Votto's value takes many forms

July, 17, 2012
7/17/12
1:16
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Joey Votto is expected undergo surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, and will miss three to four weeks. That leaves the Cincinnati Reds without the most valuable player in the National League over the past three seasons. Since 2010, Votto’s 17.3 wins above replacement (WAR) are the most for any NL position player.

Votto was putting up MVP-type numbers, while leading the Reds to the division lead in the NL Central. His .465 on-base percentage puts him on pace for the highest by a Reds player since Joe Morgan (.466) in 1975. Going into Monday, Votto had reached base 57 more times than any of his teammates.

That’s just one aspect of Votto’s game that will be glaringly absent over the next month.

Votto the Run Producer
The Reds will have to find a replacement run producer, as Votto had been carrying much of that load. His .371 batting average with runners in scoring position ranks second in the NL behind only Andrew McCutchen. The rest of the Reds are hitting just .223 with RISP.

Votto has spoiled Reds over the years. His .350 career average with runners in scoring position is the highest of any player over the past 50 years (just percentage points higher than Tony Gwynn).

Earl Webb’s Record Is Safe
Votto’s 36 doubles lead all major leaguers, and are just four shy of his 2011 total which led the NL.

That put Votto on pace for 65.5 doubles, close enough to threaten Earl Webb’s 81-year-old record of 67 in a season. Even if he didn’t get to Webb, Votto seemed poised to become the seventh player to reach 60 doubles, and the first since 1936.

With eight more doubles than anyone else, Votto could still wind up leading the NL even after this DL stint.

Losing a Lefty Bat
The loss of Votto makes the Reds lineup almost exclusively right-handed. Already, Cincinnati has nearly 200 fewer left-handed plate appearances than any other NL team. With Votto out, Jay Bruce is the lone left-handed regular.

That’s an area for concern going forward considering that the right-handed hitters on the Reds are batting just .236 against right-handed pitching this season.

Don’t Discount the Defense
Though he’s known for his bat, the Reds will certainly miss Votto’s defense at first base. His five defensive runs saved lead all NL first basemen, and he leads the majors in scooped throws. Votto is a big reason why the Reds have only 22 throwing errors this season

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