Who has the best batting eye in the New York Yankees? It may not be the player you are thinking

Andres Chavez
New York Yankees, Luke Voit
Sep 25, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA;New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit (45) works out prior to to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to power and patience, the New York Yankees‘ lineup has very few peers in MLB. The Bombers boast several players who can take a walk with ease, from Aaron Judge to Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu. However, one of the best home run threats in the lineup is Luke Voit, a hitter that is also known for his keen eye at the plate.

MLB.com’s beat writer for the Yankees Bryan Hoch wrote about Voit’s eye, praising it and recognizing its worth to the team. Perhaps you were thinking about DJ LeMahieu or Aaron Judge, but Voit is a deserving choice, as well.

“When Aaron Boone declared that his lineup was filled with “savages in the box,” Voit was one of the hitters that the manager was referring to. Voit’s excellent eye played a large part in leading the Yankees to acquire him from the Cardinals in 2018, and they have been rewarded with 35 homers, 95 RBIs and a 140 OPS+ across 157 games,” he wrote. Those numbers are a perfect reflection of what Voit is as a hitter, calculating a full-season pace.

“Advanced stats make a compelling case for the value of Voit’s eye: According to FanGraphs, Voit’s 78.6 percent Z-Swing% (swings at pitches in the strike zone) tied for fourth in the AL last season. Voit’s eye has resulted in a .384 on-base percentage thus far in his pinstriped tenure; that ranks eighth among AL players with at least 500 plate appearances from 2018-19.”

The Yankees have such an underappreciated asset in Voit

Yes, it’s true that the Yankees’ slugger struck out a lot last year, precisely at a 27.8 percent clip. However, his 13.9 BB % was among the highest in the major leagues, and it resulted in a .378 OBP despite a relatively low .263 batting average.

Voit isn’t a particularly good defender at first base, but he is a very valuable piece for the New York Yankees’ lineup. Not only he has the power to hit about 30 homers per year, but he also gets on base a lot in front of other sluggers in the order.

Voit’s .263/.378/.464 line last season with a 126 wRC+ and 21 homers in 510 plate appearances was particularly impressive given the fact he played a sizable portion of the season with a painful core muscle injury.

There may not be a season in 2020, we don’t know yet. But whether it is this year or next, the Yankees know what they have in Luke Voit: a vastly underrated hitter capable of getting on base at a nearly .400 clip and hitting plenty of home runs.