The Cincinnati Reds are showing signs of improvement in 2019. Even with the progression, the offense has been lacking. Starting pitching has been what has the Reds just six games under .500. This time last year, the Reds were 16 games under .500 and showing no signs of improvement like this season. So the arms are doing their jobs, but the bats haven’t been as impressive. With the team struggling offensively, certain players have been called out. The biggest call out right now has been on Joey Votto. Many fans have taken to social media stating that they feel the six-time all-star should be benched. If that actually happened, it would be the worst move David Bell will make this season.
Votto has been under fire with his slow start to the 2019 MLB season. His .210 batting average has fans moaning and groaning asking for a change at first base. Besides Yasiel Puig (another slow starter), Votto has the second-worst average among players that start on a regular basis. However, he still ranks fourth on the team among those players with a .324 on-base percentage. That’s another thing to look at as he currently ranks third on the team with 16 runs. So to put it in perspective, he’s getting on base and scoring runs. Yeah, benching him makes a whole lot of sense. Not!
This isn’t the first time that Joey Votto has struggled at the beginning of the season. In 2016, he was only hitting .218 after 38 games and actually dropped down to .203 before making his surge. He finished the season hitting .326 and leading the National League with a .434 OBP. Imagine what could have happened if he was benched when he was struggling. His numbers would have been nowhere near what they were and it could have ruined him for the following seasons. Let’s also not forget that Votto finished seventh in NL MVP voting that year.
The best thing that the Reds can do is keep playing Votto as planned. Look, we’re talking about Joey Votto here. He’s still batting .309 on his career and still a really good hitter. He’s a gamer and he’ll right the ship because he always does. Even with his age, Joey is still a very good hitter that will draw walks and start getting balls to fall in the gaps. Lack of production frustrates Votto more than it does the fans. Once he gets everything sorted out, the hits will come. It’s not a question of if it will happen, but the question is when it will happen.
I don’t care if Votto didn’t even have one hit yet this season. You don’t bench him. Let him walk up to the plate and take his reps. That’s the best way to get him back on track. You don’t bench really good player just because they aren’t producing after 38 games. That makes no sense at all. Reds fans just need to be patient with him. His bat will come around. Besides the occasional day off, keep Votto in the lineup, let him get his reps, and then watch his bat start to warm up. Because it is going to heat up eventually and once it does, we’ll forget all about his slow start.