Sarris: The thing Joey Votto isn’t good at

From SABR member Eno Sarris at FanGraphs on March 8, 2017:

It might be surprising, but there’s one thing Joey Votto isn’t good at. Well, to be more precise, there’s one thing that Joey Votto doesn’t think he’s good at. He’s done a lot of work, and it looks like he’s good at it. When it comes to defense, though, he credits the work and not any natural ability. And then last year happened, so maybe he’s not so good at it, after all.


That’s Votto’s rolling UZR per 150 games since 2008. UZR requires a large sample to become reliable, so any single year of data needs to be regressed heavily. But there appears to be a trend here. In any case, I’m apparently not the first to notice a downturn in Votto’s defensive ability last year, nor to mention it to him. “It’s hard to ignore when people ask you on a consistent basis about it,” he grimaced when I asked.

That’s alright, he knows it’s a problem. “I’ve always tried to be as good a defender as I can be,” he pointed out, before admitting that last year was a down year. “I felt like last year I was just not as prepared, not as disciplined — as immersed — as I should have been with something that, in my opinion, I view as probably one of the weaker aspects of my game.”

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Originally published: March 8, 2017. Last Updated: March 8, 2017.