The Case for The Clutch Canadian: Why Joey Votto is an All-Star

StephenCorrespondent IMay 27, 2009

PHOENIX - MAY 12:  Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the major league baseball game at Chase Field on May 12, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

For starters, I have to briefly recap last nights game. If you're not interested in how the Reds beat the Astros, I totally understand. Scroll down and find out why Joey Votto is a National League All-Star.

The Recap

I was going to start this game recap explaining how I hate Mike Lincoln, but Joey Votto stole the storyline and saved Mike Lincoln’s rear.

Laynce Nix and Chris Dickerson celebrate the win

Laynce Nix and Chris Dickerson celebrate the win

What I will say is that I have no idea what Dusty was thinking in bringing Lincoln into the game in a 3-3 tie. That’s all the negativity I have for last night. I’ll save my rant about Mike Lincoln and Dusty Baker for another time.

Roy Oswalt’s dominance over the Reds may be coming to an end…at least for now. Oswalt has been held to a no-decision in his last two starts against Cincinnati.

I personally don’t care about his 23-1 record against the Reds. I don’t care if the Reds beat him, I care if the Reds beat the Astros. The “Wins-Losses” statistic is highly overrated and largely meaningless as far as personal statistics and evaluating the quality of pitchers is concerned.

Going along with what I was saying before, the only “W-L” column that matters to me is the one beside the words: “Cincinnati Reds” in the box scores.

Rock the Vote: The Case for Joey Votto

A lot can be gathered from the All-Star vote totals which were released earlier this week, right or wrong.

For example, Manny Ramirez currently ranks fourth in the All-Star voting for his position in the National League. One could surmise many things from this. Some argue that this shows fans really don’t care about steroids, they just want to see amazing feats of athleticism. Others, and I must admit I’m beginning to lean this way, believe the fans, by and large, are ill-informed and like to vote based on who they’ve seen on Sports Center.

I honestly could care less if Manny Ramirez plays in the All-Star game. It doesn’t matter to me. Does that mean I approve of steroid use and I just like to see amazing feats of athleticism? Absolutely not. Were that the case, I’d watch WWE.

I’m also not bothered by the fact that no Reds are ranked in the top five in their positions. None of them, save Joey Votto and Johnny Cueto, deserve to be there and I’ll be the first one to say that.

What matters to me is when I see guys like Lance Berkman, Carlos Delgado, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Howard on the NL first base leaderboard with my boy, Joey Votto, nowhere to be found. As I will explain later, I have no problem with Albert Pujols being in the mix, and really no problem with two of the previous four I’ve mentioned.

You will find Joey Votto’s name in the top five of nearly every offensive statistical category in spite of the fact that, due to recent illness, Votto has far fewer at-bats than the other five.

Let’s examine a few of these categories. (Note: I left out Carlos Delgado because he’s injured and will be for a while. Any fan that knowingly votes for someone who is injured is a complete idiot.)

  1. At-Bats: Votto was sidelined for a number of games with the flu and an inner-ear infection. Of course, this significantly reduced, and mostly halted, his playing time. This season, Joey has played in 36 games and has 121 at-bats. Berkman: 42/150, Howard: 44/175, Pujols: 45/155, Fielder: 46/158. I’ll even help you with the math (difference between games/difference between at-bats): Berkman: 6/29, Howard: 8/54, Pujols: 9/34, Fielder: 10/37.
  2. Batting Average: Votto is tied for fourth in MLB with Victor Martinez at .364. and is second only to Carlos Beltran in the National League. Berkman: .233, Howard: .257, Pujols: .323, Fielder: .266.
  3. Runs Batted In: Votto ranks 10th in the NL with 33 RBI, just one behind Ryan Howard. Please refer back to point 1 to get the full effect. Berkman: 27, Pujols: 40, Fielder: 43.
  4. Doubles: The “Clutch Canadian” has 10 two-baggers this season. Berkman: 6, Howard: 11, Pujols: 8, Fielder: 7.
  5. Home Runs: Votto, not known for his power as much as his average and ability to simply hit, has eight home runs. Berkman: 10, Howard: 12, Pujols: 14, Fielder: 10.

In no way am I trying to take away from or lessen the impact of what these guys have done this season, except for maybe Lance Berkman. Nor am I suggesting that Votto should be leading the polls or should start at the All-Star game.

Albert Pujols may very well be the best baseball player in the game today. He’s having another outstanding year, he plays in St. Louis, the All-Star game is in St. Louis. He should most definitely be the starter.

But fans should not deny what Joey Votto has done with arguably much less support than Howard, Pujols, and Fielder and with certainly fewer chances.

The fact that Berkman is behind Votto in nearly every catagory is my biggest upset.

Berkman is batting .131 points lower than Votto. He has six fewer RBI, four fewer doubles, and only two more home runs in 29 more at-bats!

Let’s not forget that though the Astros suck this year, Berkman still bats in front of or in between Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada. Hunter Pence isn’t too bad either.

Before I finish, I want to say that we are still a good ways away from the All-Star break. Not only can the voting change by that time, Joey Votto may very well play his way out of a spot on the NL roster by July 14. There’s still a lot of ball to be played.

Fans, this isn’t a popularity contest. This isn’t about what a player has done in the past or Ken Griffey Jr. would never miss a mid-summer classic.

This is our chance to vote for who we believe to be the best player at each position in each league. While you can give the starting spot to Albert Pujols, Joey Votto should, by all means, be in the mix with Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder.

Fans, do what’s right. Don’t vote for a guy because he plays for your team or because you’ve heard of him in the newspapers or on TV. Don’t just vote for Joey Votto because I said so. Educate yourselves on these players and make an informed vote.

But if you’re still on the fence for which National League first baseman you should vote for, why not vote for Joey Votto? He needs all the help he can get.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.