Appreciating Joey Votto's Historic Second Half
Entering this season, Joey Votto was coming off a 2014 campaign where he appeared in just 62 games and had somewhat of a “down” year for a player of his caliber.
In 2014, Votto registered a nERD of 1.92, his lowest since his rookie year. The nERD measurement shows how many runs a batter would contribute compared to a league-average game of 27 plate appearances.
Even in his down year, Votto slashed .255/.390/.409, and recorded the lowest OPS+ of his career at 125, which says a lot about how great of a hitter Votto truly is.
In 85 games during the first half of the 2015 season, Votto hit .277/.392/.484 with 15 home runs, 15 doubles, and a 147 OPS+, which is more on par with his career average .311/.422/.537 slash line.
But Votto didn’t settle with his solid numbers from the first half; he has proceeded to put up one of the best second halves in Major League Baseball history.
In just more than 200 plate appearances, Votto has hit .399/.576/.748, good for an OPS+ of 260. To put that into perspective, only three players have ever recorded a higher OPS+ in the second half than Votto: Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Barry Bonds.
Votto has benefited from a .464 batting average on balls in play (BABIP) in the second half, which is clearly unsustainable (the league average tends to over around .300), so it is likely that he comes back down to earth soon. Nonetheless, his historic second half performance with just 30 games to play should be appreciated.
For the season, Votto has a career-high OPS+ of 179 and has hit .316/.457/.567 while launching 27 home runs and 29 doubles. He also ranks third in the league in wOBA at .436, fourth in WAR at 6.5, and trails only Bryce Harper with a nERD of 5.15.
Joey Votto has had quite an incredible season and capped off his performance with some historic second half numbers. He becomes one of only two first basemen since 2000 to post a nERD of at least 5.15, the other being Albert Pujols in 2003, at 5.28.