New York Giants: Is former rival DeSean Jackson an option at wide receiver?

New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, DeSean Jackson

After a couple seasons back with the franchise, the Eagles are moving on from New York Giants menace DeSean Jackson. The team has made the decision to release the receiver, but it looks like Jackson still wants to play this season. Jackson would spend time on the injured reserve in 2020 and only appeared in 5 games, cutting his total receptions down to 14. It’s a big drop compared to 2018, where Jackson had 41 receptions in his last year in Tampa Bay.

Now, Jackson is still looking to play and it remains to be seen which team will pick him up. At the age of 34, it doesn’t look like he’ll be an expensive player and it’s well known that the New York Giants are in need of playmakers. Should they consider this player that has had some of his best games against them?

Jackson in 2020

Jackson’s 2020 season was largely affected by injury. He managed to pull in 10 receptions and 121 yards through the first three games of the season. It looked like the year would be an improvement compared to his 2019, and in a way it was as he finished with more receptions and yards – but the bulk of his performance last year came near the early part of the season before he was taken down by hamstring and lower body injuries.

These injuries would strike back to back and keep Jackson out most of the year, as shown in his low number of games played. It’s safe to say Jackson still has some potential based on his start to the season, but his age is showing and based on last season, he shouldn’t be expected to be the healthiest player on the field.

Should the Giants make a move?

It might be tempting for the Giants to try to add Jackson as a cheap playmaker to help Daniel Jones, but the team should be wary of some of their other ventures signing older players under Dave Gettleman. The Jonathan Stewart signing, for example, is unpopular for good reason – the veteran running back ended up only playing three games with six rushing attempts. Signing Antoine Bethea and Golden Tate near the back ends of their careers didn’t pan out as the organization likely wanted, either.

The Giants do need playmakers, but bringing in DeSean Jackson has the risk of creating another situation where the Giants have a veteran on their hands that doesn’t perform as they used to and might not even take the field often due to injury.

With the 11th pick in the draft, the Giants may have a chance to add an elite receiver prospect. This seems like the better way to acquire a playmaker compared to the stopgap measure of adding a 34 year old veteran coming off an injury plagued season to improve the offense.

The franchise has a chance to become one of the league’s good young teams under Joe Judge in the next couple of years. And in this case, they should remember that and stick to building in that direction rather than going for any free agent that fits a needed position.

Derrick Lewis puts Curtis Blaydes to sleep at UFC Vegas 19

In the main event of UFC Vegas 19, we saw a heavyweight clash between two of the best in the world. Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC) and Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) were both looking to continue their winning streaks tonight.

The Black Beast became the UFC‘s heavyweight knockout king in his last performance. Derrick Lewis had won three fights in a row and he was looking to make a big statement with a win over Curtis Blaydes.

Lewis is known for his incredibly power and is fun personality. However, grappling and cardio are not two of the things he’s known for. He would need to show improvements in both of these areas to get the win.

Standing across from Lewis at UFC Vegas 19 was Curtis Blaydes. Blaydes is easily the third best heavyweight in the world right now. Only Francis Ngannou has gotten the better of him and he’s done it twice.

Outside of Ngannou, Blaydes has been a puzzle that nobody has been able to crack. Blaydes has sensational wrestling and he was very clear about his game plan leading into tonight’s main event.

UFC Vegas 19 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 19 main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Lewis took the center of the octagon anticipating the takedown attempt from Blaydes. Blaydes came in and tried to strike and Lewis cracked him with some big shots.

Blaydes immediately backed away and looked to reset. Lewis was calm and just appeared to be timing Curtis Blaydes. A lot of pressure from Curtis Blaydes found Lewis’ back against the cage.

Blaydes tried to work his way in, but he was tentative to engage. He started to work his jab while Lewis was still looking to time him for big shots. Blaydes steps in to engage and he actually tagged Lewis with a couple of big shots as Lewis swung wildly.

