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Yankees mailbag: Anthony Rendon trade scenario, Luke Voit’s slump, and Joseph Harvey’s future

The answers to your mailbag questions are in!

Ask Pinstripe Alley

The Miguel Andujar surgery decision took priority on the site this week, so we will have an abbreviated mailbag today. I’m giving three questions a try. If I didn’t get to yours, don’t feel discouraged. Another editor could get to it later this weekend!

JordanB28 asks: Any chance the Yankees make a run at Anthony Rendon should he hit the market?

The Yankees seem to have a ready-made replacement for Andujar in Gio Urshela. There are even signs that changes he made at the plate are sustainable, as explained by Mike Petriello. Now should Urshela’s bat come crashing down, the Bombers might look for a rental third baseman. The Nationals, meanwhile, could sell at the deadline and have a star at the hot corner set to hit free agency.

Rendon, 28, is hitting .327/.407/.636 with six home runs this season. His 172 wRC+ makes him a top-10 bat in all of baseball with a minimum of 100 plate appearances. He also has upper-echelon peripherals.

Credit: Baseball Savant

While this level of play stands out, it’s not necessarily a fluke performance. Rendon has a track record of success. From 2017-2018, he owned a .305/.389/.534 batting line with 49 home runs and a 140 wRC+. Combine that with quality defense and one has a legitimate star.

If he hits the market, one would imagine the Yankees to at least check in. The team reportedly tried to swing a trade for Manny Machado last year, and that deal leads one to believe Rendon’s price tag wouldn’t be back-breaking. The market says a back-end top-100 prospect, two top-30 organizational prospects, and a throw-in or two. Washington represents a team to keep an eye on this summer.

Larry asks: Luke Voit looks to be wearing down. Shouldn’t the Yankees bring back Mike Ford to face some right-handed pitchers and give Voit a rest? Ford did not look bad in his short stint with the club.

Voit had a strong game in the second half of Wednesday’s doubleheader, but he had been caught in a noticeable slump. Including that three-hit game against the Orioles, the first baseman has managed a 136/.310/.182 (39 wRC+) line since May 7.

Interestingly enough, right-handed pitchers haven’t given Voit much of a problem this season. Consider his split breakdowns:

Against right-handed pitching: .244/.376/.480, 9 HR, 130 wRC+
Against left-handed pitching: .231/.300/.423, 1 HR, 89 wRC+

In that case, calling up Ford as a platoon bat wouldn’t help. The 26-year-old had an all right showing in pinstripes. He even talked about the experience on Pinstripe Alley’s A Call Away podcast. It just doesn’t make much sense to have him fill in on a healthy roster.

Voit has played in 41 of the team’s 42 games. He most likely just needs a day or two for a breather more than anything. Hopefully the rainouts and built-in days off work the trick.

geneospumoni asks: Can Joe Harvey be made into a starter at Scranton? I read about Harvey’s spin rate being up there with Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander. Harvey’s spin rate is even better than Aroldis Chapman. Harvey has the stuff of an ace starter type in the Ron Guidry fashion, as he doesn’t have all that wear and tear mileage on his arm. How can Harvey become a starter if he’s going to face an innings limit?

Freeni wrote about Joseph Harvey’s spin rate last week. In terms of the average spin rate on a four-seam fastball, Harvey has great stuff. His 2516 rpm ranks him 24th out of 451 pitchers who have thrown at least 50 pitches this season.

That said, one pitch with good peripherals doesn’t make him a starting pitching candidate. His arsenal includes a slider and a changeup, but they’re not the most effective offerings. The changeup represents more of a show-me pitch than anything. That repertoire doesn’t scream starter. Then one also has to factor in mechanics, repeatability, and endurance when considering starting pitchers. A lot more variables go into that than a single pitch’s spin rate.

When the Yankees drafted Harvey out the 19th round back in 2014, he had been a starter at the University of Pittsburgh for just one season. From 2014-2016, the right-hander made only six starts in the minor leagues. He hasn’t started a game since. That ship has sailed.

Harvey could play a useful role out of the bullpen. The Yankees have a long track record of turning late-round draft picks into major-league relief arms. The fact he made it to the big leagues should be a victory in and of itself. Expecting him to turn into Guidry is an unfair projection.