Joey Votto is seemingly in the news all of the time. Whether it is due to Brandon Phillips being a bitter over his contract or due the old school vs. new school argument that takes place nearly every day.
For example, on MLB Now, Bryan Kenny and Harold Reynolds "debate" topics. Sometimes good points are made, other times it's just screaming and kicking. Harold Reynolds always seems to discredit Votto by saying: "he's paid to drive in runs," or "he walks too much." Votto is paid very handsomely, but he isn't paid to drive in runs. In order to drive in runs you must have someone on base to drive in. Votto currently occupies the 3 spot in the Reds lineup. The Reds' two hole hitters have a .283 OBP. Shin-Soo Choo currently owns .427 OBP in the leadoff spot. Obviously Choo is very good at getting on base; Zack Cozart isn't. Joey Votto as a result has 120 plate appearances with runners in scoring position. Those at bats have resulted in a .307/.467/.466. That isn't exactly struggling to get the job done.
The Reds' broadcast booth recently spoke during a game about who the team's MVP was. They discussed at least seven names before mentioning the team's best player, Joey Votto. Brandon Phillips was their choice because: "he's driven in the most runs." Phillips has been really good this season with runners in scoring position, I'll give you that much. He's put up a .410/.465/.581 line during those situations. Compare that with his career line: .288/.352/.439. He's due for regression. He could stumble the rest of the season and still run into the magical 100 RBI plateau. People will worship and say that he's better at his job than Joey Votto. They'll be wrong.
Joey Votto currently ranks 1st in BB%, 2nd in OBP, 6th in wRC+, 8th in wOBA, and He is one of the best all-around offensive players in the game, yet he can't even be appreciated by his own team's announcers? He can't be appreciated because he is awesome at not making outs? Votto nearly gets on base half of the time he steps into the box, yet people claim he isn't doing his job. I realize that traditional stats still matter to some people and that's fine. They're usually stomach able to me if they're used in context. The idea of a player who simply drives in runs is a myth. It's all about opportunity. If Votto having an OPS of .933 in situations where a runner in scoring position is him not doing his job, I'd love to see what happens when he actually gets good at it.
I don't mean for this article to bash Brandon Phillips. He's a nice piece for a franchise to have, but he isn't a superstar. He isn't Joey Votto, hell he isn't even Jason Kipnis or Matt Carpenter. The fact that people so close to the game don't appreciate Votto is disheartening. He's one of the greatest hitters of his generation, yet many don't realize it because he only has 44 RBI in late July. The animosity towards Joey Votto is unwarranted and quite frankly stupid.