Then Blaydes started mixing in some good low kicks. A nice jab lands for Cutis Blaydes and the distance was starting to be a problem for Lewis. Blaydes was really connecting well from distance. The first round at UFC Vegas 19 was all striking and Curtis Blaydes takes it.

Round 2

The second round at UFC Vegas 19 kicked off with a lot of pressure from Blaydes. Both men exchanged big shots and then Blaydes shot in for a takedown. However, Lewis defended well and the two men went back to striking.

Blaydes was dominating the striking early on. Again, the range was a problem and Lewis was being a little wild. Just as I say that, Blaydes shoots in for a takedown and a clean uppercut lands for Derrick Lewis. Blaydes is out and eats a couple more clean bombs for his troubles. Another knockout for The Black Beast!

Derrick Lewis def. Curtis Blaydes by KO – Round 2

Should the New York Giants pursue Bud Dupree in free agency?

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are gearing up for an eventful offseason. Co-owner John Mara and general manager Dave Gettleman made the same promise at their postseason press conferences. They promised to upgrade the offense and add some playmakers. This will be the top priority for the Giants entering free agency and the draft.

While New York certainly needs to upgrade its offense, they should not neglect the defense altogether. There are weaknesses on the Giants’ otherwise strong defensive unit. One particular area of weakness is the Giants’ edge rusher position. New York put together a solid pass rush in 2020, but much of the pressure was generated through the interior. The Giants struggled to get consistent pressure off the edge.

In Week One, the Giants got a front-hand view of what a menacing edge presence can do to an offense. The Giants faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week One. Their defense consisted of numerous Pro Bowl talents, including two phenomenal edge rushers. TJ Watt was one of the best defenders in the NFL in 2020, but on the opposite side of him was Bud Dupree, another solid edge rusher.

While Bud Dupree might not be a Pro Bowl talent, he is a solid edge rusher that can make plays in a variety of ways. The Giants’ defense emphasizes versatility, making Bud Dupree a solid scheme fit that the Giants should consider pursuing in the 2021 free agency period.

Bud Dupree in free agency

The Pittsburgh Steelers are in a very tricky salary cap situation. It seems unlikely that they will be able to afford to sign Bud Dupree to a contract extension. Dupree is set to hit the open market this offseason and all signs indicate he will be signing elsewhere.

The New York Giants could be a solid fit for Bud Dupree. New York has a clear need at edge rusher. Granted, the Giants are also in a tricky cap situation, but they are expected to make a number of signings to free cap space for free agency.

The Giants have to key players to re-sign. Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson are both free agents this offseason. If New York extends both of them, they will not have much space left to sign any other free agents. But if one of them walks in free agency, the Giants could redistribute that money to a new signee.

Dalvin Tomlinson is projected to get a contract worth around $10-12 million per year. Bud Dupree’s projected contract per Pro Football Focus is one year, $10 million. If the Giants do lose Dalvin Tomlinson, they could supplement the loss by signing Bud Dupree to a one-year prove-it deal on the edge.

Bud Dupree stats and highlights

Bud Dupree is a versatile edge rusher that could thrive in the New York Giants’ blitz-heavy defense. Dupree was a late bloomer. His career-high sack total in his first four seasons was only 6 sacks. But in his fifth season, Dupree finally had his breakout. Bud totaled 11.5 sacks in 2019 and followed it up with another solid 8.5 sack season in 2020.

Dupree did not finish the 2020 season, though, suffering a season-ending injury after starting 11 games. His 8.5 sacks in only 11 games prove that he has blossomed into an impressive pass-rusher, but the injury raises red flags. Could this injury derail Dupree’s development and cause him to regress to the less-productive pass-rusher he was from 2015 to 2018? Or will he be able to recover completely and return to his 2019 to 2020 form?

Bud Dupree is a very risky free agent prospect. Coming off of a torn ACL in 2020, buyers will beware Bud Dupree in 2021. There is a clear and obvious upside to signing Bud Dupree. Signing Dupree to a one-year prove-it deal could pay great dividends. However, his solid baseline pass-rushing prowess will make him an expensive flier option. This is a risk the New York Giants are not likely to take with so many other holes on their roster.

