Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Our Heroes Are Getting More Human
This observation may seem very on-the-nose to a lot of people, but...here I go anyway.
2019 has marked a turning point in many landmark careers. I think of people like Joey Votto, Buster Posey, Robinson Cano, Matt Kemp...hell, even Corey Kluber with this. All people who've had legendary seasons, who've gotten accolades and have been seen as team heroes.
All of them in 2019, for the first time in many of their careers, seemed tangibly human. In a way they hadn't really been seen before.
I think the outlier in this is Matt Kemp, because he's probably done, and I don't know if any teams are gonna take a chance on him in 2020 (so much for his inclusion in the Topps 2020 insert set from 10 years ago). And also, you can say Kluber is an outlier because he's injured, but even before the injury he was giving some of his most human numbers, with a 5.80 ERA in 7 starts, which is a far cry from his previous career low of 5.12 in 12 games in 2012.
Kluber's the only one of these guys where you can feasibly think 'yeah, well maybe he'll be back next year and get back to high-caliber stuff.
Cano and Posey might, in fact, be resting on mythology. Cano definitely. Posey could be back with a killer season in 2020, but...I'm losing hope. He's been very, very okay in the last two years, and I don't know how many MVP-caliber seasons he has left.
Votto...is a little different. Votto may be done with his overwhelmingly powerful years, as he's 36 years old. His .269 average is his lowest in a season of 130 or more games, as are his 47 RBIs. His 1.9 WAR is also his lowest since his injury-shortened year in 2014. This is a very human year for Votto, and it's a very age-35 year for him as well.
But...even if this is human for him, it's not a bad year. He still had 15 home runs, 137 hits, solid, if minimized, batting and fielding figures. He's not weighing down the team, and he's not exactly at Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols or Felix Hernandez of non-presence, but this is definitely a step back from his usual dominance.
I don't know if this is the new normal for Votto. I certainly hope not, as hopefully the offseason will rejuvenate him, and he'll come back in full force for a powerful 2020 season. He's already a Reds Hall of Famer, and possibly a Baseball Hall of Famer as well, but...I don't think he's done being a league talent. Not yet.
Coming Tomorrow- Sometimes, you just need a jolt of power. Even if it's way late in the season, you've blown it, and you've got nothing left. This rookie was that jolt for the Mariners.