We often hear baseball pundits talk about the value of hitters being surrounded by other feared hitters in the lineup. It’s easy to see the impact of not having protection behind hitters in the lineup. We learned the importance of that nearly a decade ago watching Barry Bonds walk 232 times in 2004, with 120 of those intentional.
But what about the table-setters hitting in front of the big guns? A clear example is happening right before our eyes in Cincinnati.
Shortstop Zack Cozart is hitting.196 batting leadoff and .354 batting No. 2. Similarly, when center fielder Drew Stubbs bats leadoff, he’s a paltry .107. But put him second in the order and his average jumps to .373. Stubbs also struggles in the seventh spot at .182.
That is what you call the Joey Votto Effect. Votto is the Reds’ No. 3 hitter, and this helps explain why Cincinnati has committed more than $200 million to their first baseman.