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(Sports Illustrated)   Three eye-popping stats supporting the argument that Joey Votto is the best hitter in baseball   (sportsillustrated.cnn.com) divider line 31
    More: Interesting, Joey Votto, hitter, Cincinnati Reds, hitting streak, Wade Boggs, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Schmidt, Albert Pujols  
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1801 clicks; posted to Sports » on 09 Jun 2012 at 10:36 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-09 10:47:36 AM  
¡Órale, Vatto!
 
2012-06-09 11:03:28 AM  
He really knows how to make those baseballs fly off and hits 'em like a hoser, eh. Keep it up, buddy!
 
2012-06-09 11:07:55 AM  
4 if you count 'He hits the ball better than anyone else'.
 
2012-06-09 12:00:32 PM  
Jeez I've never even heard of this guy, of course I don't follow baseball and live in New England so when I watch ESPN they only talk sox and yanks which are the only 2 teams in MLB that exist according to them
 
2012-06-09 01:16:00 PM  

Tr0mBoNe: hits 'em like a hoser, eh. Keep it up, buddy!


About darn time those knobs started noticing him, eh?
 
2012-06-09 01:31:24 PM  
"And if you're a hitting connoisseur, well, that infield popup statistic on Votto is interesting. Infield popups are as useless as strikeouts. They don't advance runners and they don't put pressure on a defense...Over the post (sic) four seasons, Cabrera has hit way more popups than Votto: 43-3."

And Votto has struck out 79 more times than Cabrera, in 30 fewer games.
 
2012-06-09 01:34:34 PM  
Yup, when you reduce the consideration to statistics that don't matter (yet may be interesting), you can pigeon hole any batter as the best hitter in baseball.

Still, Votto's good. There's just a reason we look at BA, RBIs, total bases, etc. before that stats the writer brought up.
 
2012-06-09 01:51:39 PM  

NaziKamikaze: Yup, when you reduce the consideration to statistics that don't matter (yet may be interesting), you can pigeon hole any batter as the best hitter in baseball.

Still, Votto's good. There's just a reason we look at BA, RBIs, total bases, etc. before that stats the writer brought up.


The reasons we look at BA and counting stats first are flimsy and based on tradition and laziness. RBI is a particularly misleading stat that say more about the team than the player
 
2012-06-09 02:07:20 PM  
• Votto has not popped up to the infield all season.
Neither have I.

• The average NL hitter bats .198 when he is behind in the count. Votto hits .300 when he is behind in the count.
I've never been behind the count.

• Votto has pulled a ball foul into the stands only once in his entire major league career. Once.
I never have pulled a foul ball into the stands.

I win.
 
2012-06-09 02:19:30 PM  
www.petside.com
 
2012-06-09 02:40:43 PM  
Ugh, Verducci. He's probably right, but could he have done a worse job of making his case? The one stat he used that almost helps was when he used oWAR from 2010-2012..but it makes the case better if he starts in 2009, not 2010.

NaziKamikaze: There's just a reason we look at BA, RBIs, total bases, etc.


If you're using RBI to try to determine the best hitter in baseball, you need to leave the conversation.

If I'm forced to use a single stat, I'm gonna pick wOBA or wRC+ (which is based on wOBA), If either stat is unfamiliar, feel free to ask me for an explanation.

So, that being said, here's the case for Votto:

In 2012, Votto has the third best batting average, the best OBP and the 2nd best SLG. He's got a wOBA 17 points higher than anyone else.

But it's June 9th. I'm not a big fan of basing things on 2 months worth of stats. So, as I mentioned earlier, let's look at 2009 - 2012. In that span, Votto has the third best batting average, the best OBP and the 3rd best SLG. But thanks to that OBP, his wOBA is 6 points higher than anyone else.

The case against Votto:

wOBA, while a fantastic stat, isn't park adjusted, and he plays in a pretty hitter friendly park. If we use wRC+ instead (which is park-adjusted), he still comes out on top, but he looks a bit less impressive.

