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Who is Luke Voit’s best comp in baseball?

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The Yankees first baseman looks like a few different superstars at the plate.

New York Yankees v Oakland Athletics Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Who here knew about Luke Voit before the season started? I watch a lot of baseball, not just the Yankees, and I had never heard of him ahead of this summer. Now he’s a household name in New York, and for good reason. He’s been nothing short of a revelation for the Bombers, transforming into one of the league’s best hitters, for a brief period of time, in the process.

The Yankees acquired Voit from the St. Louis Cardinals on July 28th. He didn’t figure into the teams’ plans right away, and no one expected him to. The cost to obtain Voit was literally Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos! Sure, relief arms have value, but a package of that nature doesn’t typically fetch an impact player. If he panned out as a part-time contributor and socked a big homer down the stretch, fantastic. The trade was worth it.

Instead, Voit has anchored the Yankees’ lineup at a time when it has run inconsistent. Following Wednesday night’s game, the 27-year-old owns a .297/.366/.622 batting line with a 165 wRC+. That, however, accounts for his eight games with the Cardinals. His recent stretch in pinstripes is somehow even more impressive. Voit has a .317/.377/.651 triple-slash with the Bombers, complete with seven home runs. He boasts a ridiculous 176 wRC+, in a small sample size, of course.

As good as the results are, they only tell one part of the story. There exists plenty of data that allows for the construction of a robust batter profile. These underlying numbers not only paint a more complete picture, but they also lend themselves to useful comparisons.

This then begs the question: Who are Voit’s best comps in baseball right now? Obviously he’s playing above all projections at this moment, but let’s just roll with it. What other players have similar tendencies at the plate? Establishing comparable batters could help reinforce how impressive his play has been of late.

To start, I turned to Statcast and looked up Voit’s average exit velocity and launch angle. He owns marks of 91.9 mph and 15.4 degrees, respectively. Controlling for players with a minimum of 40 plate appearances, I selected anyone who had an average exit velocity between 91.1 mph and 93.1 mph. That produced a list of 32 batters, too large to make meaningful comparisons. I then applied another filter, this time only the batters with an average launch angle between 13 degrees and 17 degrees.

This resulted in a far more manageable list of four potential comps, and it features some name brands.

Luke Voit Statcast Comps

Player Avg. Exit Velo Avg. Launch Angle
Player Avg. Exit Velo Avg. Launch Angle
Luke Voit 91.9 mph 15.4
Matt Chapman 93.3 mph 15.2
Manny Machado 92.2 mph 15
Teoscar Hernandez 91.7 mph 16.6
Eugenio Suarez 91.1 mph 14.6

Manny Machado and Matt Chapman are bonafide superstars, with Eugenio Suarez not far behind. Teoscar Hernandez, meanwhile, represents a useful, legitimate big league bat. Of these four batters, however, who makes the closest comp? To figure that out, I added a number of batted ball (pull tendencies and groundball percentage) and plate discipline categories (Z-swing percentage minus O-swing percentage).

Luke Voit Batting Comps

Player Avg. Exit Velo Avg. Launch Angle Pull% GB% Z-Swing% - O-Swing%
Player Avg. Exit Velo Avg. Launch Angle Pull% GB% Z-Swing% - O-Swing%
Luke Voit 91.9 mph 15.4 40% 35.3% 47.2
Matt Chapman 93 mph 15 41.1% 39.2% 40.1
Manny Machado 92.2 mph 15 37.7% 37.9% 41.6
Teoscar Hernandez 91.7 mph 16.6 37.3% 37% 36.1
Eugenio Suarez 91.1 mph 14.6 42.5% 37.5% 44.3

Taking all of this together, Suarez makes for the best comp. That’s incredible for a number of reasons. First, Suarez is incredibly underrated. He doesn’t get nearly the attention he deserves. His bat is legit, as he’s hit .291/.374/.551 with 31 home runs this season. The pop has always been there, but now he’s rounded the other areas of his hitting into form. His 144 wRC+ is a testament to how good he is. That the Yankees were able to temporarily infuse their lineup with a Suarez-esque bat is remarkable.

The Reds weighed making some moves at the deadline, but they ultimately held on to their chips. There was no indication that Suarez was even available. The Reds extended him for seven years and $66 million in spring training, after all. If they didn’t move Matt Harvey, there was no chance a star like Suarez could have been had.

The runner-up, however, is also interesting. This comp also provides better context considering he was actually traded at the deadline.

MLB.com

Machado, 26, took a .302/.376/.547 batting line with 33 home runs into Wednesday night. He has a 145 wRC+, a career-best for the slugger. That’s the kind of batter Voit turned into over the last few games. If anything, the Yankees first baseman has been a touch better.

This is especially amusing when one considers how the Yankees were connected to Machado at the trade deadline. Multiple reports indicated that the Yankees had interest, and a legitimate chance to acquire the star. It was rumored that if the Bombers included Justus Sheffield, Machado would be playing in the Bronx. Instead, the team got the same level of production for a fraction of the cost.

Was this some 28-dimensional chess from Brian Cashman? Probably not, but I’ve learned to not put anything past him.

BASEBALL OPERATIONS STAFFER: Sir, Dan Duquette is on the line. He says Machado is yours if you move Sheffield.

CASHMAN: No, no, not Machdo. I want Luke Voit!

BASEBALL OPERATIONS STAFFER: Sir, I’m afraid you’ve gone mad with power.

CASHMAN: Of course. Ever try going mad without power? It’s boring. No one listens to you.

Okay, so that last part was from The Simpsons Movie. It drives home the point, though. No one expected Voit to be this good. In fact, he’s probably not actually this good. Players of Machado’s caliber are extremely rare. Still, Voit has given the Yankees a huge shot in the arm, and you can’t undo that. What a nifty little trade this turned out to be.

Regular readers of Pinstripe Alley will know that I lobbied hard for the Yankees to swing a Machado trade. In a circuitous way, they did, and for pennies on the dollar. At the very least, they added a Suarez or Machado type of production into the lineup for a little while, and that’s good enough for me.