Injuries played a part in his 2019 disappointment, though should it really come as a surprise that the Yankees’ Luke Voit fell short of expectations? Fantasy owners entered the year with lofty expectations after he exploded onto the scene in 2018 with unrepeatable metrics behind the numbers (i.e. 40.5% HR/FB).
When on the field last season Voit posted the following numbers:
429 At Bats
.263 Batting Average (113 Hits)
21 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.378 On Base Percentage
.464 Slugging Percentage
.345 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Obviously he still showed an ability to get on base, thanks to an elevated BABIP and 13.9% walk rate, but even that could further regress. While he did prove capable of staying inside the strike zone (26.6% O-Swing%), he simply does not make consistent contact when the bat does leave his shoulder. Just look at the Whiff%:
- Hard – 12.51%
- Breaking – 21.66%
- Offspeed – 19.15%
Couple that strikeout risk with a series of other questions, like a pull heavy approach (20.5% in ’19) as well as regression in his Hard% (47.0% to 38.9%), Exit Velocity (93.0 to 89.7) and Launch Angle (15.3 to 12.8) and a drop in his Hard% and subsequently his average is a near given. Barring a sudden surge in his power, which is a hard sell due to his 21.0% HR/FB in ’19 being far more believable, and he’s far more likely to hit between .240 and .250 as opposed to what he’s shown thus far.
Then you get the risk of losing playing time at 1B/DH. While it’s possible that he sees the bulk of the AB at either spot, DH specifically will likely be used as a way to give veterans a partial day off while keeping their bat in the lineup. Names like Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge (when healthy) will all likely get time in the role.
As for first base, it’s highly possible that Miguel Andujar gets some time there. Then you have D.J. LeMahieu, who’s penciled in for 2B but could shift over depending on how things shake out. In other words there are alternatives, and if Voit isn’t producing the AB will quickly disappear.
So there’s questions about his skills as well as his playing time… Does that sound like an investment we want to make? He fell outside our Top 30 first baseman for a reason, and while there is some potential upside the risk far outweighs it. Consider him a hard pass entering 2020.
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball
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