In March, the big question was whether Luke Voit’s 2018 was for real. He’d mashed the ball at such an insane rate; the team hadn’t seen anything like it since Babe Ruth and Roger Maris. According to the YES Network, Voit joined Ruth and Maris as the third Yankee in history to have at least 11 home runs, 33 hits, and 23 runs in their first 33 games.
A great start to 2019, capped off by a mammoth bomb that reached the moon in Kansas City, began putting the debate on whether Voit was for real to rest. Even with Judge and Stanton out, the Yankees managed to go 51 – 27, and that was due in part to Voit. Unfortunately Voit’s injury in London set him back in a big way.
Luke Voit absolutely CRUSHES one to give the Yankees back the lead 5-3. pic.twitter.com/CYArrtKFf6
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) May 25, 2019
The difference in his production before and after was staggering. Before London, Luke Voit hit:
17 HR, 50 RBI, .280 AVG, .901 OPS
After, he hit:
4 HR, 12 RBI, .228 AVG, .715 OPS
LUKE IS MY FIRST BASEMAN
The difference between this season and last season is that first base will most likely be Luke Voit’s going into 2020. Other than maybe some Mike Ford chatter, Greg Bird won’t be at Spring Training to stir everyone into a frenzy on who deserves first and who should be sent down to the RailRiders.
If there’s going to be any debate going on with Voit, it won’t be trying to figure out what the Yankees will do with him. Any debate will come from a growing contingent of fans thinking first base is a hole because of that slow finish Voit had. To that, I say chill. I think we all need to have faith in Voit because he has shown that when he’s healthy, he can go on a roll.
This is why I think there needs to be a refresher course on just how great Luke Voit was during that stretch in 2018 and when he was healthy in 2019. Was he a defensive wizard? No, not at all. What he was, though, was an excellent ballplayer who ranked among the elites when he had a bat in his hand.
Here’s where he stood around the league between August 21st, 2018 in Miami, when first became his, to that game when he went down in London against Boston on June 29, 2019.
31 HR (7th)
81 RBI (10th)
.301 AVG (23rd)
.982 OPS (8th)
161 wRC+ (5th)
.381 wOBA (18th)
.361 BAPIP (11th)
DON’T GO RINGING BELLS WHEN YOU ALREADY HAVE A FORD
I’ve seen the Josh Bell and Brandon Belt rumors – with Bell’s rumors being more fan fantasy – but I don’t think it’s necessary to use financial resources and prospects on guys like that. Would Josh Bell be nice? Of course. I’d much rather see the Yankees use prospects to bring in a reliever or another starter than a first basemen. Just because you have the money to buy a boat doesn’t mean you should buy a boat. You just never know when you’ll need that boat money down the line. In the case of prospects, if a starter or a reliever goes down, prospects you used on a Josh Bell could go for someone like Kirby Yates or Brad Hand.
The Yankees also don’t need another first basemen. Mike Ford didn’t just fall off the face of the Earth. There were points when he went on a roll during the 2019 campaign. He picked up Voit the way Voit has picked up Judge in the past. Remember the bat flip that broke Athletics fans on Twitter?
Plus don’t sleep on Mike Ford. This winter, he has been using his Tinder dates as way to get his daily yoga in. (Kill two birds with one stone obviously.) Josh Bell isn’t bringing that to the table.
So uh….Mike Ford has been doing some things this offseason pic.twitter.com/b9X1HznUgJ
— Eric Hubbs (@BarstoolHubbs) December 12, 2019