Joey Votto was a little slow to heat up in 2016, but once he did, he was the hottest star in the baseball universe. After batting .229 and .200 in April and May, respectively, Votto went on to post these marks in the subsequent four months: .319, .413, .394, .395. He easily led all qualifying hitters in average (.408), on-base percentage (.490) and slugging (.668) during the second half of the season, walking 15 more times than he struck out after the All-Star break while adding 15 homers. Now that he's two full seasons removed from the quad issues that led to the only down year of his career, Votto is firmly back among the safest options in fantasy baseball. His success isn't lineup-dependent either, as evidenced by his stellar counting stats in 2016 despite a lackluster supporting cast. There will be younger, sexier options in the first two rounds of drafts, but few can provide the peace of mind that Votto does.
Votto is expected to bat third according to manager Bryan Price, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. The batting average and OBP dynamo was made for the three-hole, and he hit 29 home runs in each of his past two seasons. Votto deserves fantasy consideration in the first round of OBP leagues.
Votto went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer in Friday's 7-3 loss to the Cubs. The veteran first baseman made things a bit more interesting in the ninth with a 417-foot shot that plated Hernan Iribarren that cut the Reds' deficit to four. Votto has now hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games, with five multi-hit efforts over that span. He's also been flashing plenty of pop, with Friday's round-tripper his fourth over the last seven contests.
Votto (face) is in the lineup Friday against the Cubs, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. Votto was hit in the face by an errant throw from the outfield in Thursday's contest and left the game as a result, but it would he appear he avoided serious damage as he's back in the lineup Friday. He'll handle first base and bat third against righty Jake Buchanan.
Votto was forced to leave Thursday's game against the Cardinals in the eighth inning after getting hit in the face by a throw from left field, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. Votto had blooped a double, but was hit in the chin by an errant throw as he reached second base. The severity of the injury is unknown, but he did have a considerable amount of blood. The veteran was 3-for-4 before exiting the game.
Votto hit a two-run homer in a 3-for-5 game Tuesday against the Cardinals. Votto has homered in consecutive games and is on fire in September. He now has six blasts this month to go with six doubles and 14 RBI. He's hitting a brilliant .385/.472/.659 in 24 September games and is once again looking like one of the best all-around hitters in baseball.