Breakout or Bust: Is The Yankees’ Luke Voit A Likely Overdraft In 2019?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Luke Voit only played in 47 games in the Majors overall, 39 of which coming with the Yankees.  In that short stint he made quite an impact, overtaking Greg Bird (though that’s not a surprise) and helping bolster a New York lineup into the playoffs.  The numbers were impressive, to say the least:

.322 (46-143), 15 HR, 36 RBI, 30 R, 0 SB

As we prepare for the 2019 offseason we have to keep in mind that he’s no guarantee to be handed the starting first base job, despite the numbers.  We can’t think that the Yankees won’t make an addition if it makes sense, or if they don’t believe that Voit’s breakout was for real.

The first question is in his power, and we have to keep in mind these numbers:

  • 5 doubles
  • 41.2% HR/FB
  • 36.6% fly ball rate

No one is going to question that Voit has power potential, but does anyone truly believe he’s anything close to this type of pace?  It’s easy to envision a few of the home runs falling short, and potentially leading to more doubles.  He’s also never been a fly ball machine, with minor league fly ball rates of 42.7% in 2017 and 35.7% in 2018.  It’s not to say that he can’t maintain strong power numbers, but it also can’t be assumed.

Making it even worse is the unlikelihood that he maintains anything close to the HR/FB, even playing half his games at Yankee Stadium.  Just look at what he did in the minors the past three seasons:

  • 2016 – 14.4%
  • 2017 – 14.3%
  • 2018 – 14.5%

That’s awfully consistent, and puts him more on the 20-25 HR spectrum.  Maybe at 27-years old he added a little bit of pop, but that would make him more of a 30ish HR threat and not someone who posted a 60 HR pace.

Voit’s average came courtesy of a .380 BABIP, a number that’s going to regress regardless of how hard he hits the baseball.  You also have to wonder if he’ll be able to make consistent contact, with a 15.2% SwStr% overall in 2018.  He struggled across the board, not with just one pitch type, as you see with these Whiff%:

  • Hard – 14.71%
  • Breaking Ball – 15.74%
  • Offspeed – 24.05%

A regression in his BABIP along with the risk of strikeouts would make him profile more as a .270 hitter, at best, with .250 or .260 in play depending on the luck.

Voit feels like a player destined to disappoint in 2019, if he even is handed the starting job, as he could struggle and ultimately cede playing time to Greg Bird (or someone else).  It’s not to say that he won’t have value, but someone in your league will likely overpay based on his flourish at the finish.  Don’t make that mistake.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections:

Date Posted
Dylan Bundy10/22/18
Foltynewicz, Mike10/09/18
Gibson, Kyle10/29/18
Hoskins, Rhys10/16/18
Hosmer, Eric11/05/18
Wheeler, Zack10/02/18

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