Joey Votto: 5×5 Underachiever?
Pop Quiz! List the best hitters in Major League Baseball. My list begins with Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera as the obvious top two. Numbers three and four are Andrew McCutchen and Joey Votto, but it’s too close to call. Yes, the Reds’ franchise player is one of the best pure hitters of today, if not our generation. With three Hall Of Fame quality seasons (six-plus WAR) under his belt by the age of 30, Votto is six-to-eight productive years away from Cooperstown. Because of this, fantasy baseball owners draft Joey Votto in 5×5 leagues with dreams of championship glory. But with a high walk rate eating into his counting numbers, is this line of thinking mistaken?
The Ottoneu Experts League auction featured five first baseman of note after accounting for kept players. Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Miguel Cabrera (Not a 1B yet), Jose Dariel Abreu and Prince Fielder. Miguel Cabrera came off the board for more money than any player in the history of the league ($75 or 18.75% of the $400 team budget). Abreu was auctioned for $26 a few picks before the Joey Votto versus Prince Fielder death match began.
Votto was auctioned first and received $49 from the Baseball HQ team. Two picks later, I landed Fielder for $45 and the chat box filled with comments from owners wishing they had bid more for Votto had they known Fielder would go for so much.
Using Diamond Draft’s customized player values, I ran 5×5 values for the Ottoneu Experts League. With a budget of $400 and 40-man rosters, Joey Votto was the 23rd best bat in the format accumulating $23.10 in value while Fielder chipped in $22.90, good for 24th. Meanwhile, Fielder had a down season while Votto achieved a wRC+ of 156, matching his career average.
If we concede Votto’s 73 RBI (tied with Todd Frazier for third on his own team) were less than expected given his level of production, then it’s fair to expect Joey Votto to be worth a few bucks more in 2014. By the same token, Fielder returning to his career average 140 wRC+ in 2014 (125 in 2013) would boost production across the board, adding value as well.
If it seems as if these two are attached at the hip in terms of value, they are! The only real difference is Votto’s perceived value is higher due to those magical .300/.400/.500 triple slash lines.
Joey Votto In OBP Formats
Before sitting down to write this, my assumption was Votto would be considerably more valuable in formats where OBP and OPS are king. This proved true. At first, I was perplexed to find Votto was ranked lower in formats where reaching base is rewarded after running player values based on the $400, 40-man framework and substituting OBP and OPS for batting average. In looking closer at the numbers, Joey Votto’s OBP is listed as .345, not .435. Big difference! Without being able to use exact numbers, the fall back option is to take a glance at Jayson Werth‘s 2013.
Werth: .400 OBP, 25 HR, 10 SB, 166 combined R/RBI
Votto: .435 OBP, 24 HR, 6 SB, 174 combined R/RBI
If we can agree those numbers are similar, then Votto is a top-15 hitter in the OBP formats as Werth produced $25.50 in value. And with a typical Joey Votto season resulting in 100 RBI or more, 200 combined R/RBI would firmly place him in the top-10.
Without a doubt, Votto is a superstar and the type of hitter every father wants his son/daughter to emulate in real life. But in fantasy baseball, I’ll be teaching the next generation of fantasy baseball playing Newman’s to draft players who take fewer free passes in 5×5 formats. For as much as walks add to Joey Votto’s runs scored total while propping up his lofty batting average, the loss of 100-plus plate appearances to free passes each season is a net negative to Votto’s 5×5 fantasy baseball value.
13 Mar 2014 / Mike Newman /
1-On-1 ROTO Strategy Session
The Best Of RS
- Can Alex "Chi-Chi" Gonzalez Crack the Texas Rangers Opening Day Rotation?
- Fantasy Baseball Trade Deadline 101: A Former MLB GM’s Take
- Felix Hernandez and Solo Home Run Situations: A Blueprint For Longevity
- JR Graham: Is He Still An MLB Arm For The Atlanta Braves?
- Mason Williams: Is It Time To Label Him A Bust For The Yankees?
- Mike Newman's Top-50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects Scouted in 2014
- Nick Kingham Scouting Report (2014)
- Rangers Joey Gallo, Marlins Giancarlo Stanton And Strikeouts
- The ROTOscouting Baseball Podcast
- Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Prospects By Team
- Will Mike Moustakas Finally Put It Together Next Season?