Our 2011 fantasy baseball projections will be released one by one until the top 100 players have been revealed. These rankings consider past achievements, current performance and expected future results based on standard 5×5 H2H settings.

Joey Votto did work on NL pitching in 2010, setting career highs across the board with 106 runs, 37 HRs, 113 RBI, 16 steals and a whopping .324 batting average.

In fact, Votto’s 2010 campaign was the first 35/100/100/15/.320 season among first basemen not named Albert Pujols since Derrek Lee posted a 45/120/107/15/.335 line in 2005.

So why do we have the 27-year-old left-handed slugger ranked four spots below his Mock Draft Central ADP?

First, Votto led the league in 2010 with a HR/FB rate of 25.0 percent. No other player posted a mark better than 21.7 percent. In the post-steroids era, it’s unlikely that anyone not named Ryan Howard can sustain such a high HR/FB rate in consecutive seasons. This isn’t to say Votto doesn’t have light-tower power. Rather, a rate in the range of his career mark of 19.9 percent is more likely in 2011.

Second, it’s worth noting that Votto posted a ridiculous 40.1 runs above average against fastballs last season, second best in the majors. Only five players have posted a higher mark in the last three years.

While Scott Rolen and Jay Bruce, Votto’s protection, are no slouches, both are much easier to pitch to than Votto, meaning he’ll likely see fewer fastballs in 2011. Of course this will lead to more free passes and fewer RBI opportunities for Votto, preventing him from improving on his 2010 total of 113.

While there’s no doubting Votto’s pure talent, his 2010 campaign fits into the same category as Carlos Gonzalez’s: unrepeatable. Expect a slight regression from Votto this season, though we still project him as the fourth-best first baseman in 2011.

2010 stats 648 106 37 113 16 .324
Three-year average 594 86 29 94 9 .314
2011 FBI Forecast 650 100 34 105 10 .310



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