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Monday, February 24, 2014

Rosecrans: A newly open Joey Votto is in his ‘sweet spot’

Joey Votto, changing the constitution one wRC+ point at a time.

Becoming the face of baseball’s new metrics

And on some level, Votto’s WLW fireside chats have been something of a lecture, as well. He’s the tenured professor, educating and exposing people to new ideas.

At one point Votto explained wRC+, or Weighted Run Created Plus, sending a flood of traffic from southeastern Ohio to the servers at FanGraphs.com.

Votto’s become the face of a certain argument between new-school and old-school thinking, one that could simply come down to the point of view of whether a walk is not getting a hit or not making an out.

It’s unlikely to be coincidence that Votto was tied for first with Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt in the National League with a 156 wRC+ last season.

“It’s the future – no one can deny that. The same thing with a lot of the new things that are being legalized and things that are being changed in the constitution, that’s not changing,” Votto said. “It’s coming, accept it. There are people who pushed back in the ’70s and people who pushed back in the ’30s, it’s human nature. I’m going to push back on something one day and guess what, the world’s going to fly by me. In a smaller way, this is making the game better and more efficient.”

Asked why he’s interested in these statistics, Votto said he wanted to be able to speak that language after his playing career is done, whether as a manager, coach or in a front office. But even the new, open Votto clammed up when asked whether he used these theories on the field to make him the National League’s best hitter.

“I can’t give that up to you,” he said. “That’s a bit too far. If people knew that part, the way I think, I’d get in trouble.”

Repoz Posted: February 24, 2014 at 06:41 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: reds, sabermetrics

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   1. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 24, 2014 at 08:08 AM (#4661323)
At Redsfest, Votto went on with McAlister as part of the regular festivities and expressed to him that he enjoyed their talks and would like to do more. About five weeks ago, he contacted McAlister and asked if he could come on his show.

Was Mike Francesa unavailable?
   2. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 24, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4661584)
Was Mike Francesa unavailable?

Maybe I'm missing a joke, but McAlister is a local radio guy and reaches the audience Votto is trying to engage with. Francessa doesn't help there.
   3. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: February 24, 2014 at 04:37 PM (#4661618)
Marty Brennaman just dedicated the 2014 season to destroying Joey Votto and all he stands for.
   4. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: February 24, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4661621)
It’s coming, accept it. There are people who pushed back in the ’70s and people who pushed back in the ’30s, it’s human nature. I’m going to push back on something one day and guess what, the world’s going to fly by me.

I feel like I occasionally come across the older guy who never transitioned into the 'get off my lawn' stereotype. Keeps up with things, updates his language and habits appropriately. It's rare but he's out there. Sadly, I don't think I'm up to it.
   5. dr. scott Posted: February 24, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4661626)
I originally read this as " A new openly gay Votto..." and thought... when it rains it pours.
   6. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 24, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4661632)
I don't think the world is ready for the first openly gay sabermetician
   7. dr. scott Posted: February 24, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4661643)
Silver cracked that open years ago...
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: February 24, 2014 at 06:54 PM (#4661701)

"Maybe I'm missing a joke, but McAlister is a local radio guy and reaches the audience Votto is trying to engage with. Francessa doesn't help there."

A-Rod famously and oddly started a BFF relationship with Francesa last season by cold-calling him live on the air. Here is another star seeking to do radio, hence the Francesa line
   9. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: February 24, 2014 at 07:53 PM (#4661731)
Thanks, Howie.
   10. Perry Posted: February 24, 2014 at 08:19 PM (#4661746)
For me the real takeaway here is: Joey Votto is all kinds of awesome.
   11. God Posted: February 24, 2014 at 09:56 PM (#4661783)
This an oddly well-written and nuanced article considering it comes from the only voter who didn't think Clayton Kershaw was worthy of the 2013 NL Cy Young Award.
   12. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: February 25, 2014 at 12:20 AM (#4661854)
Silver cracked that open years ago...


Yeah, wake me when MLB gets its first trans player...
   13. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: February 25, 2014 at 01:11 AM (#4661869)
Are we sure it hasn't happened already? "Stan Belinda" ... "Glen or Glenda" ... think about it.
   14. Dan Posted: February 25, 2014 at 07:21 AM (#4661909)
For me the real takeaway here is: Joey Votto is all kinds of awesome.


Seconded. Votto is both an awesome player and a really fun guy to root for. I can't recall another star player modifying his game based on the numbers in the way that Votto decided to trade a few home runs per year in order to hit more line drives and get on base more, and from the way he talks you can tell that he actually understands the reasons for doing so.

The closest situation that comes to mind is Brandon McCarthy changing his pitching style based on the basic reasoning behind DIPS. But McCarthy was a borderline washout who was looking for a way to resurrect his career, not an established star who was willing to change his game.
   15. Publius Publicola Posted: February 25, 2014 at 08:33 AM (#4661921)
I thought this was another Civil War thread.

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