runs as Votto through age-29, so it's obvious he's a pretty special hitter.
   52. Baldrick Posted: March 05, 2014 at 12:04 PM (#4666696)
But this makes TDF's point. Killebrew had a better career than Martinez despite not matching his age 34-40 performance.* Votto doesn't have to match Edgar's 34-40 to end up with a better career either. Sure, Votto might decline precipitously over the next few years. But a good start is a good start.

Oh good lord. That has nothing to do with what we're talking about! Here's the post I responded to:
Votto is pretty handily better than Edgar. Votto actually plays a position, and he is a slightly better hitter

I said:
I don't see any reason to think Votto's a slightly better hitter. Any random year from 1996-2001 for him would be a good Votto season. And his 95 is better than Votto has ever been (offensively).

Edgar is a pretty good comp, though. If Votto can hit exactly as well over his next five years as he did over his last five, then he would probably gain a small prime edge over Edgar. Combine that with solid fielding numbers, and he would have the beginnings of a solid HOF case. But that's asking quite a lot.

In my next post I said:
Of course, Votto plays defense, and does so reasonably well. So he doesn't have to outhit Edgar to be better. But purely in terms of offense, he will either need to continue at the same level for a LONG time to be better over his career, or churn out a couple more years as good as 2010 to pass him in peak.

And in the very post you responded to I said:
And, of course, he doesn't HAVE to hit as well as Edgar to be a HOFer. If he can continue to play good defense, he'll be worth the vote even if his offensive numbers don't catch up. But purely in terms of offensive value, Votto has to get BETTER than he currently is or hold onto his value far longer than is usual to catch up to Edgar
   53. TDF, situational idiot Posted: March 05, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4666706)
And, of course, he doesn't HAVE to hit as well as Edgar to be a HOFer. If he can continue to play good defense, he'll be worth the vote even if his offensive numbers don't catch up. But purely in terms of offensive value, Votto has to get BETTER than he currently is or hold onto his value far longer than is usual to catch up to Edgar
And this is what's wrong. Votto doesn't have to either (1) get better or (2) "hold on to his value longer than usual". Play about as well as he has*** for 7 more seasons, and he'll surpass Martinez in career hitting value (batting runs) in about the same number of career PA; at that point he'll only be entering his age-37 season.

Votto has such a huge head start that to catch Edgar it just isn't as difficult as you're making it out to be.

***EDIT: And even this isn't entirely true. He's averaged 43 batting runs/650 PA for his career; he only needs to average about 36 Rbat/650 over the next 4900 PA to surpass Edgar's total.
   54. Baldrick Posted: March 05, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4666710)
You keep pointing out how few hitters, even great ones, have hit like Martinez after turning 34, but Votto will only be 30. He's about 275 Rbat behind Martinez; 25 guys have more than that after turning 30 so while difficult, it isn't exactly unheard of. More importantly, Votto has about 4900 fewer career PA than Martinez; 138 hitters have more PA after turning 30. Even with what we consider "normal" aging, I'd say his odds of getting those batting runs in that many PA are pretty good.

I pointed to a bunch of people (all extremely good hitters) whose careers from 30 onward failed to accumulate those 275 Rbat. I found very few examples of guys who held onto their value. Many fell WAY short. I chose 30-onward because, you know, "Votto will only be 30."

I have no idea why the PA comparison is relevant. There are 25 guys who managed 275+ Rbat from age 30 onward. That's in the entirety of baseball history. It's extraordinarily rare. Even if we decide that Votto is an extraordinary hitter (#55 through age 29, as you say), that's still a lot lower than 25. And quite a few of those 25 are guys who were clearly a MAJOR step ahead of both Edgar and Votto offensively. Votto is extremely unlikely to ever hit like Ruth or Bonds or Williams or Cobb or Mays or Musial or Gehrig or Speaker. There is literally one player in history that isn't an inner-circle all-time great who matched any of those guys from age 30 onward (hint: it's Edgar). The real possible comps for Votto are Manny, Sheffield, McGwire, Walker, Chipper, Stargell, etc. They show it's very much possible. But they are the exceptions, not the rules.

Again, Votto absolutely could end up being Edgar's equal offensively. But he would have to age quite gracefully to do so.
   55. Baldrick Posted: March 05, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4666711)
And this is what's wrong. Votto doesn't have to either (1) get better or (2) "hold on to his value longer than usual". Play about as well as he has for 7 more seasons, and he'll surpass Martinez in career hitting value (batting runs) in about the same number of career PA; at that point he'll only be entering his age-37 season.