Beal or No Deal: Knicks reportedly interested in Beal; Barrett on the move?

knicks, rj barrett, bradley beal

Is Bradley Beal New York-bound?

Beal remained adamant that he’s not quitting on the Washington Wizards. But an influential New York Knicks executive is reportedly cooking up a Beal trade.

Last week, Michael Kay reported that Knicks vice president and senior basketball advisor William Wesley, more famously known as World Wide Wes, is working through back channels to land Beal in New York.

“I’ve got it from a very good source that the Knicks are quietly interested in a Bradley Beal. How’s that gonna happen? He’s signed to a long-term deal. He has not said he wanted to be traded. But you forget, the Knicks have World Wide Wes on their side. He’s been in the ears of some of Beal’s people and kinda nudging them that this might be the time to push for a trade,” Kay said on his ESPN radio show last week.

Brightest star in the biggest market

Beal is fresh from getting his first All-Star starter nod, ranking first in fans, media, and players’ votes among all Eastern Conference guards. He’s leading the league in scoring with a career-high 32.8 points per game on 47/34/90 shooting splits. The 27-year old star is also putting up career-best 5.2 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.3 steals. But despite his spectacular numbers, the Wizards are in the bottom three in the East though they have won their last three games.

On the flip side, things are getting rosy in New York. The Knicks are in the playoff conversations and are quickly becoming an attractive destination. New team president Leon Rose, along with Williams and head coach Tom Thibodeau, has dramatically changed New York’s culture.

The appeal to Beal in New York is a chance to become the biggest star in the biggest NBA market. And if he wins in New York, that will cement his basketball legacy.

Aggressive buyer

Along with their early on-court success, a treasure trove of picks, and a $15 million cap space, the Knicks are in a prime position to be an aggressive buyer in the trade market.

They own all their first-round picks plus two more from Dallas via the Kristaps Porzingis trade. All in all, the Knicks have seven first-round picks and eight second-rounders through the 2025 NBA Draft.

Stefan Bondy of the Daily News reported that the Knicks are also monitoring CJ McCollum’s situation in Portland. But ESPN’s Front Office Insider and former Brooklyn Nets’ assistant general manager Bobby Marks told Empire Sports Media that the Trail Blazers are not trading him.

Potential Beal package

If Beal and the Wizards decide to part ways, the asking price would be in the James Harden trade neighborhood.

When asked what the Wizards could seek from the Knicks in exchange for their long-time cornerstone, Marks told Empire Sports Media that it would require giving up both the first-round picks from Dallas (2021 unprotected, 2023 top-10 protected), a minimum of two unprotected first-round picks, pick swaps and sophomore swingman RJ Barrett. 

A package like that could still leave the Knicks in a good position to contend in the East with a core of Beal, Randle, Mitchell Robinson, and Immanuel Quickley, all of whom are still under 30 years old and plenty of cap space to chase another star.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Great effort propels the New York Rangers to victory

New York Rangers, Ryan Strome

It might be a bit of a reach to say this might have been one of the better efforts from the New York Rangers this season. At the very least, it was their best game in quite a while.  Alexis Lafrenière scored his second NHL goal as the Rangers beat the Washington Capitals 4-1.

Mika Zibanejad sealed the game with an empty-netter with 2:12 left. The Blueshirts have strung together back-to-back wins for just the second time this season.

Ryan Strome hits two “century” marks for the New York Rangers

By recording an assist on Chris Kreider‘s goal, Strome garnered his 100th career point with the Rangers. He later picked up his 100th career NHL goal when he scored at 18:43 of the second period.

In his post-game interview, Strome was very pleased with the team’s effort. “I thought we had a good team effort. It might be a bit of a cliche but I thought everybody played very well.”

