10 Positions in 10 Weeks: Analyzing First Base
Photo credit: Getty Images
In Part 2 of a 10 part series, I will be analyzing every position on the Yankees. This week’s position is first base, and there is a lot to discuss.
When it came to first base this was one of the Yankees better positions on the season in terms of productivity, most of which came from Luke Voit. He led the league with a career-high 22 home runs in only 56 games played, which put him on pace for 59 home runs during a 162-game regular season.
His defense continued to be average, as he only committed three errors on the season. He did have a tendency to make flashy plays at different moments during the season, but managed to get the job done when needed.
Not even 48 hours after the Game 5 loss in the ALDS to the Tampa Bay Rays, trade rumors began flying left and right regarding certain Yankees. Voit was the first big name to top that list. The rumors mostly involved trading Voit to teams in return for a package of prospects, most of which would include pitching.
So why would the Yankees consider trading their home run leader of 2020 in exchange for unpromised prospects? It’s hard to image that Brian Cashman would even consider a move as such.
Although Voit is known for his pop and toe tap every time he hits a ball deep, he tends to be a very streaky hitter. When the hot streak ends, he goes into deep slumps where there seems to be no hope of him reaching base. The strikeouts go up and contact goes down.
In all fairness to Voit, this seems to be a trend amongst the Yankees, simply because most of the team is built on the home run or bust mentality. While it may seem right amongst fans to move Voit to bring in a contact hitter, the Yankee organization may not see that as necessary.
Voit seems to be the guy going forward for the Yankees that will be the everyday starter at first base. While the trade rumors continue to swirl around, remember that they are just pure rumors.
As for the backup, Mike Ford stayed in the big leagues for his second straight season. But this may have been a season that he is willing to forget.
In only 29 games, Ford hit for only .135 with two home runs and 11 RBIs. He committed two errors in only 13 games at first base and could not seem to get anything going for himself whatsoever.
Is it possible that he is one of the “Next Man Up” players that is finally starting to see how tough the Major Leagues actually are? The answer is yes it’s possible, but it’s tough to throw Ford under the bus with such a small sample size.
When Ford was called up in 2019, he was replacing the injured Voit and starting everyday. This was not the scenario in 2020, as Voit played for most of the season and Ford was simply the full-time backup. I’ll cut him some slack there.
A couple of Ford’s great skills at the plate are taking pitch counts deep and putting the ball in play. His biggest problem is that he tends to hit the ball into the shift at second base and make outs nearly every time that occurs. If Ford was able to hit against or over the shift, he would find himself at first base much more often.
It seems as if both of these players will be on the Yankees’ roster for 2021, as the duo seem to have the trust from Cashman and crew on handling first base daily. My prediction is that Voit will set another career-high in home runs for the 2021 season, but does not have more than 30.
As for Ford, I believe he has a much better season as the backup, mostly because he will have more opportunities to possibly achieve success.
But only time will tell what happens at first base…