Joey Votto Chases Reds RBI Record
Joey Votto has had a remarkable career with the Cincinnati Reds. 12 years into his professional career, Votto leads the Reds all-time in On Base Percentage (OBP) and Adjusted OPS. While he could break other Reds records (Walks and Extra Base Hits), there is one record that could cement his Hall of Fame case. Votto can break Johnny Bench’s record for most Runs Batted In (RBI). As Votto is finishing off his 35-year-old season, some may ask can he pass Johnny Bench for 1st on that list?
Johnny Bench vs Joey Votto
Johnny Bench had an incredible 17-year career with the Cincinnati Reds. Bench is arguably one of the best hitting catchers of all-time, and arguably the best player of the Big Red Machine. One of Bench’s greatest achievements was his 1376 RBIs as a Red. This could be in part to hitting in the heart of the order. Votto has a similar character to Bench. Like Bench, Votto will likely spend his entire career with the Reds. Votto takes up the heart of the order and is the star of his team. Votto will likely end up with his number retired and go down as one of the best Reds players ever. Unlike Bench, Votto will be playing past his 35-year-old season.
While Bench ended at age 35, Votto’s contract expires after the 2023 season, making it possible for Votto to play into his 39-year-old season. Votto has been all over the place with a season, unlike the rest. While injuries may stop him in some years, others produce MVP caliber seasons. While it may look like Votto’s career is on the decline, his 2019 season is better than his 2018 season. Votto is hitting the ball harder and with a higher exit velocity.
Regardless, Votto on average produces a 90 RBI season every year. Meaning Votto would come up 50 RBI short of the goal. However if Votto were to stay healthy, and play into his 40s, he will pass Bench’s record for more RBI. Bench’s achievement was an untouchable feat for many years. Second, on the Reds, all-time list is, Tony Perez and is less than 200 RBI from Johnny Bench.
Although RBI are a traditional stat of measuring hitters, it brings the two different types of hitters together. In an age dominated by the launch angle, Votto’s old school focus of line drives and using the field connects him to the baseball game of old.
While Votto has plenty of ways to go to reach Bench’s benchmark of 1376 RBI, Votto’s 940 has been impressive and a demonstration that he is one of the greatest Reds to ever play.