Should the Yankees be worried about the first base position?

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees had a revolving door at the first base position last season, featuring Luke Voit, Edwin Encarnacion, Mike Ford, and DJ LeMahieu at different times throughout the season.

The Yankees’ top utility player, LeMahieu, was the best defensive option of the group, posting a .992 fielding percentage over 40 games. While his sample size isn’t significant, he proved to be the best option among the grouping. However, in 2020, LeMahieu will return to his natural second base position, leaving Luke Voit to fend for himself at first.

Voit’s explosion onto the scene in 2018 provided him with the opportunity to lock down the first base position moving forward. He was given the green-light in 2019 to start but sustained injuries that limited his production over 162 games.

He logged a .989 fielding percentage over 83 games with seven errors. His numbers are efficient and can be relied on by the Yankees, but his injury history doesn’t precisely brew security. Voit missed half the season in 2019 with a sports hernia injury (defensively); however, he did feature as the designated hitter for 34 games.

Before missing the playoffs, he slashed an abysmal .200/.319/.331 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 24 games. This can be attributed to his injury that was undoubtedly lingering, but he’s expected to return next season with a full bill of health.

At the Winter Meetings, manager Aaron Boone told Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News that he expects Voit to be healthy for spring training:

“I think Luke Voit comes in healthy, and I think even though he got back and I think was healthy to some degree, still probably wasn’t quite all the way Luke Voit the second half of the season. Luke has proven to be a really impactful hitter and confident that the surgery he had this winter was a successful one and that he will come in and really lay claim to that position.”

The New York Yankees are taking a calculated risk:

The issue remains health, and if Voit is forced to miss any time in 2020, the Yankees don’t have many players who can fill in aside from LeMahieu, which could slide Gleyber Torres into second base from shortstop. They also have Mike Ford, Tyler Wade, and Thairo Estrada that can feature if need be.

Considering the insane injury problems the Yankees faced last year, they must prepare for a similar outcome. Remember, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Expect to see Ford earn some playing time at first base, as his progression will be necessary for supplementing any injuries at the position.