When the Yankees decided to part ways with Tyler Austin, they needed another backup option at first base. Enter Luke Voit. Acquired from the Cardinals for Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos, Voit hasn’t done anything except for mash the ball for the Yankees. He is batting .297/.366/.622 in 82 plate appearances so far. I’m not so sure Greg Bird’s time is up with the Yankees, but with each passing late inning dinger, it seems closer and closer to becoming a reality. The Yanks are playing the hot hand, and they should ride that as long as possible. Let’s see what has made Voit successful so far with the Yanks.
Voit is a large human being. That can be known just giving him a cursory glance. However, there is a difference between hitting Yankee Stadium cheapies and this:
Swatting a down and away changeup for an opposite field bomb is pretty ridiculous. It takes some serious raw power to do that. This isn’t a one dimensional slugger, who has only pull-power. Of his seven homers this season, five have either gone to either center or the opposite field. This is always good for right handed hitters who play a lot of games in Yankee Stadium. Here is his spray chart of hits this season:
Obviously the homers and timely walks are great, but as you can see above, Voit is also hitting the ball hard. His 92.2 mph average exit velocity ranks 25th among batters with 40 batted balls. His “barrels per plate appearance” ranks….FIRST. So among all hitters with 40 batted balls, Voit is barreling it up with the most frequency in baseball. Not bad for Shreve and Gallegos. Oh, and the Yankees got international bonus pool money in that deal as well. Brian Cashman is a ninja.
It’s hard to say whether this will last. It’s possible Voit will just be a flash in the pan. It’s also possible that he is the first baseman of the future. None of that really matters right now. What matters is that the Yankees have found lightning in a bottle at the moment, and they’d be silly to give up on that until they take advantage of every last drop.