Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 6/7/12
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Prior to his NL MVP season in 2010, there were many baseball fans who had never heard of Joey Votto. The Reds first baseman is one of the best hitters in the National League, and he’s off to a hot start once again this year even after signing a whopping 10-year, $225 million extension. In addition to a .315 career batting average, Votto’s career has also been highlighted by some insanely unique stats.

As Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci pointed out, Votto has played in 55 games this season and has yet to pop out to the infield. Over the past four seasons, he has popped out to the infield three times in well over 2,000 plate appearances. But that’s not all.

Perhaps even more baffling is the fact that Votto has pulled a foul ball into the stands only once during his major league career. Some players do this two or three times in an at-bat, but Votto has done it one time.

“Sure, I remember it,” he said. “It was my rookie year. It wasn’t that deep — and maybe 20, 30 feet foul. I haven’t hit a long home run foul in my whole career.”

Both stats are exceptional, and both are related to the fact that he rarely ever gets out in front of a pitch and always manages to stay back on the ball. Of the nine home runs he has hit this season, only one was pulled into the right field seats (Votto bats lefty). He is also batting .300 when he falls behind in the count, whereas the rest of the league is hitting .198 in that situation.

So what does it all mean? We’ve seen the shift for a number of great hitters like David Ortiz, Jason Giambi, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carlos Pena. At what point do teams throw the reverse shift at Votto? The guy has pulled one ball foul his entire career. What other reason do you need?

H/T SI Hot Clicks
Photo credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

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