Fun with arbitrary endpoints: if we use something other than 2010, we get results that look a little worse for him. From 2008, he's got the 2nd best wOBA. From 2010, he's essentially tied for first (in fact, he is tied for first in wRC+). From 2011, he's in 4th.

Votto's absolutely up there. But there's a big cluster of guys: Cabrera, Kemp, Braun, Hamilton, Bautista, and yes, even Pujols, who all deserve to be in the conversation. It's pretty much impossible to pick one guy from that group. But Votto is probably the best hitter so far this year.
 
2012-06-09 02:48:12 PM  
• The average NL hitter bats .198 when he is behind in the count. Votto hits .300 when he is behind in the count

Hate to break it to them, but this includes pitchers, who are going to drastically lower the average. If pitchers on average bat .050 in this position, that's going to lower the overall average 18.5 points. Furthermore the author doesn't bother telling us how many others bat at this level in this situation. But there are sure to be a few. So this says nothing about "best."

.
• Votto has pulled a ball foul into the stands only once in his entire major league career. Once.


I'm not the biggest fan of baseball, but there are times when it's desirable to foul, and therefore when it's desirable to foul in an uncatchable place, namely: the stands. So again, this doesn't say as much as the author wants it to, if anything.
 
2012-06-09 03:00:54 PM  

natural316: Jeez I've never even heard of this guy, of course I don't follow baseball and live in New England so when I watch ESPN they only talk sox and yanks which are the only 2 teams in MLB that exist according to them


Exactly why ESPN showed the last 3 innings of the Mariners no-hitter vs. the Dodgers last night. If you don't follow baseball why not STFU and watch HGTV.

Very impressive stats for Mr. Votto but I don't think he will ever have the low k per at bat ratio that Pujols had in his MVP years.
 
2012-06-09 03:21:37 PM  

aharown: I'm not the biggest fan of baseball, but there are times when it's desirable to foul, and therefore when it's desirable to foul in an uncatchable place, namely: the stands. So again, this doesn't say as much as the author wants it to, if anything.


The author is limiting it to pulling the ball foul, which is pretty much never done intentionally. If you're just trying to foul a pitch off, it's generally either sliced or fouled straight back.

aharown: Furthermore the author doesn't bother telling us how many others bat at this level in this situation. But there are sure to be a few. So this says nothing about "best."


The article was written several days ago, so it's not current. Votto is currently hitting .278 when behind in the count, vs. his overall average of .360. MLB.com (what I'm using) is relatively worthless on this stat as it doesn't let me sort only by qualifying hitters, but among hitters with 50 or more at-bats while behind in the count, Votto ranks 12th in the NL. However, Miguel Cabrera is currently hitting .295 when behind in the count, while Melky Cabrera leads all "qualifying" hitters with a .408 mark!

If you're curious, Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates is probably the worst hitter in the majors when behind in the count: in 62 at-bats, he's managed to strike out 43 times while hitting just .065.
 
2012-06-09 04:01:59 PM  
That article was dumb and shows that sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Also, isn't he really arguing the best "batter"? To me, "hitter" really just comes down to BA and is a subset of batting (which also includes patience and power).

Or am I being too picky?
 
2012-06-09 04:10:23 PM  

bacongood: That article was dumb and shows that sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Also, isn't he really arguing the best "batter"? To me, "hitter" really just comes down to BA and is a subset of batting (which also includes patience and power).

Or am I being too picky?


I'd call "best BA" something like "best contact hitter."

I mean, you can't seriously say a guy hitting .275 with all singles is a better "hitter" than a guy who hits .270 with all HRs.
 
2012-06-09 04:20:04 PM  
FTFA: has never started an All-Star Game

Now that Pujols and Fielder are gone to the AL, he will be this year. I'd put money on it.
 