Votto has such a huge head start that to catch Edgar it just isn't as difficult as you're making it out to be.

Playing 'as well as he has for 7 more seasons' with all of those seasons happening in his 30s is really hard! Very few players hold onto their value that long!
   56. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4666734)
Baldrick,

Votto is pretty handily better than Edgar. Votto actually plays a position, and he is a slightly better hitter


I think it's fair to say Votto is a slightly better hitter than Edgar was at the same point in his career, don't you? So how is the claim above false?

You then started talking about Edgar's full career, which is also a different issue.
   57. Baldrick Posted: March 05, 2014 at 02:34 PM (#4666780)
I think it's fair to say Votto is a slightly better hitter than Edgar was at the same point in his career, don't you? So how is the claim above false?

Because Edgar's career is over and we know that it contained a historically unique level of value packed at the end. Which means that as a total package Edgar was a better hitter than Votto is, or is likely to be. If the quote had said that Votto is a better hitter than Edgar - up to the same points in their careers - then it would not have been wrong. But that is not a very interesting comparison precisely because Edgar is so unique for packing so much value late into his career. Saying that someone is a better hitter than Edgar because they are similar through the first 4000 plate appearances is like saying that X Pitcher is better than Randy Johnson because he was more valuable through age 32. It's what Johnson did LATE in his career which makes him an all-time great. Obviously Johnson is better than Edgar, but the general point is the same.

Normal players have aging curves. They get worse in their 30s. Some guys break the mold, but it's not generally a good practice to base comparisons on them. The point of using the Edgar comparison is that he sets a pretty clear baseline for what a hitter with Votto's profile (high OBP, good average, fewer HR than you'd expect from a 'slugger') should strive for. Edgar + some more defensive value is a HOFer. Actual Edgar is borderline. If Votto already had a case for being a better hitter than Edgar, then he'd have a lot further to fall. But he doesn't (yet). And that's all that I've been talking about: it is incorrect to say that Votto is a better hitter than Edgar. He may end up being better, and if he does then he'll be a deserving HOFer. But that will require a better peak than he's shown so far - or a very extended prime, which you can't really bet on.
   58. TDF, situational idiot Posted: March 05, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4666800)
And quite a few of those 25 are guys who were clearly a MAJOR step ahead of both Edgar and Votto offensively. Votto is extremely unlikely to ever hit like Ruth or Bonds or Williams or Cobb or Mays or Musial or Gehrig or Speaker. There is literally one player in history that isn't an inner-circle all-time great who matched any of those guys from age 30 onward (hint: it's Edgar).
Again - Votto doesn't need to have the after-30 career of those guys to surpass Edgar. Even if he matches the next tier - Sheffield, Chipper, Stargell - he'll surpass Edgar's hitting value.

There are 25 guys who managed 275+ Rbat from age 30 onward. That's in the entirety of baseball history. It's extraordinarily rare.
There's quite a bit of selection bias going on here, too. All of those guys except Edgar were already excellent hitters before 30; it's much more likely to be an excellent hitter after 30 if you were before that age.
   59. TDF, situational idiot Posted: March 05, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4666814)
Normal players have aging curves. They get worse in their 30s. Some guys break the mold, but it's not generally a good practice to base comparisons on them. The point of using the Edgar comparison is that he sets a pretty clear baseline for what a hitter with Votto's profile (high OBP, good average, fewer HR than you'd expect from a 'slugger') should strive for. Edgar + some more defensive value is a HOFer. Actual Edgar is borderline. If Votto already had a case for being a better hitter than Edgar, then he'd have a lot further to fall. But he doesn't (yet). And that's all that I've been talking about: it is incorrect to say that Votto is a better hitter than Edgar. He may end up being better, and if he does then he'll be a deserving HOFer. But that will require a better peak than he's shown so far - or a very extended prime, which you can't really bet on.
And what you refuse to acknowledge is that we evaluate players on their entire careers, not just the parts we like.

No one is denying that players age; however, you're just ignoring that what Votto has done so far gives him a gigantic head start on Martinez' career. In fact, it gives him enough of a lead that he never has to be truly great, just consistently very good to surpass Edgar's hitting career.

