Joey Votto: Don't Hate the Player, Hate the ADP

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Joey Votto: Don't Hate the Player, Hate the ADP
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It’s tough for me to condemn a batter with .300/30/100 potential, but I’m going to do just that by suggesting you pass on the talented Reds’ first baseman, Joey Votto.

And it’s not even Votto’s fault.

As George Fitopoulos, my fellow Baseball Professor writer explained, you really should be blaming other fantasy owners. They’re the ones building hype around Votto and selecting him at 42.9 on average in ESPN leagues, ahead of other first basemen such as Justin Morneau, Kendry Morales, Derrek Lee, Lance Berkman, and Billy Butler.

Votto is definitely in that group of players and probably better than some of them, but is he worth grabbing 15 picks ahead of Morneau? How about 20 picks before Morales? Or what about a whopping 40 picks before Butler?

Unfortunately for all you prospective Votto owners out there, the answer to all of those questions is no.

Last season, Votto posted an 83/.322/25/84/4 line in just 131 games. His HR/FB rate was nearly identical to the year before with the extra bombs the result of a greater fly ball percentage. Votto only hit one more HR in 2009 than 2008, but he played 20 fewer games.

The real “surprise” was his .322 average. Surprise probably isn’t the right word there since Votto did bat .319 and .320 in his last two minor league seasons, but it was a 25-point increase from 2009. Before you label him the next Miguel Cabrera (did you know Cabrera is only five months older than Votto?), let’s look at some of the underlying stats.

Last year, Votto finished with an unusually high .372 BABIP, good for fifth in baseball. Plus, he did this while lowering his LD% from 25.2 percent to 21.7 percent.

Votto is a talented hitter, and I’d be comfortable sitting back and letting him fall to me while I stocked up on elite talent at other positions. The key phrase there though is “sitting back.”

Let’s take a look at some of the stats of players currently drafted after Votto:

Joey Votto 42.9 131 82 25 84 4 0.322 0.372 0.66 17.5%
Justin Morneau 48.0 135 85 30 100 0 0.274 0.273 0.84 16.3%
Kendry Morales 62.1 152 86 34 108 3 0.306 0.329 0.39 18.1%
Derrek Lee 82.7 141 91 35 111 1 0.306 0.327 0.70 17.9%
Billy Butler 83.5 159 78 21 93 1 0.301 0.332 0.56 11.9%
Lance Berkman 86.4 136 73 25 80 7 0.274 0.296 0.99 17.5%


When in doubt, I always default to comparing my options side-by-side. The following are player-pairings you could conceivably have with current ADPs in parentheses (and yes, when rounded off, two players can have the same ADP).

We’ll pass on Morneau since his ADP is so similar to Votto’s and group the last three together. Of the rest which one looks best in each scenario?

Scenario One: Votto or Morales

  • Votto (43) and Nick Markakis (63)/Yovani Gallardo (66)/Ben Zobrist (67)
  • Morales (62) and Jayson Werth (44)/Adam Wainwright (45)/Mark Reynolds (47)

Scenario Two: Votto or Butler/Lee/Berkman

  • Votto (43) and Josh Hamilton (79)/Gordon Beckham(87)/Matt Cain(91)
  • Butler (84) and Brian Roberts (44)/Justin Verlander (45)/Brian McCann(46)

Maybe it’s just me, although I suspect it isn’t, but I’ll take the second pairing in both of those scenarios.

I don’t hate Joey Votto. I just hate his ADP.

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