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Entries in Joey Votto (9)


Best Hitters of Pitches on the Black

Pitches on the Black over the last Year

The above shows the hitters with the most hits on pitches located on the black of the plate over the last year.  These can be either pitches thrown to the inside or outside black. 

Borderline pitches can be difficult to hit.  The most successful pitchers are able to throw to the black consistently. The above list shows hitters that have produced more hits on these pitches than the rest of the league.

Some hitters do better on the inside pitch on the black, while others are more successful on the outside edge.  Fifteen of Joey Votto's 23 hits on the black were on the outside edge of the plate. That includes all four of his home runs and one of his doubles.  This makes sense as Votto can extend better on those pitches and generate more power.

However, Michael Young leads all hitters with hits on inside pitches on the black with 12. Young stands off the plate a bit with a slightly open stance, so it makes sense that he has racked up so many hits on these pitches over the last year.


Votto's All-Fields Slugging

The 12-year, $251.5 million guarantee that the Reds have given first baseman Joey Votto through his age-39 season has baseball pundits divided. One one hand, Cincinnati is not a huge market, Votto's salary could take up a quarter of the club's expenditures without a payroll boost, and the Reds don't currently have a mega TV contract bringing in big bucks. On the other, Votto's best historical comps among first basemen have aged rather gracefully, Cincy will share in the higher revenue streams from MLB's national TV deals (and perhaps an overall increase in franchise values in the wake of the Dodgers sale), and they're in a better position to get a big local cable TV deal in 2016 with Votto than without him.

Regardless of which side of the fence you stand on, one thing's for sure: Votto can clear it. The lefty is one of the game's true all-fields sluggers. Check out the location of Votto's home runs over the 2009-11 seasons:


Votto hit 39 homers to left field, 24 to center and 28 to the pull side. Overall, he has put the ball in play more to the opposite (33.8 percent) and middle (38.4 percent) fields than to right field (27.8 percent) over the past three years.

When it comes to going oppo, Votto is topped only by Ryan Howard among lefty hitters:

Highest slugging percentage to the opposite field by LHB, 2009-11

Ryan Howard .870
Joey Votto .805
Adrian Gonzalez .782
Lance Berkman .733
Brad Hawpe .695
Joe Mauer .678
Adam Dunn .669
Mark Teahen .660
Shin-Soo Choo .648
David Ortiz .622
AVG LHB .430


To center, Votto is also comfortably in the top 10:

Highest slugging percentage to the middle field by LHB, 2009-11

Ryan Howard .731
David Ortiz .687
Jack Cust .684
Carlos Gonzalez .655
Josh Hamilton .612
Joey Votto .600
Jim Thome .599
Prince Fielder .598
Russell Branyan .590
Adam Dunn .586
AVG LHB .437


Votto doesn't stand out quite as much to the pull side, but we're talking in relative terms here.  His .808 slugging percentage to right field is about 60 points above the big league average for lefties.

Left, center or right -- Votto makes loud contact in all directions. Pretty appropriate for a guy who could now buy his own chain of islands.


Looking When it Counts

White there are plenty of selective hitters in Major League Baseball, there is one count in which batters need to take with certainty, 3-2.  Take a ball and in that count and win a free pass to first base, take a strike and walk back to the dugout.  During the last four seasons, 101 players took at least 100 pitches on a 3-2 count.  The following table shows the hitters who took the highest percentage of walks, or taking ball four:


BatterStrikeout %Walk %
Albert Pujols 9.4% 90.6%
Brian Roberts 8.5% 90.6%
Dustin Pedroia 8.7% 90.4%
Adrian Gonzalez 9.9% 90.1%
Joey Votto 11.0% 89.0%
Miguel Cabrera 10.3% 89.0%
David Ortiz 11.0% 88.4%
Derek Jeter 11.4% 87.9%
Luke Scott 11.4% 87.6%
Andrew McCutchen 12.5% 87.5%


I'm not surprised that sluggers like Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez and Joey Votto are near the top of the list.  Often, pitchers will work carefully to these batters, since throwing the a strike might result in a home run.  It's better to try to get them to chase an outside pitch, but these sluggers have an excellent eye for the strike zone.

Note that along with the sluggers are table setters like Dustin Pedroia and Derek Jeter. Their ability to work the count and draw walks makes them so valuable at the top of the order.  You may also notice that the Red Sox stock up on players with great strikeout judgement, as three of these hitters currently reisde in Boston.

At the other end of the spectrum are the hitters who strike out quite often.


BatterStrikeout %Walk %
Drew Stubbs 28.4% 70.6%
Andruw Jones 26.2% 73.8%
Mike Cameron 25.0% 75.0%
Troy Tulowitzki 23.8% 76.2%
Jack Cust 22.1% 77.9%
Jorge Posada 22.0% 77.1%
B. J. Upton 21.7% 77.9%
David DeJesus 21.6% 78.4%
Hanley Ramirez 21.6% 77.8%
Dexter Fowler 21.6% 77.6%


Note that there are a number of good, or formerly good hitters in this list.  Jorge Posada saw his hitting prowess fade this season, but he still reached base at a good clip the last few years.  Troy Tulowitzki rates as the outstanding hitting shortstop in the majors, and Hanley Ramirez held that distinction in previous seasons.  With the exception of B.J. Upton, these are players that are very good, but have more flaws that the group at the top.  It seems that the willingness to take on 3-2 indicates a selective hitter, regardless of how well the 3-2 looks turns out.

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