Joey Votto: A Reds Legend in the Making

Zach AmburgeyCorrespondent IMay 9, 2009

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 6: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds fields a ground ball against the New York Mets during the fourth inning at Great American Ballpark on April 6, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)

The 2009 Cincinnati Reds could have a solid season. They have new faces, the pitching has finally came around, but the bats are still having a struggle. One man isn't having that struggle. One man is having a great 2009 season, even if he has only played in 27 games.

Joey Votto was born on September 10, 1983, in Ontario Canada. Growing up, Votto showed a love for the game of baseball. From his early days in Canada to being drafted straight out of high school, Votto showed signs of being a special baseball player.

The young star's career began in 2002.

The Cincinnati Reds selected Votto with the 44th overall pick in the MLB Amateur Draft. Votto bounced around the Reds lower-level affiliate squads, never making too much noise. The young stud burst onto the scene after a solid season with the Dayton Dragons, a class A affiliate for the Reds. Votto hit 19 home runs for the season and hit over .300. He was promoted to the advanced class A Potomac.

After his first true solid season as a professional, Votto declined and went back to his old self. While many knew Votto had talent, and could someday be a major league baseball player, it didn't seem like he had the heart to do it. In the next season, Votto still hit 19 home runs, but his average dropped from .300 to .255. Many, Votto included, thought his chance at playing in the Majors would never come.

Votto rebounded well in 2006. He was promoted to class AA Chattanooga, and had a solid year. Votto hit 22 home runs and put up a .319 average. He ranked first in the league in batting average and third in home runs and RBI. He played in both the mid-season and post-season all star games, and even collected the Southern League MVP award. That year earned him a spot with the Reds during spring training in 2007, but he was demoted back down to the minors.

In 2007 Votto finally burst onto the national scene. He began the 2007 season in the minor leagues with the AAA Louisville Bats. It didn't take long for Votto to be called up to the Reds.

After being called up, he was used 23 games, starting in 21 of them. Votto hit .321, with four home runs, and 17 RBI in that short amount of time. It would help to ensure him a spot on the 2008 squad.

2008 was an amazing year for the young star. He played in 151 games, hitting .297 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI. Votto had an amazing season as a Reds rookie. His biggest accomplishment wasn't making the All Star team, or winning the Rookie of the Year award, but breaking the Reds single-season rookie record for RBI. He broke Reds' great Frank Robinson's record. Votto did finish second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

Now 2009 has rolled around, and Votto is showing he is as strong as ever. Votto has began the season very solid; in 27 games he is hitting .370, with three home runs and 24 RBI.

The Reds' young stud is showing he can hit just as good as any other first baseman in the league. Votto should keep his big numbers going for the remainder of the season. My prediction: Votto will play in over 150 games, hit over .300, have 27 to 30 home runs, and drive in over 100 RBI. Pretty nice numbers for a young first basemen.

The Reds orginazation and the fans of Cincinnati have grown to love Joey Votto. He has become the face of a team rich in tradtion and hungry to get back to the world series. Votto should carry the Reds from this season until his last in Cincinnati. Votto is a Reds legend in the making, it's easy to see. All the Reds need to do is to keep him there.


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