If an Indy 500 driver sits in the pits the first half of the race, then goes 300 mph the rest of the way he's going to lose to a guy who was out there the whole time going 175 mph. The 2nd racer never had "any equal chunk of consecutive laps" equal to the 1st guy, but he still won the race.
   60. Ron J2 Posted: March 05, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4666858)
#26, Haven't quite finished the peak list, but the guys I haven't done yet are unlikely to affect where Votto currently ranks.

Sorted by adjusted offensive wins above average:



Note that several multi-position hitters are listed at first base. That way I can count all of their best offensive seasons without worry. oWAR is adjusted as though they were a full time 1B.

Peak: All are totals in best 5 years (need not be consecutive) by adjusted offensive wins.
AOW: adjusted offensive wins above average in best 5 years.
WAR: total of WAR in 5 best seasons by AOW
oWAR: total of oWAR in 5 best seasons by AOW (as noted, adjusted for players who spent substantial time at more demanding defensive position)
OPS+: OPS+ in 5 best seasons by AOW
POS %: Perecntage of time spent at 1B (or DH in the case of players marked as DH)

WAR 7+: Number of seasons with 7+ WAR
WAR 5+: Number of seasons with 5+ WAR
Prime: WAR in best 7 year stretch, removing best and two worst seasons
Age: Average age in best 7 year stretch -- not including the two worst years.

Player             AOW   WAR  oWAR  dWAR  OPSPOS %  WAR 7+  WAR 5+   Prime  Age 
Lou Gehrig        41.8  49.7  50.1  
-3.6  203  99.7%   10       12      36.2   29 
Jimmie Foxx       35.2  44.5  43.6  
-1.7  192  93.5%    7       10      34.4   27 
Albert Pujols     32.6  44.3  38.3   1.4  184  85.1
%    8       12      34.9   27 
Frank Thomas      30.2  33.7  36.9  
-7.9  184  76.2%    2        8      26.4   25 
Jeff Bagwell      29.7  37.1  35.1  
-2.7  174  99.2%    4        8      28.9   29 
Jason Giambi      28.8  34.5  35.5  
-5.6  175  83.7%    3        4      19.6   30 
Johnny Mize       28.5  35.8  36.6  
-4.2  173 100.0%    3        9      27.9   29 
Dick Allen        27.9  35.6  35.3  
-4.5  173  41.0%    3        6      22.9   24 
Willie McCovey    27.7  34.0  34.4  
-5.4  178  82.2%    2        7      25.2   30 
Miguel Cabrera    27.6  34.4  34.6  
-5.2  173  39.1%    3        7      26.1   28 
Todd Helton       27.4  37.4  33.4  
-0.8  160 100.0%    3        5      28.5   28 
Hank Greenberg    27.4  36.0  34.7  
-2.0  169  80.2%    4        7      28.0   26 
Edgar Martinez    26.5  31.8  31.4  
-5.9  168  83.3%    1        8      25.3   31 DH
Jim Thome         25.7  30.6  32.1  
-5.9  168  78.3%    2        5      23.7   28 
George Sisler     25.6  37.3  34.2   0.3  166  99.4
%    2        6      27.5   26 
Mark McGwire      25.6  27.7  33.6  
-7.7  191  95.6%    1        8      23.5   32 
Harmon Killebrew  24.2  28.8  32.0  
-7.9  165  48.9%    0        4      21.6   31 
Joey Votto        22.9  30.5  28.1  
-2.4  162 100.0%    1        4      23.3   27 
Dan Brouthers     22.4  30.4  29.7   1.2  197  99.6
%    2       10      26.6   31 
Carlos Delgado    22.2  25.9  29.5  
-7.8  160  97.9%    1        3      20.7   29 
Roger Connor      21.9  33.6  30.6   3.3  181  93.5
%    3        8      26.9   29 
David Ortiz       21.4  26.0  26.0  
-6.7  159  92.4%    0        3      18.5   29 
Bill Terry        21.3  32.1  28.1   0.7  148 100.0
%    2        5      24.0   32 
Dolph Camilli     21.2  30.1  28.3  
-1.7  157 100.0%    0        5      23.4   32 
Will Clark        21.1  28.1  27.2  
-3.9  157  99.1%    1        3      19.8   25 
Don Mattingly     20.8  29.2  27.5  
-2.7  151  95.1%    1        4      22.0   28 
Orlando Cepeda    20.4  26.9  27.8  
-5.9  155  78.2%    0        3      19.2   25 
John Olerud       20.3  31.3  27.6  
-0.6  151  97.1%    2        5      20.5   27 
Fred McGriff      20.2  27.3  26.7  
-4.1  150  96.5%    0        4      21.1   27 
Cap Anson         20.0  29.2  28.3   1.3  180  96.6
%    1        8      23.9   34 
Eddie Murray      19.7  29.5  26.2  
-1.5  155  99.2%    1        5      22.3   27 
Rafael Palmeiro   19.2  28.0  26.4  
-3.0  150  76.8%    0        5      21.4   31 
Mark Teixeira     18.5  29.5  25.3  
-0.1  143  96.3%    1        2      21.7   27 
Keith Hernandez   18.2  31.5  24.9   0.6  143 100.0
%    1        5      23.4   28 
Frank Chance      17.8  29.3  24.6   2.7  151  99.5
%    1        4      22.0   28 
Tony Perez        17.7  27.2  23.3   0.3  145  37.5
%    1        4      21.9   28 

