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The underrated Joey Votto?

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Joey Votto

What with all the bandwidth devoted to Josh Hamilton, Matt Kemp, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, and others, is Cincinnati's Joey Votto being overlooked? Sure, it sounds strange to imply that a former MVP and recipient of a $263-million contract is somehow being given short shrift, but perhaps that's the case with Votto this season.

Consider a few things ... After Sunday's 3-for-4 performance against the Mets, Votto now boasts a slash line of .366/.489/.652. The first two figures -- batting average and OBP -- lead the majors, while the third figure -- SLG -- leads the National League. Votto's OPS-plus of 204 also leads the majors and, if it stands, will be, by a comfortable margin, the highest such mark since since Barry Bonds in 2004.

Votto also leads in the bigs in walks and doubles, and speaking of doubles he's already got 28 of them, which puts him on pace for 70 (!) this season. The current single-season record for two-baggers? It's 67, set by Earl Webb back in 1931. No one has reached 60 doubles in a season since 1936, when Joe Medwick and Charlie Gehringer tallied 64 and 60, respectively.

Yes, there's plenty of time for Votto to fall off that pace, but the Reds have played 65 games and Votto is an elite hitter in his prime. So his doubles count is absolutely something worth monitoring as the season goes on.

What's also worth monitoring is whether Votto remains what he is right now: the best hitter on the planet.

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