New York Rangers break the “close” game trend

In winning this game by three goals, the Rangers broke a bit of a string. Twelve of the Rangers’ last 13 games, and 12 of the team’s 15 games this season, have been decided by two or fewer goals. Nine of those contests have been decided by one goal. Also, four of the Blueshirts’ last nine games have been decided in either overtime or a shootout. The Rangers’ nine one-goal games in 2020-21 are tied for the sixth-most in the NHL. Their 12 games decided by two or fewer goals are tied for the eighth-most in the league.

Igor Shesterkin only allowed one goal on 27 Washington shots on goal. The Rangers have held their opponents to two goals or fewer in six of the last eight games and seven of the last 10 games. Going into the game, the Blueshirts have allowed 2.67 goals against per game in 2020-21, which is tied for the ninth-fewest in the NHL.

Artemi Panarin picked up two assists in the game. He has tallied eight assists/points in his last three games against Washington (including his two assists today). He has also registered a point in each of his last seven games against the Capitals (five goals, seven assists).

With Sunday’s game against the Capitals rescheduled, the Rangers will be back in action Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

 

 

 

 

Jacob deGrom says it would be “cool” to spend the rest of his career with the Mets

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

Nowadays, it’s not easy to find ballplayers who are drafted, developed, and spend their entire careers with just one team. New York Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom has a chance of being one of them, and he recently said that would be something he would consider “cool.”

The ace, who was initially an infielder, was taken in the ninth round of the 2010 June Amateur Draft by the New York Mets. He made his major league debut in 2014, and has never had an ERA above 3.53 in a single season.

DeGrom has two Cy Young awards and is arguably the best pitcher in Major League Baseball. He will turn 33 in June, and with an opt-out option in his contract after the 2022 season, he has some thinking to do.

He said to Newsday’s Tim Healey that he hasn’t thought about that too much, instead focusing on adding a third Cy Young and winning a World Series with the Mets.

DeGrom loves the Mets, and the feeling is mutual

DeGrom loves the Mets and said he was around during the end of David Wright’s career, and witnessed how emotional his farewell was. It “definitely had an impact” on him, he confessed.

“One thing I think is really, really cool is when anybody spends their entire career with one team,” he said. “You don’t see it happen a whole lot anymore. So it’s definitely something that I’ve thought about and I guess we just have to see when that time comes.

“Seeing how well [Wright] was treated by Mets fans and being a Met for life and what that was [like] was definitely cool and special. Being there for the last time he took the field, that was really cool. So that definitely weighs on your mind. That’s a decision that will be made when the time comes.”

He has choices. He can opt out of his five-year, $137.5 million deal after 2022, or until his pact ends in 2023. The Mets have a $32.5 million option for the 2024 campaign.

“I’ve definitely enjoyed my time here and signed long term here,” he said. “Haven’t really thought too much about the opt-out.”

New York Knicks: Calipari explains Payne’s impact on Randle’s All-Star rise

The New York Knicks‘ status as a real playoff contender will be legitimized by a Julius Randle selection in the NBA All-Star Game.

Randle is knocking on the All-Star Game door after an impressive start to the season. He’s dragging a young Knicks team to the playoffs conversations in a season many analysts thought would be a lottery year.

Randle is in the midst of a career year in the NBA — 23.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 40.7 percent from deep, all career-highs. And more importantly, as Tom Thibodeau pointed out, Randle has impacted winning in New York.

With Randle leading the way, the Knicks have won 14 of their first 30 games, good for the seventh spot in the East. Barring any second-half meltdown, the Knicks are on pace to outplay ESPN‘s projections (24.7 average wins and 2% playoff chances).

Randle’s Herculean effort hasn’t gone unnoticed as he finished seventh in the Eastern Conference frontcourt starters voting — seventh in fans votes, eighth in players votes, and fifth in media votes.

The coaches are set to pick the seven reserves, which will be announced on Tuesday.

