After swatting a pair of two-run shots Friday night in Baltimore, Luke Voit has seen his season OPS climb to .854 in 16 games with a total of three homers in his short sample size of a season. Could this mark the beginning of an end to Greg Bird having an everyday role in pinstripes?
Now, if you think I’m just riding the hype of Luke Voit due to the fact that he just put up the best game of his MLB career, you’re probably right. However, it’s certainly hard to dismiss that in his eight games as a Yankee, the 27-year-old has slashed .304/.333/.565. Although over just 24 plate appearances, it shouldn’t just be glanced over.
On the other hand, Greg Bird is enduring a horrific 30-game slump. The 25-year-old has gone just 20-107 (.187) to go with three homers and with a putrid wRC+ of 55. Factor in the show that Luke Voit just put on in Baltimore and a compelling argument can be made on who should get more at-bats.
With that said, is it time to give Voit the majority of the playing time going forward? If Bird wasn’t a lefty, or maybe if he never took Andrew Miller deep this past postseason, this probably could be settled a little easier. But for now and likely the rest of the season, it’s a conversation that’ll come up.
— Yankees Baseball (@PinstripePride0) December 31, 2017
If you’re thinking that the rotation of at-bats between the two will rely strictly on lefty-righty matchups, it isn’t all that simple. With Voit being a right-handed hitter and Bird being the opposite, one could be forgiven for saying that they’ll platoon depending on that day’s starting pitcher. However, the stats show that Bird actually hits better against southpaws (.216 compared to .198), so that narrative really isn’t able to coexist with that statistic.
It’s no secret the Yankees are about as high on a player as a team could be on Greg Bird, but how long of a leash will they give him?
Through 551 career at-bats, Bird has slashed a mere .216/.305/.441, but he has totaled 31 homers and 94 RBI. So in terms of a power hitting 1st baseman, it has to be somewhat reasonable to believe he has the potential to be a successful everyday major league player. But whether or not that potential will be reached with the Yankees or another team is tough to tell.