Luke Voit is a leader for the Yankees on the field and in the clubhouse. New York needs him back as soon as possible to become World Series contenders.
The Yankees knew they’d miss Luke Voit’s bat when he went on the Injured List before the regular season began. No team in MLB can afford to subtract last year’s home run leader out of their everyday lineup and continue to operate at maximum capacity. Unfortunately for manager Aaron Boone, losing Voit has gone even worse than anyone might have expected.
The team deserves credit for righting the ship without Voit. New York got off to a horrible start but now sits over .500 after their series win over the Astros. The fact they’ve gotten on a roll without any meaningful production from the first base position makes the feat even more impressive.
Initially, Boone tried to shuffle his infield to accommodate Voit’s absence by moving DJ LeMahieu to first. The presence of Rougned Odor at second base made that possible. LeMahieu has hit the ball decently well this year no matter where he lined up on the diamond.
Luke Voit is missed by the Yankees who need him more now than ever
The problem with playing him at first base is it cuts down on his defensive value in the infield. LeMahieu is a much bigger plus for the Yankees when he’s allowed to play at second or even third base.
Odor’s recent knee injury has caused Voit’s absence to be felt even more acutely. When the former Ranger went on the IL, the Yankees were forced to give Mike Ford an opportunity to start every day at first base. It’s hard to imagine that experiment going worse than it’s gone to date.
The idea of Ford is he can play decent defense at first base while providing the Yankees another power bat from the left-hand side. His defense has been passable, but his hitting has been atrocious through 11 games. Ford has managed to hit two home runs during that span, but his dismal .091 batting average accurately illustrates just how hapless he’s been at the plate. It’s time for the Yankees front office to admit the 28-year-old lefty just isn’t good enough to help the team at the major league level.
The good news for the Yankees on this front is Voit is already making solid progress on his rehabilitation work in Scranton. He’s already hit multiple extra-base hits during the assignment including one powerful opposite-field home run. He isn’t expected to return to the active roster during the current homestand, but it’s very likely he’ll leave town with the Yankees for next week’s road trip.
Once Voit returns, the Yankees’ biggest lineup weakness will be solved. That’s great news for fans in the Bronx and terrible news for fans hoping to see New York slide down the AL East standings.