Comfortable being uncomfortable

Randle revealed in the Old Man and the Three podcast yesterday that the Knicks executive vice president William Wesley called him in the offseason and asked him what he needs to go to the next level.

His response foreshadowed what is happening right now: “I need a coach who will push me and hold me accountable.”

Tom Thibodeau is what Randle has ordered. But he got more than what he bargained.

Kenny Payne, the man responsible for whipping Randle and a slew of Kentucky big men into becoming an NBA lottery pick, also came on board.

“One of the things that I told the Knicks when they were considering Kenny is that: ‘Understand now, if you want to see what Julius can be — he’s a good guy because they have a great relationship and Kenny will push him and make him uncomfortable until he’s comfortable being uncomfortable.’ You know how it’s done,” Kentucky coach John Calipari told Empire Sports Media via zoom call.

Unlocking Knox

Calipari also sold Payne to the Knicks as the key to unlocking their other underwhelming Kentucky product.

“And I also told them Kevin Knox, who was playing really good early, you’re gonna find out what he is,” Calipari said.

For the early part of the season, when injuries ravaged the Knicks, Knox had his moments. At one point, he was leading the league in corner three-pointers. However, it was short-lived as the team got healthy and Knox got buried under the Knicks’ new-found depth.

“They’re not playing [Kevin] as much because they’re trying over guys to play snippets and trying to figure out who’s who. But I think it’s been great,” Calipari said.

Big man’s whisperer

At Kentucky, Payne was the good cop to Calipari’s bad cop. In New York, Payne does the dirty work for Thibodeau.

Payne is always on the ears of the Knicks’ big men. Clips of him personally training the Knicks’ frontcourt — from Randle to Mitchell Robinson and Obi Toppin — went viral in the offseason. Oftentimes, on the MSG broadcast, you catch him in the pregame, stretching out Randle and assisting in his shootaround. During the games, you see him barking instructions or explaining the game situations to players from the sidelines.

Randle’s reunion with Payne made his transformation under the very detailed and hard Thibodeau coaching more effective.

“Julius is having an All-Star year. And the Knicks, if they stay in this playoff hunt, and they’re in there, there’s no reason — Julius in the biggest market had averaged in double-double just dragging the team and motivating his team and doing what he’s doing — for that not to happen for him personally,” Calipari said.

If it does happen, thanks in large part to Payne.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Yankees’ Deivi Garcia hoping to take big step forward in 2021

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees are heading into the 2021 season with an undetermined starting pitching rotation. While the expectation is that Corey Kluber will take over the second spot and Jameson Taillon the third, behind him is a bit of a battle during spring training.

Whether Jordan Montgomery claims the fourth spot or a player like Nick Nelson inserts himself at the fifth spot, there could be fluctuations at the back end of the rotation.

One player we cannot disregard is Dominican Republic native Deivi Garcia, who stands at just 5’9” 163 pounds. For a 21-year-old, Garcia is not intimidating on the mound, but once the ball leaves his hand, it can do amazing things. This past season, Garcia was pulled up to the MLB, supplementing injuries and deficiencies in the rotation.

He finished the year with three wins and two losses, earning a 4.98 ERA over 34.1 innings. While he did allow 35 hits and 19 earned runs, he also posted 33 strikeouts and walked just six batters. While some might look at his statistics and call them disappointing, it was his first major league action after spending minimal time in the Yankees farm system.

Two specific games showed that García can be a starting level pitcher for the future and could even claim a starting spot in the rotation this upcoming season. Last August, he dominated the New York Mets, lasting six innings and allowing zero runs. He struck out six batters, something he did in five of six starts. Two games later, he dominated the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing two runs over 7.0 innings, and I will never forget the pure emotion and excitement Eric Kratz had for who he called his “son” at the time.

Garcia is now with the Yankees down in Florida preparing for the start of the season, and he feels excited to be learning with such great competition and players around him, which is truly a special scenario that will only make him a better player in the future.

