Marty Brennaman does not think Joey Votto should be trying to lead the league in on-base percentage


Marty Brennaman is a Frick Award winner and, when he wants to be, is still one of the best broadcasters in the game. But his favorite hobby, it seems, is going after the Reds’ best players.

He did this all through the 2000s with Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr., acting as if they were what stood between the Reds and success. In recent years he has decided Joey Votto is the problem. Never mind that he’s their best hitter. I mean, when you rip a guy for his RBI total despite the fact that he’s hitting .330/.441/.525 at the time, you may a bit unhinged on the subject.

Brennaman continued his campaign against Votto today:

He’s right. Votto should make more outs. That’d be the smart play.

Look, I know what some of you will say, mostly because I live in Ohio, I’ve heard Brennaman say it so much and a lot of Reds fans like to parrot it: “Votto should be more aggressive!” Maybe in some situations he should. Votto himself has said as much.

But that’s a totally different thing than Brennaman is saying here. The use of the word “content” is a suggestion about Votto’s character, his desire to win and his baseball I.Q. The fixation on on-base percentage — a stat where, in every possible way, it is better to have a high number than a low number — is a dose of ignorance about which Brennaman should and likely does know better. This is his way of saying Votto is soft and lacks the will to win and, if you know a lot of Reds fans, you know that’s something they say over and over again.

Mostly because the team’s iconic announcer tells them they should think that way.

MLB’s juiced baseball is juicing Triple-A home run totals too

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There has been considerable evidence amassed over the past year or two that the baseball used by Major League Baseball has a lower aerodynamic profile, leading to less drag, which leads directly to more home runs. If you doubted that at all, get a load of what is happening in Triple-A right now.

The minors have always had different balls than the majors. The MLB ball is made in Costa Rica at a Rawlings facility. The minor league balls are made in China. They use slightly different materials and, by all accounts, the minor league balls do not have the same sort of action and do not travel as far as the big league balls. Before the season, as Baseball America reported, Major League Baseball requested that Triple-A baseball switch to using MLB balls. The reason: uniformity and, one presumes, more accurate analysis of performance at the top level of the minor leagues.

The result, as Baseball America reports today, is a massive uptick in homers in the early going to the Triple-A season:

Last April, Triple-A hitters homered once every 47 plate appearances. As the weather warmed up, so did the home run rate. Over the course of the entire 2018 season, Triple-A hitters homered every 43 plate appearances. So far this year, they are homering every 32 plate appearances. Triple-A hitters are hitting home runs at a rate of 135 percent of last year’s rate.

Again, that’s in the coldest, least-homer friendly month of the season. It’s gonna just get worse. Or better, I guess, if you’re all about the long ball.

Which you had better be, because if they did something to deaden the balls and reduce homers, we’d have the same historically-high strikeout and walk rates but with no homers to provide offense to compensate. At least unless or until hitters changed their approach to become slap hitters or something, but that could take a good while. And may still not be effective given the advances in defense since the last time slap hitting was an important part of the game.

In the meantime, enjoy the dingers, Triple-A fans.