The Battle of Luke Voit and Mike Ford
After missing nearly one-fourth of the 2019 regular season due to a sports hernia, Luke Voit will be ready to get back onto the field. Voit was on the postseason roster for both the ALDS and the ALCS but did not see any playing time due to D.J. LeMahieu being shifted over to first base. With all this in mind, Voit may be carrying a chip on his shoulder heading into the 2020 season.
But it might be slightly complicated when it comes to his playing time…
Mike Ford played in 50 games for the Yankees in 2019 producing a .259 average, slugging 12 home runs and driving in 25 runs. Ford is known for taking counts deep and striking out very few times, only doing so 28 times in those 50 games. Ford also provides a much-needed left-handed bat that the Yankees are looking to add to their lineup to replace Didi Gregorius.
There was no question that Ford produced at the big-league level, holding his name high on the list of Yankees who began the season in the minor leagues and proceeded to make a name for themselves in the majors. But is it enough for him to take over at first base?
When it comes to defense, Voit and Ford are neck and neck… but not in a good way. Both are average first basemen, at best, which is one reason why the first base position is wide open. If Ford was much more reliable at first, the everyday job would go to him since the Yankees are still seeking a solid defensive first baseman.
Going into Spring Training, it would make the most sense to see Voit carrying the starting job for the time being. Voit is more experienced at the Major League level and will be coming back healthy, which will be a big bonus for him at the plate.
There is no doubt that Ford will more than likely be in Baltimore to begin the season with the Yankees, but the question will be if he is starting and if not, then how often will he play?
It is a tough decision to make now and could be an even tougher decision come the beginning of the regular season. My prediction is that Ford sees his workload around the 50-60 game mark at first base, and maybe 20 to 30 games at the DH position. The Yankees like what Ford has brought to the table, especially with his discipline at the plate and left-handed at-bat.
The choice will be up to Aaron Boone on how much to play Voit and Ford. But both players will be getting substantial amounts of playing time.