Joey Votto is in MVP form

His RBIs are down, but the ultra-patient Votto has become a better hitter

Updated: April 25, 2013, 8:19 PM ET
By Zachary Levine | Baseball Prospectus

Joey VottoFrank Victores/US PresswireDespite his low power numbers, Joey Votto is producing at the plate this season for Cincinnati.

Something is amiss with Joey Votto.

Sure, he's getting his walks, but as the big bat in the Reds' lineup who's paid to drive in runs, he's struggling. He has just eight RBIs -- fewer than Yuniesky Betancourt, Brett Gardner, Marlon Byrd and notoriously light-hitting teammate Zack Cozart. Clearly, with the overly passive Votto, there's trouble in River City.

That's one way to look at the first 22 games for the best player on the National League Central division favorites. Maybe that's how we would have evaluated him in 1980.

The other -- and frankly preferred -- way to look at Votto's April is that he's been better than his MVP season of 2010.

That was the last year he swung at more pitches than the average hitter, and it's been downhill -- in a good way -- ever since (see chart).

Zachary Levine

Baseball Prospectus