New York Yankee Profiles: Luke Voit, can he be impactful in the race to 28?

New York Yankees, Yankees, Luke voit

Luke Voit is a 30-year-old first baseman for the New York Yankees. Luke has had a relatively unremarkable baseball career, but how he got to the Yankees and what he has done while here, is an interesting story. See how he got to be one of the most valuable Yankee players.

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 along with bonus pool money so they could get pitcher Chasen Shrive 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 1, 2018. 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 2119, he with Bird back playing, was in a competition 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 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, and 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 Miguel Torres or DJ LeMahieu. At the plate, he seldom wasted an at-bat. He doesn’t swing at bad pitches.

Luke Voit should be the 1st base starter for the Yankees. Voit is just too good as a hitter to be relegated to being a part-time player. Even in a short season, Mike Ford will be used at first to rest Voit. If Voit can remain healthy, which there is no reason to assume otherwise, and can start off 2020 as he did in 2019, he could equal all of last year in just 60 games. He did more than that.

During the 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 just might make him last year’s Yankees MVP. 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 turns out neither of them could stay healthy enough to stay on the field. Voit remained mostly healthy and had his best play in his three years with the Yankees. It was thought that he might be the Yankees MVP, but that award went to DJ LeMahieu who was baseball’s batting champ. Voit was the home run leader in the shortened 2020 season for all of baseball, hitting 22 big ones.

Early on in spring training, Voit was dealing with knee soreness. In a spring training game, he hit a not-so-deep fly ball to left and aggressively slid hard into third base, further aggravating the sore knee. Near the end of spring training, it was decided that he would need surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus. That surgery kept him from starting with the team and caused him to be away from the team until mid-May. After only twelve days back he strained an oblique muscle and didn’t return to the team until last night. In his first game back he hit the first ball he saw 423′ into the left-field stands. He also tripled and walked. His return to the team is one of the most positive events looking forward as the Yankees hope to make the postseason. They will look to Voit’s contributions to make that happen.

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.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: