After an absurd 2018 with the Yankees where he slashed .333/.405/.689 through 39 games, there were a lot of question marks about Luke Voit. He reported to camp without a sure starting spot, instead being forced into a good ol’ fashioned spring training battle with Greg Bird. The two exchanged blows, with Voit hitting .289/.365/.578 compared to Bird’s .333/.500/.643.
The Yankees insisted that they wouldn’t carry both first basemen, and that one would be sent to Scranton. In the end, injuries made the decision for them. Both started the season in the big leagues, and Bird quickly went down with an Achilles injury that would keep him out all year.
2019 Statistics: 118 games, 510 plate appearances, .263/.378/.464, 21 home runs, 62 RBI, 72 runs, 43 extra-base hits, 1.7 fWAR, 126 wRC+
2020 Contract Status: Pre-arbitration eligible
Voit entered 2019 looking to prove that he was the real deal. Of course, it was unrealistic to expect him to keep mashing baseballs at the rate that he did after the trade in 2018. He posted a 195 wRC+ over that six week period, after all. If he had turned into the best player in baseball, that would have been the trade of the century.
If you look at Voit’s overall numbers, it’s easy to feel a bit disappointed. They don’t tell the whole story, though. From the beginning of the season through June 29, Voit hit .280/.393/.509 with 17 home runs and 140 wRC+. Yankees fans would be happy with that any day of the week. Unfortunately, he could only dodge the injury bug for so long before it finally caught him. On June 29 he exited the first game of the London Series with abdominal tightness.
He was placed on the injured list for two weeks, and he just never got right after he returned. He missed another month between July and August, and debated whether to undergo season-ending sports hernia surgery. The Yankees decided to bring him back for the last few weeks of the season, but he looked awful. From July 13 through the end of the season, Voit slashed just .228/.348/.368 with four home runs and 95 wRC+. He was ultimately left off of the ALCS roster. On October 24, Voit had bilateral core surgery. The first baseman is expected to be healthy and ready to go by spring training.
Although it was a disappointing second-half of the season for Voit, how well he played when healthy is certainly promising. There’s every reason to believe that he’s a 140 wRC+ player. He may find himself in another spring training battle come February though, this time with Mike Ford.