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Undervalued? Inside Look at Luke Voit’s 2019 Season and How He Will Be a Key Contribution to Winning

Today we welcome Owen Hetherington. a sport management and economics major at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. Owen is also a communications/media relations intern for the Rochester Red Wings, the triple-a affiliate for the Minnesota Twins.

Owen provides us with this excellent guest post. We look forward to more of his posts and analysis!

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As the Yankees wait for news regarding the possibility of starting the 2020 season, they sit comfortably as the favorite to win it all when the delayed season finally arrives. With the largest 2020 team payroll in the baseball (totaling $220,011,214) the Yankees are looking to get their money’s worth from stars like Gerrit Cole ($36M), Giancarlo Stanton ($26M), and Aaron Judge ($8.5M). This team is loaded with talent, and one player that will be a key contributor in bringing the Commissioner’s Trophy back to the Bronx is first baseman, Luke Voit.

Surrounded by a star-studded lineup, it is easy to forget about role-players like Voit. In his first full season at the Major League level, he hit .263 (111-for-429) with 72 runs, 21 doubles, 1 triple, 21 home runs, and 62 RBI in just 118 games with the big club. That season, Voit led the entire Yankees squad among qualified players in on-base percentage (.378) and walks (71). This guy was everything and more for the Yankees in 2019.

The season was filled with great moments from Voit, which ultimately lead the Yankees to the playoffs in spite of having an injury loaded team. Let’s take a look at Voit’s contributions in 2019 and why he will be a key piece in bringing the World Series back to the Bronx for the first time in over a decade:

Starting Hot

Luke made his first career Opening Day roster on March 28 vs. Baltimore. In the bottom of the first inning, Voit crushed a three-run home run off Brian Cashner that gave the Bombers their first three runs of the season in a 7-2 win over the Orioles. Voit finished the game going 1-for-1 with a big fly, two walks, and 4 RBI. Voit and Aaron Judge (2-for-3, 3R, 2 BB) became the first Yankee duo to reach base at least four times safely on Opening Day since A-Rod and Matsui did back in 2006 against Oakland. It was a great start!

Voit set the tone in the month of April where he posted a career-high 13 game hitting streak from April 13-26, batting .367 (18-for-49) with 10 runs, three doubles, four home runs, and 10 RBI over that span. When the injury bug hit the Yanks in April as player-after player went down (Miguel Andujar (shoulder), Troy Tulowitzki (calf), Giancarlo Stanton (bicep), Didi Gregorius (UCL), Gary Sanchez (calf), and Aaron Judge (oblique), it was next man up mentality for the pinstripes. and Luke Voit stepped up to fill the gap. He led the Yankees in RBI (17), OBP (.379), SLG (.515), runs (20), and walks (15) in the month of April.

The Yankees needed someone to step up and Luke Voit rose to the occasion.

Snubbed From the All-Star Game

The Yanks made it to the mid-summer classic with a record of 52-28 with much credit owed to the “Next Man Up” approach, of which Luke Voit was a key component. Voit, in my opinion, was an obvious All-Star heading into the break. He deserved to be on the All-Star team over Daniel Vogelbach of the Mariners, who has inferior numbers to Voit in every hitting category except home runs.

Even though the injury bug would later catch up to Voit on July 2nd with an abdominal strain, he still should have been an All-Star when the teams were finalized.

There’s no doubt in my mind that he can replicate his first half from last season in this upcoming season. Luke Voit is a gamer and I know that he’s going to be hungry to earn his first All-Star Game selection after being robbed the year before by the voters.

Injuries

The injured Luke Voit went into the All-Star break with an abdominal strain where he would miss eight games for the Yankees. It was a disappointment as he was finally getting his break in Major League Baseball.

Voit would be activated from the IL and play in his first game back on July 13. He hit .268 (15-for-56) with two doubles, two home runs, four RBI, and nine walks in 16 games before being placed back on the IL -again with a sports hernia. This definitely crushed me as a Yankee fan. The entire 2019 season just seemed to go like that. Just as a player got hot, he seemed to get hurt and was out for an extended time.

Luke Voit rehabbed with Scranton in four games, going 8-for-17 with five runs, two doubles, two home runs, and four RBI. Injuries couldn’t stop this man from anything. He was hot! Once he again returned, DJ LeMahieu was able to go back to his natural position at second base. It was the perfect situation for the Yankees.

Scratched

The Yankees had an injury-filled season. Luke Voit finished up the season hitting .200/.319/.338 and made the ALDS roster for the Bombers. Despite his overall offensive production throughout the season, he didn’t start in any of the three ALDS games against the Twins. It was tough to see a guy who had contributed so much to get the Yankees to the playoffs not get the nod in October. To make things worse, he was totally scratched from the ALCS vs. Houston, where the Yanks would lose in 6 games.

The bats went quiet for the Yankees that series. Voit was underappreciated and underutilized which may have cost the team in the playoffs. A season that had so much hope and excitement was suddenly ripped out of our hearts when Jose Altuve and the Astros buzzed their way to the Fall Classic. It is an absolute disgrace that Voit was scratched from the playoff roster. I don’t expect that to be an issue in 2020 as he should be completely healthy again.

What He Means to This Lineup in 2020

If or when we have a season in 2020 and the Yankees are healthy, their lineup will look something like this:

1. LeMahieu-2B

2. Judge-RF

3. Torres-SS

4. Stanton-LF

5. Sanchez- c

6. Andujar- dh

7. Voit-1b

8. Urshela- 3b

9. Gardner- cf

Voit batting in the seven spot in this lineup is scary. He has the ability to drive in a lot of runs this year considering the talent and on base abilities of the players hitting in front of him. There are no “gimmie” outs in this lineup. One through nine is solid. I believe that Luke Voit is the most underrated star on this squad. Yeah, I said it. Star. Luke Voit has emerged himself as a legit baseball player who can handle the bright lights of New York.He will be a star in 2020.

Predictions

Once we have a 2020 season, there’s not a doubt in my mind that Luke Voit can replicate the promise of last season. For the Yankees to have an impact the way they did last year, Luke Voit will need to be a key contributor. This season is going to tell a lot about the Yankees. They put their money where their mouth was with the acquisition of Gerrit Cole, a piece the Yankees need to win it all in 2020.

The Yanks knew they could spend the money with guys like Voit in the lineup who can carry them offensively. Voit is going to be a huge piece for the pinstripes this year and I can’t wait for it to get started.

#Luke

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