Joey Votto. Sounds like an insignificant character from Goodfellas. I can almost hear Ray Liota’s narration: “When I was a kid I used to get the wise guys’ beers during their card games down at Joey Votto’s. What a buncha gindaloons.” Joey Votto is no fringe mobster, but he is pretty gangster when it comes to hitting a baseball. So gangster, in fact, that you’ll find him in the top five of most experts’ preseason player rankings. I love stats, and there’s a lot to like about Votto’s. Whether it’s his career OPS of .955, BA of .313, or .237 ISO, he is as dominant a left-handed hitter as there is in the game. Stats like OPS, BA, and ISO are a great measure of a hitter’s true ability because unlike RBI or runs, they are absent any reliance upon others to be on base or drive them in. ISO treats a leadoff double the same as one with the bases loaded; it’s about pure power, fluky variables be damned.
Here’s a fun idea! Let’s compare Votto to the consensus No. 1-ranked player in fantasy baseball, the mighty Miguel Cabrera:
BB% K% BB/K AVG OBP SLG OPS ISO BABIP GB/FB LD% GB% FB% HR/FB
Votto: 12.9 18.4 0.70 .313 .405 .550 .955 .237 .352 1.19 23.9 41.3 34.8 19.4
Cabrera: 11.1 17.5 0.64 .317 .395 .555 .950 .239 .347 1.13 21.3 41.7 37.0 18.3