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2011 Fantasy Baseball Preview: Joey Votto

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto celebrates after defeating the Houston Astros in their MLB National League baseball game in Cincinnati, Ohio September 28, 2010.  REUTERS/Matt Sullivan  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

On Monday, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto claimed the 2010 NL MVP with in a near unanimous decision, grabbing 31 of 32 first place votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Votto showed a lot of promise in previous seasons, but had a bit of let down in 2009, missing 31 games following the passing of his father in late 2008. He made up for the ’09 letdown in 2010 with an outstanding season, hitting .324 with 37 home runs, 113 RBI, 116 runs scored and 16 steals in 150 games.

Those Pujols-ian numbers allowed Votto to outlast the reigning no. 1 player in fantasy baseball, who was the only other player to receive a first place NL MVP vote. Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and Rox shortstop Troy Tulowitzki rounded out the top five voting.

Votto was on the radar of many fantasy baseball experts coming into the season, but his back to back seasons of consistent 20+ homer, 100+ RBI production put him in a position where he wasn’t really a fantasy baseball sleeper in 2010. That said, he still needed the All-Star Final Vote to make the All-Star Game. If someone does tell you he was the sleeper of the year – they’re idiots.

However, if they were to tell you that Votto was the value pick of 2010 – they’d likely be right on the money!

With the MVP award and Votto entering his age 27 season (he turned 27 on September 10), there’s a lot of talk amongst fantasy baseball experts that he is a top three first base man and a first round pick in 2011. At the current time, we have Votto rated no. 3 on our 2011 fantasy baseball first base rankings behind Pujols and Miguel Cabrera.

However, would I take Votto in the first round? Personally, no. Second round or later? Absolutely.

If you think Votto’s a first rounder… make your case below. Otherwise, take our advice and draft him with your second pick.

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