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Digging into Luke Voit’s approach with the Yankees

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Voit has succeeded for the Yankees with two different hitting styles this season.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees - Game Two Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Luke Voit burst onto the scene in late 2018 with a blazing stretch of offensive production that seemed impossible to replicate. While Voit hasn’t quite reached the elite-caliber highs of his 2018 breakout this season, he has been one of the best hitting first basemen in the American League. Along the way, he solidified his immediate MLB future with the Yankees as a middle-of-the-order slugger.

Voit’s ability to hit for both average and power in 2018 endeared him to the Yankees’ front office and fanbase. He slugged .671 with an isolated power figure of .350, all while hitting .322 with a .398 on-base percentage. It was truly the best of both worlds, the type of hitter that can only be cooked up in a baseball laboratory.

In 2019, Voit’s first full season in the big leagues, he has continued to show the ability to hit for both average and power, just not at the same time. From March through May, Voit slugged .505 and popped 14 home runs with an isolated power of .248. It was an All-Star worthy performance for Voit, who was one of the festival’s biggest snubs.

Voit, however, may have been selling out for power a little bit over that stretch. He only batted .257, and hit 36% of his batted balls in the air for fly balls. The launch angle revolution definitely got into Voit’s head—his average launch angle over that stretch was 13 degrees.

Since June, though, Voit has only hit five home runs, a period that could be perceived as a cold stretch. Interesting enough, Voit actually rates as more productive over June and July than he was from March through May, a fact that may surprise many Yankees fans. In kind, all of Voit’s stats besides his power numbers have improved since June:

A Tale of Two Voits

Category March-May June-July
Category March-May June-July
Games 55 36
Avg .257 .313
HR 14 5
OBP .371 .421
SLG .505 .485
OPS .876 .906
ISO .248 .172
wRC+ 131 145
wOBA .369 .390
BABIP .287 .474
BB% 13.1 15.1
K% 23.3 32.1

Since June, Voit’s average launch angle has dropped to nine degrees, which means he’s hitting more groundballs. His exit velocity has also steadily declined. That hasn’t been a bad thing, per se. Although batted-ball luck likely has something to do with it—Voit does have a high BABIP—his numbers have not only not declined, they’ve actually improved. If a perceived power slump for Voit involves him hitting over .310 and getting on base over 42% of the time, then he’s not exactly in a slump.

This bodes well for Voit’s future as an MLB hitter. He has the tools to hit for both average and power, and he can use them when issues arise. While I’m sure Voit would like to be hitting for more power than he has since June, he adapted and has still been productive for the Bombers.

Although he hasn’t been able to hit for both average and power at the same time like he did in his incendiary 2018, Voit has demonstrated that he is no fluke this year. In fact, he has become one of the most well-rounded hitters on the Yankees.