The Cincinnati Reds may have the prodigal son of the runs created sabermetric in first-baseman Joey Votto, but sometimes Votto’s knack for creating runs doesn’t quite seem to have the same allure as actually knocking them in.
Since 2008, no National League player is more proficient in the runs created category than Votto, and that factors into account that Votto missed 51 games in 2012 and 23 games so far this year. The runs created category uses a total base/at bat formula to determine a player’s total contribution to a team’s run total.
Runs created king or not, Votto nevertheless seemed to struggle up until the time he landed on the disabled list in May. Votto still managed to punch in his clockwork .400+ on-base percentage, but since his return to the Reds’ lineup seven games ago, Votto has shown the signs of the Votto who was much more than just an on-base machine.
Votto hasn’t hit a home run yet since his return, but he has driven in seven runs in seven games. Votto may be reclaiming his role as RBI machine. His on-base and OPS for the year are only slightly higher since his return. However, his batting average is starting to spike — a 17-point climb in the seven games.
Perhaps Votto has recognized that he might have to expand his role at the plate beyond the parameters of walk-machine to a fault. The early indicators since his return don’t completely suggest that Votto is changing his approach to the plate in any real discernible way, but the results suggest that Votto is finding some rhythm at the plate that wasn’t quite there before.
Votto had just 12 RBIs in his first 39 games of the year. He’s knocked in seven since he returned seven games ago. If Votto keeps producing like this, the Reds and their fans will no doubt appreciate the production.