CINCINNATI -- Following a down year filled with injuries and struggles, Reds first baseman Joey Votto reclaimed his place among the best hitters in baseball. His success in 2015 was recognized as Votto was one of three finalists announced Tuesday for the Baseball Writers' Association of America National League Most Valuable Player Award.
Votto, 32, led the Majors with 143 walks, while setting a new franchise record. He also set new team records by reaching safely 319 times, and reaching safely at least twice in a game 107 times. He also tied Pete Rose's 1978 club mark by reaching safely in 48 consecutive games.
With a 7.4 wins-above-replacement (WAR), Votto ranked fifth in the Majors, and his 172 weighted-runs-created-plus (wRC+) was tied for second in baseball with Mike Trout -- both were behind Harper.
Votto was the 2010 NL MVP but saw his production dip after a left-knee injury that required two arthroscopic surgeries in 2012. He played all 162 games in 2013 but was hampered in 2014 by left knee and quadriceps injuries, which limited him to 62 games and a .255 average with six homers.
The injury issues quickly were forgotten as Votto began the 2015 season healthy. But his production went into another gear after the All-Star break.
In the second half, Votto led the Majors in hitting (.362) and on-base percentage (.535) and had a .617 slugging percentage. The only players to produce those numbers in a half of a season were Ted Williams in the second half of the 1941 season and Barry Bonds in the first half of 2004.
Harper batted .330/.460/.649 in 153 games with 42 homers, 99 RBIs and 9.9 WAR. Goldschmidt batted .321/.435/.570 with 33 homers, 110 RBIs and 8.8 WAR in 158 games.