The Reds have done suprisingly well this season. They have ridden good pitching to a record that is above .500, which was hardly what anyone was expecting. While it doesn't appear they have enough gas to contend for the division, it does appear that they have a new superstar in the making: Joey Votto.
While the Reds are tenth in the league in pitching, they are in the bottom third of the majors in Batting Average, On Base Percentage and Slugging. All of which makes Votto look more impressive. He has no protection in the lineup but continues to pile up great numbers. Votto went two for four last night against the Indians with two homers and four RBI. He raised his batting average to .371 to which he already had an OPS of 1.054 going into the game. He is on pace to walk over 80 times. He walked 59 times last year so his .470 OBP doesn't look like much of a fluke.
Even his splits look really good. Votto's stats away from home are even higher than his home stats. A left-handed batter, he is holding his own against left-handed pitchers and is batting .325 against them. His stats are monstrous during day games and only superb in night games.
Votto came in second in rookie of the year voting last year. He put up decent numbers with a line of, .297/.368/.506. Those numbers were right in line with his career in the minors where his OPS was consistently in the .850 range. However, his last year in the minors, 2007, showed a big push upward and he continued that trend with a big start in his late season call up that same year. Last year saw him come in at his minor league standard. But that standard is very good and he had a 124 OPS+ last year.
Votto is now 26 and improving and though it might be prudent to believe he will end up in the same .870 OPS range of last year after all is said and done, his growth seems to be real and he could be a new star in this league. He needs some help in the Reds' lineup which doesn't seem forthcoming, but look to Votto to continue to be a breakout new star.