Votto redefining 'power hitter'

Joey Votto is a line-drive machine who rarely hits high fly balls. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

On Sept. 21, 2012, something strange happened. The Cincinnati Reds were down 1-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the bottom of the fourth inning and Joe Blanton was pitching to Joey Votto. With two balls and no strikes, Blanton threw a two-seam fastball that started in on the hands of Votto and tailed back toward the inside corner and at the knees. Votto swung and hit a popup that Luis Cruz caught in foul territory, even with the third-base bag. After Votto made contact, he unconsciously lifted his bat level with his eyes. It was like he couldn't believe what just happened.

Whether or not Votto had the reaction I am projecting on him, he certainly had the right to do it. That popup was the only infield fly ball Votto hit last season, and he has not hit one since. That is really incredible. Votto had 37 home runs in 2010. Power hitters hit the ball in the air. It is inevitable they will get under one every now and then. But Votto no longer does.