2012-06-09 05:12:37 PM  

natural316: Jeez I've never even heard of this guy, of course I don't follow baseball and live in New England so when I watch ESPN they only talk sox and yanks which are the only 2 teams in MLB that exist according to them


This is what happened to Vlad Guerrero, except it wasn't just you, it was everyone, since he was in the baseball wasteland we call Montreal.
 
2012-06-09 05:16:54 PM  

Harv72b: The author is limiting it to pulling the ball foul, which is pretty much never done intentionally. If you're just trying to foul a pitch off, it's generally either sliced or fouled straight back.


it's ok to pull a ball foul if it's coming in at 101 mph

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPfddHBGx9Q
 
2012-06-09 07:28:44 PM  
Justin Verlander intentionally walked Votto twice today.

Justin Verlander.
 
2012-06-09 07:58:17 PM  
It's a shame the Reds traded away Josh Hamilton. Most people probably don't remember but there was a brief time back at the end 2007 when both Hamilton and Votto were starting for the Reds. But I guess if they were both playing the way they are today there is no way the Reds could afford both now. I still think Votto got overpaid a bit with this new contract, but I'm happy he's a Red for a long time.
 
2012-06-09 09:46:39 PM  

natural316: Jeez I've never even heard of this guy, of course I don't follow baseball and live in New England so when I watch ESPN they only talk sox and yanks which are the only 2 teams in MLB that exist according to them


I'm a Red Sox fan but I've been living in Cincy since the Fall... the Reds have been a real pleasure to watch this year :)
 
2012-06-10 02:41:18 AM  
barneyfifesbullet: Justin Verlander intentionally walked Votto twice today. Justin Verlander.

That's pretty telling. I'm not sure what the situation was when he was at bat, but Verlander doesn't normally walk people on purpose or pitch around them. Wish I could have seen more of that game today.

/Tiger fan
//in Chicago
 
2012-06-10 09:33:55 AM  
Votto's awesome, but the Reds also featured the worst hitter in MLB for a few weeks; Mike Costanzo, AAA call-up who in 21 plate appearances collected 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 sac flies and 10 Ks. .056 BA, .151 OPS.

Here's his Baseball Reference majors stats page, probably won't be changing anytime soon.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/costami01.shtml

Sadly, this is not atypical of Reds bench play this year. Walt Jocketty sold the farm for arms, no bench left.

/Reds fan
//optimistic, but there's still Dusty to deal with...
 
2012-06-10 10:25:51 AM  

Passive Aggressive Larry: It's a shame the Reds traded away Josh Hamilton. Most people probably don't remember but there was a brief time back at the end 2007 when both Hamilton and Votto were starting for the Reds. But I guess if they were both playing the way they are today there is no way the Reds could afford both now. I still think Votto got overpaid a bit with this new contract, but I'm happy he's a Red for a long time.


Well, could the Reds have kept his substance abuse problems in line? I'd say it's actually beneficial for the Rangers that Ron Washington has had substance abuse problems that he has (apparently) overcome
 
2012-06-11 12:06:13 AM  

jackiepaper: NaziKamikaze: Yup, when you reduce the consideration to statistics that don't matter (yet may be interesting), you can pigeon hole any batter as the best hitter in baseball.

Still, Votto's good. There's just a reason we look at BA, RBIs, total bases, etc. before that stats the writer brought up.

The reasons we look at BA and counting stats first are flimsy and based on tradition and laziness. RBI is a particularly misleading stat that say more about the team than the player


Uh, I don't care? Do you think the 3 stats the author came up with are better?
 
2012-06-11 08:18:32 AM  

aharown:

.
• Votto has pulled a ball foul into the stands only once in his entire major league career. Once.


I'm not the biggest fan of baseball, but there are times when it's desirable to foul, and therefore when it's desirable to foul in an uncatchable place, namely: the stands. So again, this doesn't say as much as the author wants it to, if anything.