   61. Baldrick Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:44 PM (#4666904)
And what you refuse to acknowledge is that we evaluate players on their entire careers, not just the parts we like.

Look, this is really very simple. It is rare for guys to be better after they turn 30 than before. Some guys do, but most don't. Therefore, our best guess is that Votto probably won't put together a peak that can beat Edgar's peak (again, just in terms of hitting). It is also rare for guys (even excellent hitters like Votto) to produce 275+ Rbat after they turn 30. Guys who hit like Votto until they're 29 in general are not going to be "consistently very good" for long enough to make up the difference.

Unless he can break the trends on those issues, he won't end up being as good a hitter over their careers. Of course he might be an exception. But the initial claim was that Votto is a better hitter than Edgar. IS a better hitter. But he isn't. He might end up being better, but that will depend on future events that are less likely than not to happen. They're close enough that it wouldn't be a huge shock if he managed it, of course. But you can't say a guy is better based on currently available information if you have to project him to beat his standard trendlines.

That's it. That's the whole argument. What of that do you disagree with? Is it your claim that Votto is more likely than not to produce MORE offensive value in his 30s than he did in his 20s? If so, why?

Here's another way of putting it. Miguel Cabrera is a better hitter than Edgar. We don't need to make any projections about the future to assess that claim. What he's already done is within shooting range of Edgar's career - and he's still going strong. He could fall well short of his expected production and still pass Edgar. His last four/five years are very similar to Edgar's best four/five years. OTOH, Robinson Cano is NOT a better hitter than Edgar (though he is probably a better player), even though he's well ahead of Edgar's hitting value up to the same age. He'd have to be a total monster in his 30s to stay ahead and that is quite unlikely. Surely we can agree on these two things.

So there's clearly some place in between those two guys where our existing information tells us that a guy is no longer clearly better than a retired player. All I'm saying is that Votto is on the wrong side of that line. He's certainly closer to the middle than Cano. But he would have to defy normal trends to catch up to Edgar - and there's no reason to project someone to defy normal trends.
   62. Ron J2 Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4666914)
#61 One of the things I noticed in doing the peak lists for hitters positions is that an awful lot of players had later peaks than you'd expect. Granting I'm only looking at offense when doing 1B/DH/corner OF, but the average age of the prime was 28.5, meaning that an awful lot of elite hitters sustained their productivity into their early 30s.

IOW it wouldn't be at all surprising that Votto has a few elite seasons left in him.
   63. toratoratora Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:01 PM (#4666916)
So, removing the people who've played 1b less than 1/2 the time (Allen, Killebrew, Cabrera)everyone on the list above Votto except McGwire, Helton, Thome, Pujols, Bagwell, Giambi and Edgar is already in the HoF.
Thome, Pujols and Giambi aren't eligible yet, McGwire and Bagwell are being held out for steroids and Bags looks like he's going soon anyhow, Helton has the Coors Field factor and Edgar was a DH. They all have strikes against them. They also share a commonality in that they are all steroid era players.
Votto so far has no such negatives, he's a post steroid hitter so he won't get tarred with that brush and maybe even get a benefit of being an elite hitter in what appears to be shaping up as a pitchers era.He also started somewhat late for an elite bat, having his first full season at 24-he has yet to play seven full seasons.
Will he age like Edgar?
Doubtful. Few do.
But he's averaged 6 WAR a year over the last five seasons. It's not absurd to think he has 4 more 5 WAR years in him. Throw a reasonable (AKA Non Murphy category)decline and he has a real decent shot at ending up at or over 60 WAR. At that point narrative can make or break a player.

