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Player Profile: Is Joey Votto Ready for the Next Level??

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Yeah, it's me again. I am going to start taking a look at some players that fantasy/roto owners should focus on prior to 2010 drafts. Today I am going to look at a personal favorite-Reds first baseman Joey Votto.

I will start by taking a look at his 2009 stats:

Name AB H 2B HR R RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Joey Votto 469 151 38 25 82 84 70 106 0.322 0.414 0.567 0.981

In mid-season, Votto was on the disabled list for about a month with depression, so his power numbers don't look as good as his overall numbers. But, Votto improved his AVG from .297 in 2008 to .322 in 2009. He also increased his OBP from .368 in 2008 to .414 in 2009, his SLG from .506 to .567, and his OPS from .874 to .981.

Ron Shandler stated the following about Votto in his 2009 Baseball Forecaster:

"GB% will slow power growth, despite solid PX and HR/FB%. xBA says pay for BA now, but wait a bit longer for 30+ HRs"

Well,Votto must have read Shandler as he decreased his GB% from 44.1% in 2008 to 39% in 2009. He also increased his FB% from 30.7% to 39.3%. His HR/FB% did drop from 18.5% to 17.5% in 2009 as a result of the increase in fly balls Votto hit in 2009. Roto owners want Votto to continue to hit fly balls because as he gets older, more and more of the fly balls will be landing over the wall in Cincinnatti.

As a prospect, Votto was thought to be a base stealer as well, as he stole 24 bases in AA and 17 bases in AAA, but has yet to reach double digits in the majors. Its not a downfall, just a point for roto owners to consider come draft day. He has the skills and you never know when he will start running again.

I am of the belief that Votto will reward roto/fantasy owners in 2010 with a 30-100-.300 season, should he stay healthy, and very easily could top those numbers.