After acquiring Anthony Rizzo, does slugging first baseman Luke Voit have something to prove to the Yankees?
Let’s take a look back to the July 30 MLB Trade Deadline. The New York Yankees, fresh off the heels of acquiring first-baseman Anthony Rizzo to help keep season hopes alive, were fielding calls from near and far about the availability of Luke Voit. Eventually, the Yankees decided to hold onto Voit past the 4 PM deadline, where the 2020 home run champ would remain a Bronx Bomber. Now, with Anthony Rizzo being placed on the COVID-19 Injured List, Luke Voit will get his shot to prove that he’s still a big member of this ballclub.
A big reason why Voit has something to prove is his injury-laden 2020. The first-baseman has only played in 31 games this year and has been on the IL in three different incidents. Obviously, this isn’t very encouraging in regards to proving that he can be relied on to take the field every day, and these injury stretches for Voit had been a bit surprising. Even though he missed 42 games in 2019, Voit played in almost every game in the shortened 2020 season, which was 56.
Besides that, however, it’s more than apparent that Voit has had plenty of trouble suiting up. Although injuries aren’t usually something you can control, it’s crucial for the righty slugger to stay on the diamond and not the IL.
Is Voit Underperforming?
Normally, when someone leads the majors in home runs the year prior with a .338 OBP, you most likely expect that to carry over into next year. That’s especially the case when said player has not only been a stalwart in your lineup the season prior, but all of 2019 and late 2018, it’s more than fair to anticipate that production to continue that has been there for the past 250 games or so.
Despite all this, however, Voit has failed to produce at his normal rate.This season, Voit’s hitting .239 with just a .321 OBP and a .705 OPS, Although he has mashed four home runs. It should go without saying that these numbers aren’t absolutely terrible, rather they’re just well below Voit’s average year stats. Although some people may find this concerning, I would like to be the voice of reason.
Going back to his injuries, Voit has had three separate IL stints this season. As you can imagine, that would likely be very difficult for a player to start playing, then stop because of an injury, and then ramp up again, just for the process to repeat. My point is, perhaps it’s unfair to judge Voit’s performance due to his injury troubles. If he were to stay healthy and eventually settle into a permanent routine, perhaps Voit’s production would increase.
It’s fair to say that maybe Luke Voit’s everyday job may be on the hot seat for this offseason. However, if the 2022 Home Run leader can stay on the field and increase his production during Rizzo’s absence, he can force the Yankees’ hand.