Actually, the article states he never pulls the ball foul. Votto is actually the master of spoiling tough pitches in two strike counts by just slicing or tapping them foul. It's one of the reasons his batting average can remain so high even when he gets behind in the count. The fact that he never pulls the ball foul means that it is exceptionally difficult for a pitcher to get him in front of a pitch.

DeWayne Mann:


If I'm forced to use a single stat, I'm gonna pick wOBA or wRC+ (which is based on wOBA), If either stat is unfamiliar, feel free to ask me for an explanation.



I'm a huge fan of wOBA. I honestly feel it is the best stat we have right now for determining a hitter's pure value. Not as big a fan of wRC+. I'm not discounting park factors. Just, having dug through the math a couple of times, am not completely convinced that they have cracked it with their formula as of yet.
 
2012-06-11 11:19:42 AM  

v2micca: I'm a huge fan of wOBA. I honestly feel it is the best stat we have right now for determining a hitter's pure value. Not as big a fan of wRC+. I'm not discounting park factors. Just, having dug through the math a couple of times, am not completely convinced that they have cracked it with their formula as of yet.


Well, the main reason to use wRC+ is for the era adjustment. Remember that wOBA is scaled to be(roughly) on the OBP scale. So if the league average OBP goes up, the league average wOBA has to as well. A wOBA of .325 is decent in 1988...and below average in 2001. This is obvious in wRC+: the guy who had .325 wOBAs in 2001 have wRC+s of 90-95, but in 1988 have wRC+s of ~105.

wOBA (and, actually, most other stats like OPS) has Steve Finley 2001 as good as Chili Davis 1988. wRC+ greatly disagrees.
 
2012-06-11 11:50:11 AM  

NaziKamikaze: jackiepaper: NaziKamikaze: Yup, when you reduce the consideration to statistics that don't matter (yet may be interesting), you can pigeon hole any batter as the best hitter in baseball.

Still, Votto's good. There's just a reason we look at BA, RBIs, total bases, etc. before that stats the writer brought up.

The reasons we look at BA and counting stats first are flimsy and based on tradition and laziness. RBI is a particularly misleading stat that say more about the team than the player

Uh, I don't care? Do you think the 3 stats the author came up with are better?


OPS, OPS+, SLG and OBP are all better, yes.
 
2012-06-11 11:50:59 AM  

DeWayne Mann: v2micca: I'm a huge fan of wOBA. I honestly feel it is the best stat we have right now for determining a hitter's pure value. Not as big a fan of wRC+. I'm not discounting park factors. Just, having dug through the math a couple of times, am not completely convinced that they have cracked it with their formula as of yet.

Well, the main reason to use wRC+ is for the era adjustment. Remember that wOBA is scaled to be(roughly) on the OBP scale. So if the league average OBP goes up, the league average wOBA has to as well. A wOBA of .325 is decent in 1988...and below average in 2001. This is obvious in wRC+: the guy who had .325 wOBAs in 2001 have wRC+s of 90-95, but in 1988 have wRC+s of ~105.

wOBA (and, actually, most other stats like OPS) has Steve Finley 2001 as good as Chili Davis 1988. wRC+ greatly disagrees.


Comparing players from different Eras is a rabbit hole I just refuse to go down. Plus, in my mind, it is a fruitless intellectual exercise. The whole point of advances metrics is to better evaluate players performance now. I don't care how Joey Votto's '10 season compares with Mickey Mantle's '58 season. That doesn't help me understand any better how he is likely to fare against NL Central pitching today. I'll let philosophers argue about Greatest of all time. I just care about greatest of the moment. And for my money, wOBA is the best stat for determining that.
 
2012-06-11 12:41:33 PM  

v2micca: The whole point of advances metrics is to better evaluate players performance now.


It's kinda crazy to say that's the WHOLE point. But, sure, for current performance, there's less of a reason to use wRC+.
 
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