1B JOEY VOTTO
The former MVP missed 51 games this season, but he remains a potent option for Cincinnati. The guy is always on base, as evidenced by his Barry Bonds-esque OBP of .474.
In 374 at-bats this year, Votta poked 14 homers, drove in 56 runs and scored 59 while batting a robust .337 – which would have led the NL had he had enough at-bats. Though the Reds fared well without him for a long stretch in 2012, they clearly are more dangerous with him in the lineup – which should bode well for their chances in the best-of-five Divisional Series with San Francisco.
The Reds have other solid options on offense, with 34-homer guy Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips and a rejuvenated Ryan Ludwig, who swatted 26 homers in just 422 at-bats. They also have Cy Young candidate Johny Cueto (19-9, 2.78 ERA) and 14-game winner Mat Latos giving Cincinnati a strong 1-2 starting pitching duo, not to mention flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman coming out of the bullpen.
But Votto is the one player who could drive the Reds deep into the playoffs – going off potential shown in regular-season play.
His one foray into the postseason was rather, um, uneventful. Following his 2010 MVP year, Votto batted just .100 in three games as the Reds got bounced by the Phillies in the first round. As if that isn’t enough to fire him up, the native Canadian has been shut down by Giants pitchers thus far in 2012, batting just .227 against them.
He gets his chance to even the score now, as well as improve on that postseason batting average.