With powerful names potentially headlining the upcoming Home Run Derby, the Cincinnati Reds’ Joey Votto believes he stands a chance against baseball’s dominant sluggers.
What he lacks in a homer-hitting reputation, Joey Votto makes up for in his power-hitting confidence. Despite averaging just 22 home runs per season in his 11 years in the major leagues, Votto believes he stands a chance against Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and others who could take part in this year’s Home Run Derby, comparing himself to the renowned Ichiro Suzuki.
“Just think of me as the Canadian Ichiro,” Votto said, per cincinnati.com. “Yes, I could pull homers into the seats at will.”
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Although Votto’s numbers do not necessarily support this outlandish claim, he is hitting homers at the fastest rate of his career. With 20 home runs this season, which is good for second in the National League, Votto is hitting a home run every 15.65 plate appearances.
At this rate, Votto is bound to break his career-high mark of 37 homers, which he set in 2010 on his way to winning the MVP. Incidentally, he initially agreed to participate in the Derby that year but pulled out just before the competition. He has not been asked since.
Reds outfielder Scott Schebler also owns 20 home runs on the season and has little doubt in Votto’s power-hitting potential.
“I don’t know how he’d do, but I think he’d be great,” Schebler said (per cincinnati.com). “You just watch him as a hitter and he’d figure it out, not a big deal. He doesn’t show off in BP, so it’s hard to imagine. But I think he’d be just fine. Goodness gracious a hitter like him, it doesn’t take him long to figure stuff out. I think he’d be just fine.”
Yet, despite his desire to compete in the Derby, Votto’s acceptance could be contingent on whether he makes the All-Star team. Currently, the hot-hitting Ryan Zimmerman leads in votes for first base. However, there is still a chance Votto can make the All-Star team as a reserve.