“I feel really good,” García said. “Thank God for that. Just being around here, I have the opportunity to keep learning so much, being around all the teammates we have in camp. I think it’s a great opportunity to keep on moving forward in my career and take the next steps.”

New York Knicks: 5 untradeable players as we head toward trade deadline

imannuel quickley, new york knicks

With the NBA trade deadline on March 25 inching closer every day, the New York Knicks continue to scour the market for potential star auditions. Adding a significant player would help their playoff hopes, as the Knicks could use the extra town to push them over the edge. They currently sit at 14–16 on the season, giving them a .467 win percentage. They are the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference standings, putting them in a spot to compete during the postseason.

One more big player would allow them to climb the seeded ranks, potentially even earning a home-field series. Out of every team in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks are allowing the fewest points at 103.7. In fact, they are allowing the fewest points in the entire NBA, with the Los Angeles Lakers behind at 105.9.

While New York has been connected to several big-name players in recent days, including Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine, there are a few players that are untreatable.

Three untradeable players for the New York Knicks:

1.) Julius Randle

Randle has been playing an All-Star level this season, averaging a career-high 23.2 points per game, 5.5 assists, and 10.9 total rebounds. All of those numbers are personal bests over 30 games this year. He’s connecting on .480 from the field and .407 from three-point, which is by far his best success rate. His only problem is an increase in turnovers at 3.3 per game, but considering his influence this season, that is something the Knicks are willing to live with.

Prior to the start of the season, most expected the team to move on from Randle at some point, but he has made himself a key point in their success, and trading him away would be malpractice.

2.) RJ Barrett

RJ Barrett has clearly taken a step forward in his development this season, but his minutes per game have slowly decreased over the last few games. He’s averaging 16.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per, indicating a slight increase in production. At 20 years old, the sky is the limit, so the Knicks clearly won’t be shopping him before the deadline.

3.) Immanuel Quickley

If there’s any single player that the Knicks are keeping in their safety vault, it is Immanuel Quickley. Averaging 12.4 points and 2.7 assists, Quickley has emerged like a Phoenix from the ashes, as the Knicks didn’t expect to be getting such a prolific player with the 25th overall selection.

He has been a godsend for their offensive production, and acquiring Derrick Rose should likely make him an even better player as the season goes on.

4.) Obi Toppin

The Knicks spent the eighth overall pick on Obi Toppin, and while he’s struggled to get things going in his rookie season, he is a physically gifted player but hasn’t found his sea legs in the NBA yet. Giving him more time is a priority, but he has the potential to be an adequate shooter and solid rebounder in the paint.

5.) Mitchell Robinson

The New York Knicks have an opportunity to retain Mitchell Robinson for the 2022 season, considering they have a team option worth $1.8 million. I expect them to pick up that option, and given the step forward he took this season at 22 years old, it is worth sticking with him to see if his offense makes a significant jump under Tom Thibodeau.

Robinson has been a focal point on defense, helping the Knicks to the best unit in the NBA. A fractured hand recently sidelined him indefinitely but trading him with only hurt their defensive efficiency, which is something Thibodeau is unlikely to accept.

New York Yankee Player Profiles: Luke Voit, the Yankees next Roger Maris?

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

Luke Voit is a 30-year-old 6′ 3″ 225-pound first baseman for the New York Yankees. Luke has had a relatively unremarkable ten-year baseball career, four in the majors, but how he got to the Yankees and what he has done while here is an interesting and even exciting story for the late bloomer.

Luke was born in Wildwood, Missouri, and attended Lafayette High School there. In high school, he played football as a fullback and middle linebacker. He also played baseball, where he got a lot of experience. In his first three years, he played first base and third base. Interestingly in his senior year, he played catcher. Shoulder injuries while in high school ended any career he may have had in football.

After his senior year at Lafayette, he was selected in the 22nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cards. He made his professional debut with the State College Spikes of class A, New York/Penn League. That year he batted .242 with 2 home runs and 16 RBI’s in 46 games played.

