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This is the third post I’ve done on what I’m expecting for Votto in 2009, the last was in the Pedroia fantasy keeper post. Can you tell I’m excited about Votto for 2009? Right now, I see him listed anywhere from 13th to 18th on preseason rankings lists for 1st basemen. Keeping company with some luminaries as Cantu, Loney, Pena and Conor Jackson. He’s been placed decidedly after some schmohawks such as Aubrey Huff, Atkins and Derrek Lee.  This is the same Votto that hit over .340 in the last two months when he slugged 9 of his 24 home runs. If Jay Bruce had put up these numbers, we would’ve already carved a commemorative statue out of the Hope Diamond and cloaked it in panda fur. What does Votto have to do to earn your respect? Have to go 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu? Okay, so what can we expect from Votto for 2009 and why is he a fantasy sleeper?

Last year Votto’s numbers were 69/24/84/.297/7.  As mentioned above, his last two months were incredible, but let me temper expectations a tad. His BABIP in August was a bit silly, over .400.  His homer rate in September was Bondsteroidian.  Now let’s get loosey-goosey with projections. You might think the seven steals are fluky, something that just happened to come about because he was sent during a hit and run and Dunn (or Bruce) struckout. Nope. He had 24 steals in Double-A. He’s not stealing 24 in 2009, but he can take 15. Then add in a few more home runs as his power continues to develop and we’re looking at a player in 2009 that could go 85/28/100/.300/12.  Um, for a 1st baseman that’s being drafted with Cantu, Jackson and Loney, that’s a fantasy sleeper.

  1. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    He’s being drafted in the 8th-9th round in the mock drafts I’ve done. Seems about right. Interesting that your numbers for him aren’t that far off from what Adrian Gonzalez could do, plus the bonus of steals. Chris Davis has been drafted anywhere from 10th round to the 12th round in mock’s I’ve done.

    Here’s a question… Who would be the bigger steal: Votto at 108 or Chris Davis at 144? This will be a big dilema for me on draft day.

  2. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @IowaCubs: Votto has a bit less upside and risk. I’d go for Votto, but wouldn’t be adverse to having them both if you can get Davis at a steal later.

  3. Jeff says:
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    Couldn’t agree more about Blotto Votto. Big-time sleeper this year.

    The biggest reason he gives me a hard-on in 2009? A respectable HR/FB of 18.5 to go with an unsustainably low 30.7 FB rate. If he brings down his groundball rate (44.1 — ouch) and raises his FB rate, he could be looking at a monster year in ’09. And oh, btw, Bill James would appear to agree with me based on his projection.

  4. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Jeff: You, me and Bill James should get a room.

  5. It’s kind of interesting that you mention his last two months because that is when Adam Dunn left the Reds. Can we get a little research confirming that this wasn’t just mere coincidence?

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Schruender: It isn’t really that interesting that I mention his last two months, cause that’s when he started hitting the cover off the ball. If he hit the ball well in April and June, then I wouldn’t mentioned those two months. As mentioned above, his homer rate in September and his BABIP in August were kinda silly, so these two months may not be complete harbingers. But his minor and major league track record show us that he’s going to not only hit well for average, but decent power (which may be boosted by his home park). I don’t think batting two places behind Dunn’s strikeouts made much of a difference. Maybe it helped moving up to the three hole after Dunn left from a confidence boost standpoint, but I don’t think Brandon Phillips and later Encarnacion added much protection.

  7. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Schruender: BTW, I like the 158 idea. It’s clever.

  8. Bill says:
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    Someone is seeing Davis at 144? The few I’ve been in he’s gone MUCH earlier, I have not drafted him and it’s not been an autopick at MDC.

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