Joey Votto will win the National League Comeback Player of the Year award in 2015. Confident, you say? Crazy? While there may be many who disagree, there is a strong argument to this point in the season to state at this moment Votto will win the award. While health will play a big part of that as the season continues to progress, if Votto can stay healthy and on the pace he is playing at this point in time, he wins the award hands down.
To say Joey Votto has not been the player he was since his MVP winning season of 2010 would be an accurate statement. He has left many Reds fans scratching their heads as to why the Reds signed him to a long-term contract nearing 30 years old. Many fans have questioned his approach of past years complaining that he walks too much. In 2013 Votto drew a league leading 135 walks and had a league leading .435 on-base percentage. In an interview with mlb.com’s Mark Sheldon back in February when Votto arrived to camp, Votto talked a bit about his critics. When asked about his hitting approach and what critics have said, Votto had this to say:
“I think that’s to be expected because I am the guy who has the big contract. There are times where it can be a bit of a nuisance because I have to answer a question. Most of it is noise. I think that I’ve proven, when healthy, that I’m a helpful part of the team. I do my part.”
Last season was certainly a disappointment for Votto as he played in only 62 games and missed the other 100 games with a knee injury. In those 62 games, Votto hit a lackluster .255/.390/.409. He hit only six home runs and drove in 23 runs. Naturally, only playing in 62 games and struggling in those 62 games as Votto did, there were many questions surrounding the health and productivity of Joey Votto heading into 2015.
Fast forward to this season and Votto has certainly proved his critics wrong and proven that he’s healthy to this point of the season. To this point in 2015 Votto has hit .311/.413/.573 with an OPS of .986. He’s already surpassed last season’s home run total with seven so far this season while knocking in 18 runs.
If Votto continues at this pace the rest of the year, he will hands down win the National League Comeback Player of the Year. To this point, he is deserving of the award, and come the end of the season the award will be handed to Joey Votto.