Throughout his minor league career, he was always on the edge of being good. In June of 2017, the Cards promoted him to the bigs. In July of 2017, In his very first at-bat, he was plunked in the back. After 114 at-bats, he hit his first home run. He ended the season with a batting average of .246 with four home runs and 18 RBI’s, still unremarkable but good enough to be used in a trade by the Cards to get players they needed.

In July of 2018, the Cards traded Luke Voit to the New York Yankees and bonus pool money to get pitcher Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos. The Yanks assigned him to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yanks swiftly promoted him to the majors, in part to play first, in the absence of Greg Bird, but after batting .188 in five games, they demoted him back to Scranton. After playing better in the minors and with the injury to Didi Gregorius, he was again called up to the Stadium. This time something happened; he seemed to embrace the limelight and energy of New York.

Playing for Greg Bird, he soon had hit ten home runs, and after hitting .458, he was named MLB player of the week on October 1st. He ended the season hitting .333 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI’s in just 39 games. In the 2018 Wild Card game, he hit a two-run triple to help the Yankees win 7-2. That triple seemed to have given Luke a place as a Yankee favorite.

During spring training in 2019, he, with Bird back playing, competed for playing first base when the season started. Since then, with Bird back on the IL and his play at 1st, and better hitting than Bird, it was almost solidified that he will be our 1st baseman. On April 29, 2019, he
was named AL Player of the Week, hitting .433 with 13 hits, 4 home runs, and 10 RBI’s in the previous week. It appeared that he found his place with the Yankees and the Yankee fans.

However, Voit didn’t escape the injury plague that hit the team in 2019. An abdominal injury right around the London series sidelined him, continued to be problematic upon Voit’s return, and eventually required surgery once the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs. Voit was dreadful after getting hurt, but I think his performance pre-injury gets overlooked easily. Voit in 2019 was out for two stints. That injury caused him to play in only 118 games.

Before his season was derailed, he led the New York Yankees; he led the team in home runs and was having a better season than Gleyber Torres or DJ LeMahieu. At the plate, he seldom wasted an at-bat. He doesn’t swing at bad pitches and only had one pop-up in the first half of the season.

During the 2019 offseason, along with staying in shape, Voit wrote a children’s book. “Luke’s Baseball Story.” It’s a book about his baseball life as a child and today.  Luke said the original intent was to take the book and read it to kids’ classes in the Bronx.  That plan fell through when the coronavirus pandemic made that impossible.  He remembered when he met a famous athlete as a kid, he was overwhelmed and wanted the kids to experience that, as he taught them about hard work to made their dreams come true.

Fast forward to the bizarre 2020 baseball season.  Luke played well in spring training and summer camp.  When the shortened season started, Voit got his first hit in the last game of the Washington Nationals series, and it was a home run.  Little did the New York Yankees know at the time that that hit would start a season for Luke Voit that might make him last year’s Yankees MVP; however, DJ LeMahieu took that honor. In the next series against the Orioles, he would get two hits, one of them a homer that drove in four runs.  At one point in the season in ten games, he hit seven home runs. He ended the 2020 season 9th in the MLB MVP voting.

At the beginning of the season, it was assumed that Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge would have the most significant impact on the Yankees. As it turned out, neither of them could stay healthy enough to stay on the field.  Voit has been healthy; he has had his best play in his three years with the Yankees. He had an enviable OPS of .948.  The book writer for kids ended his 2020 campaign hitting .277 with an amazing 22 home runs for the most in all of baseball. To put that into perspective in a normal season equates to almost 60 home runs, just one short of Roger Maris’s record of 61 in 1961.

Luke Voit, during August of 2019, married his longtime sweetheart Victoria Rigman. They both attended the same school, Lafayette High School. Interestingly, Luke was on the baseball team, and Tori was a cheerleader for the school team. Luke has a younger brother John, who played defensive tackle with the Army Black Knights football team. Luke works out regularly and continues to challenge himself to be the best he can be, and he looks forward to a productive 2021 season.