With all due respect to – insert any star offensive player in this era – Joey Votto might actually be the best hitter of this generation. Over 6,829 plate appearances from 2007 to 2019, Votto has slashed .310/.426/.528 (155 wRC+), with 270 homers and a 16.3% walk rate that nearly matches his 17.6% strikeout rate.
But despite all of those excellent and obviously impressive numbers, the one key offensive statistic that may stick out the most is his absolutely minuscule 1.1% infield fly ball rate. As a matter of fact, his 1.1 IFFB% leads all of MLB history for batters with more than 6,500 plate appearances. He’s #1. That’s it.
MLB IFFB% Leaderboard:
- Joey Votto: 1.1%
- Ryan Howard: 1.6%
- Joe Mauer: 2.1%
- Derek Jeter: 2.7%
- Bobby Abreu: 3.0%
But I can take this a step further than that.
We already know Votto rarely ever pops up on the infield, but last night it did happen – with a very notable caveat: In the eighth inning of the Reds 2-3 loss at Dodger Stadium, Votto popped up to the first baseman … FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS ENTIRE, EXTREMELY-LONG CAREER:
Yes. It took him nearly 7,000 plate appearances to pop-up to the first baseman. Can you conceptualize how utterly absurd that is? Maybe this will help: According to MLB.com: No other active player with at least 50 total popups has avoided hitting any of them to first base. I mean, dude.
Here’s a look at his pop-up map:
On the left are Joey Votto's (rare) popups from the first 1,591 games of his career.
On the right is Votto's popup from today — the one that finally went to the first baseman. pic.twitter.com/i32S9riiNg
— Andrew Simon (@AndrewSimonMLB) April 17, 2019
I’m not sure how much longer Joey Votto will be playing this game, but he’s clearly one of the greatest hitters of his decade+.