Reds first baseman Joey Votto went 1-for-2 with three walks in Sunday’s 6-3 win at home against the Brewers. Getting on base four times in a game makes for a solid afternoon, but the performance is not typically newsworthy, particularly if it only involves a single and a trio of free passes.
Votto, however, has had an extraordinarily great second half of the season. Since July 17, the first game out of the All-Star break, he is hitting .401/.581/.730 with 14 doubles, 12 home runs, and 64 walks in 217 plate appearances. No one has been a better hitter in the second half than Votto and it’s not even close. Entering Sunday’s action, he had a .538 weighted on-base average (wOBA), a Sabermetric statistic that individually weights each of a player’s contributions on offense. The next-best is Edwin Encarnacion at .471. The difference between the two, in terms of runs, is between 10 and 11 runs, which translates to over one win. What that means is that, on offense alone, Votto has been a full win better than the second-best hitter in the second half. That’s absurd.
Overall, Votto has a .318/.462/.565 triple-slash line with 27 home runs, 70 RBI, and 85 runs scored. His .437 wOBA is second-best in baseball behind Bryce Harper’s .467. Votto is way ahead of Paul Goldschmidt at .414.
The National League MVP Award debate will likely boil down to Harper versus Zack Greinke. Votto, however, will be deserving of second- or third-place votes on the ballot in a season that has largely flown under the radar.