I find this whole discussion somewhat ironic because the first tend to think I think when Votto and the HoF comes to mind is, "I wish he had started a few seasons earlier."
   64. Baldrick Posted: March 05, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4666960)
Okay, this is possibly not the best way to approach things, but it's the best I could put together. I did a search for guys within 25 Rbat of Votto over their age 23-29 seasons, which produced 27 results. Three of them are all currently going into their age 30 season (Votto, Braun, Fielder). One is a false positive on DiMaggio (he didn't play age 28-29). Of the remaining 23, here's the Rbat they managed over the rest of their career:

Jim Thome - 327
Gary Sheffield - 322
Chipper Jones - 304
Harry Heilmann - 255
Harmon Killebrew - 254
Carl Yastrzemski - 251
Reggie Jackson - 206
Wade Boggs - 192
Paul Waner - 190
Todd Helton - 166
Fred McGriff - 155
Mike Piazza - 153
Dick Allen - 119
Albert Belle - 107
Goose Goslin - 103
Eddie Murray - 103
Ken Griffey - 82
Babe Herman – 70
Ron Santo – 42
Joe Medwick - 29
Arky Vaughan - 27
Charlie Keller - 26
Jim Bottomley - 17

That’s three guys who cleared 260, and a couple more who got close. Thome, Sheffield, and Killebrew all had peaks in their early 30s. And Heilmann and Chipper basically accomplished the goal of ‘seven more very good years’ and Chipper even added a bit more value on top of that. Those are the potential success stories. Yaz had a 66 at age 30 and then had over 7000 more plate appearances but still fell a bit short. But we’ll count that as a positive result, too.

That’s six wins. But that still leaves a bunch more misses, some of which were pretty disastrous. And lots of these guys hit 30 at as good a pace as Votto, or better. Boggs was coming off three seasons of +50, had a 58 and 41 at ages 30-31, and then had 93 for the rest of his career. Helton had 220 (!) from age 26-29. Belle was coming off three straight years in the high 50s but only had one more good season in him. Griffey was coming off of 160 from age 26-29; he cleared 30 once over the rest of his career. Reggie, meanwhile, achieved the goal of seven more good years but wasn’t good ENOUGH in those years to carry him the whole way. And bunch of these guys were basically never great for even one more year in their 30s.
   65. LargeBill Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:14 PM (#4666983)
The next few years will determine if Votto is on a Hall of Fame path. For a 1B/corner OF, a player needs to amass significant counting numbers. Right now Votto has 999 hits, 157 homers and 530 RBI so even doubling that leaves him well short. Even if his slash line stays above the 300/400/500 level he needs to maintain it over 9,000 PA's to get in the conversation.

It is almost silly to debate whether someone is going to make the HOF going into age 30 season unless their peak in their 20's was like Pujols'.

   66. Lars6788 Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:24 PM (#4666986)
Who has the better career going forward? Prince Fielder or Joey Votto? Fat, chubby guy about to hit the wrong side of the aging curve or dreamy hitting, adroit fielding Votto, also on the wrong side of the aging curve?
   67. LargeBill Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:22 PM (#4667011)
66. Lars6788 Posted: March 05, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4666986)
Who has the better career going forward? Prince Fielder or Joey Votto? Fat, chubby guy about to hit the wrong side of the aging curve or dreamy hitting, adroit fielding Votto, also on the wrong side of the aging curve?


Normally without thinking much about it, I'd guess the fat player would decline more quickly. However, not sure it as cut and dry as Mo Vaughn would make us think. Fielder has been remarkably healthy playing every game almost every year whereas Votto has had some injury history and his knee (right/left can't remember) remains a concern going forward. Just because he has higher totals in the counting categories (almost 2,000 more PA's will do that), I would give Fielder a slightly better HOF chance. Both are far from being good HOF bets yet and both need bounce back seasons on homers.
   68. Baldrick Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:42 PM (#4667021)
Are you asking about who will HIT better or who will be the better baseball player? If it's just hitting, you could at least make an argument for Fielder. Still, Votto has much better rate stats and was actually good in 2013. So I'd lean in his direction for sure.

If you're asking who will have the better career in terms of overall value, the answer pretty much has to be Votto, simply because he is (and has always been) a much better baseball player. Fielder is a much worse baserunner, is worse at reaching on errors, is a terrible defender, and was below average last year. Votto is 22 wins above average for his career; Fielder is 6.

You can see this in their contracts. Detroit was DESPERATE to free themselves from Fielder's albatross, while Votto still has a decent chance to prevent his huge deal from being a disaster.

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