Cleat Geeks

1st is the worse, 2nd is the best?

We all know that it is true when it come to little school races and childish games. But what about for starting lineups? Well Billy Hamilton is far from being the worst player on the team, between his ability to get on base and steal those bases, he will be very interesting to watch this season.

Many wary fans might think that putting Joey Votto 2nd in the lineup was a bold move, but he is proving to be a key player at that spot. For those of you that don’t know the 2nd spot in the lineup is designed for contact hitters, it is their job to get the leadoff man into a scoring position. Votto being a left-hander hitter creates a potential gap in the infield due to the opposing teams first baseman holding on the leadoff batter, not that it stops Hamilton from stealing.

We didn’t see much from Votto last season due to a quad injury, which took him out of 100 games. In the 62 in which he played he had 272 plate appearances, 220 At Bats, 32 runs scored, 56 hits as well as 6 home runs.

Looking at 2013 before he got hurt he played in all 162 games, with 726 plate appearances! Votto also had 581 At Bats, 101 runs scored, and 24 home runs.

In 2012 he signed a $225 million dollar, 10-year deal with the Reds joining players like Miguel Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, and Albert Pujols by having the longest contract. Also starring in four consecutive All-Star appearances from 2010-2013.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 12.09.56 AMBack to this year, and this lineup. Joey Votto, the Canadian Stalin, will succeed, and succeed well at this spot. Why? Because he knows exactly what to do at the plate, and knows how to read the pitches. If he makes mistakes or have bad days, well thank goodness we have Todd Fraizer 3rd in the lineup because he will pick up the slack as well as Devin Mesoraco or Jay Bruce. Which means we should expect to see higher scoring games.

Already in just 3 games we have seen an amazing comeback in the making, if you want to call it that. .357 average , 1 home run, and 4 runs batted in. But what that data isn’t saying is the fact that everything he does is needed for the team to win. Opening day he would get on base twice, same in the second game of the series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. As well as having a two run home run, to tie the game in the 6th inning of the last game of that series.

Votto then hit 2 HRs in the first game of the series against the St. Louis Cardinals. That’s not saying that he will always play that well in other games, especially the later ones, he is human, he is allowed to have off days.

I’m just going to say this one more time. I believe, this lineup is the best the Reds have produced in a while. Votto is fully healthy and ready to give it his all this season. The Cincinnati Reds are the team to watch, even if other people and “experts” want to keep them in last place.

One Comment

  1. Michael Ballentine

    April 14, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Having Votto batting 2nd for the Reds is not the worse thing for the Reds, but it is not the best thing either. I agree with Krystin that he does open up more of a hole on the right side of the infield. But, I am also going to use her own words against her. She said in her well written article above, ” For those of you that don’t know the 2nd spot in the lineup is designed for contact hitters” Joey Votto is not a contact hitter. He is an on base machine, he will take the walk just as much as get a hit. According to Baseball-Reference.com Votto has led the league in On Base Percentage 4 of the past 5 years (the exception the year in which he was hurt which Krystin references in her article) and he led the league in walks 3 of the last 4 years. In his 9 years in the league he has had an On base Plus Slugging Percentage over 1.000 7 times. But, has never lead the league in hits. In my opinion Brandon Phillips should be hitting second. If you took Phillips and Vottos total number of hits for 2008 and 2009 the combined numbers are exactly the same. In 2010 Votto had 5 more hits than Phillips. In 2011 (Votto’s MVP season) Votto collected 2 more hits than Phillips. In 2012 Phillips had 37 more hits than did Votto. In 2013 Votto out hit Phillips by 19. Using my logic of Phillips second and Votto 3rd, look at this. Hamilton gets on base, steals 2nd, Phillips gets a hit, runners on the corners, and you have the guy with the best on base percentage up next. And even if he walks, you have the bases loaded for the guy who led the Reds in home runs last year, Todd Frazier with no outs. Followed by Jay Bruce(left right left creates match-up problems for relievers in the later innings) then Devin.

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